Man-hating Feminism

Yes, my stomach hurts right now due to continued complications from my transplant.  No, I don’t feel like talking about it today, except to say that while cancer has been the dominant thought running through my brain, us survivors DO occasionally have other thoughts and things they care about.  Today, I’m thinking about women.

No, not in the usual way I think about women, which should not be written about here, but in a way that makes me think perhaps there is more to think about them than the usual way.  It occurs to me that women are more than just sex objects.  Apparently, they have thoughts, feelings, and rights, just like us men.  This is sarcasm, but if one reading this doesn’t know me, it might sound like the same kind of bullshit women hear from men all the time.  I want to talk about that.

Right now I know at least 3 women, whom I consider to be close friends, being treated as second class citizens by the men they claim to love, & who claim to love them.  They are expected to cook dinner, clean the house, take care of kids, and still provide income.  Now, if a partner doesn’t work, & the other does, I can see that, but what makes it acceptable for a man to work and then sit on his ass as soon as he comes home when the woman he claims to love must continue working on the house and taking care of their children after they get off work?  Anyone who expects that of their partner just because they are the man, & traditional gender roles HAD women working in the home and then claims he loves her is lying.  Do you hear that?  He’s lying.  Love is a verb.  He may have feelings for you, but he doesn’t love you.

And God forbid you as a woman are too tired from all this work to be sexually aroused as often as he would like.  You should hear some of the things these guys say about their partners who they claim to love.  Once the sex is less often than he would like, his angel is now a bitch, tease, etc…

So why do I care?  This isn’t my relationship.  As a man, I never have to experience this.  So what’s the big deal?  Well, it’s simple.  I don’t like seeing people mistreated.  It gets to me.  Call me overly empathetic, but it just feels bad.  Here is another reason.  These women I know, being treated that way, some have basically stated that they would leave were it not for children with the partner that mistreats them.  That’s all well and good I suppose, it is important to make sure your kids are provided for…but don’t you see what they are learning?  If boys, they learn it is acceptable to treat women this way, & if girls they learn it is acceptable to put up with it.  There is also the fact that these asshole men make women scared or hesitant to get to know all of us.  We all pay for the actions of a fucked-up few by trying to deal with the baggage created by someone who has been “hurt before”.

Finally I worry about my wife as an innocent woman living amongst these males who have had this kind of sexism reinforced.  I worry she may fall victim to the next hard-up little kid who decides to shoot random women because he can’t get laid and views sex as an obligation women must “give up” to him.  I worry about the predators who would flash her, or worse, physically assault her all based on the fact that society views women as second class citizens, who can’t even make decisions over her own reproductive rights.

Look, I’m a man.  I like women and do treat them as sex objects WHEN HAVING SEX and while realizing this sex object is still a person with feelings and rights.  I won’t apologize for my love of women, I won’t apologize for my fondness for sex, but on behalf of men everywhere, I apologize that so many of us feel entitled to you, superior to you, or possessive of you.

I Look Healthy Now, Good Right?

No second transplant for me!  I’m building blood.  Big time!  I had my central line removed not long ago because I haven’t needed a transfusion in months.  Blood, platelets, doing great.  It has even been a month since my last GCSF shot!  I look healthier, stronger, happier.  If you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t know I was still recovering from complications from my bone marrow transplant, over 19 months ago.

I had emergency surgery about 6 weeks ago.  You see, Hannah and I went on our 2 year wedding anniversary trip after months of feeling great.  We took the train.  The night we got back home, an infection exploded in my right leg.  It swelled to 4 times its usual size, I spiked a 103 fever, and was rushed into the ICU with low vitals.  I was then told I needed to have surgery to confirm I didn’t have necrotizing fasciitis.  I didn’t, but to find out they cut two big chunks of flesh from my legs.  No stitches, just wet to dry dressings to heal from the inside out.  It still isn’t healed.  If I’m in long pants, nobody knows anything is wrong.

Since surgery, I’ve had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, once by ambulance.  The first time I was dismissed as having panic attacks due to being behind on my medication.  I was sent home, in agony.  The second time, pretty much the same thing, only I chose to leave once it became clear I was being treated like a mental case.  The next day I went to my clinic and my REAL doctors confirmed that my Graft Verses Host Disease of the gut was flaring up again.  I had to have my steroid taper stopped & reversed some.  This is also something you can’t see from the outside.

Okay Josh, so what’s the point?  We get it, you’re sick.  Why rant, what’s the theme?

Well here it is.  Nothing wrong with me is visible to the outside.  If nobody knew any better, I’d look as strong and able-bodied as anyone else.  And that is the problem.

You know those people you make fun of as lazy who take the elevator to the 2ND floor?  That’s me.  You know the young man who sits in the front of the bus and doesn’t offer his seat, seemingly so rude?  That’s me.  You know the guy who walks really slowly you make fun of?  That’s me.  I look fine from the outside.  Hell, I look better than some of you.  You have no idea what I’m going through.  You have no idea how I feel.  Just because I’m not old, grey, & wrinkly.  Just because I don’t use a walker or wheelchair, doesn’t mean I deserve to be judged.

So remember that, the next time you see someone pull into the handicapped spot, put up their placard, and walk into the store looking fine.  They may not be cheating the system.  Remember the next time someone walks slow, they might have to.  Remember the next time they take the elevator, they might not be lazy.

Remember most of all, it is not your place to judge.  You can live the healthiest lifestyle possible and this can still happen to you.  I hope for you that this never happens, but the numbers don’t favor your chances.

So don’t judge what you absolutely don’t know.  You never know when you could be on the other end.