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Letter: ‘Peoplekind’ — don’t be too quick to knock it

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a town hall meeting in Edmonton, Feb. 1. Trudeau says an off-the-cuff remark he made during a town hall meeting about making the word mankind more inclusive was an attempt at humour that backfired — a joke he now appears to regret. — Jason Franson/The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a town hall meeting in Edmonton, Feb. 1. Trudeau says an off-the-cuff remark he made during a town hall meeting about making the word mankind more inclusive was an attempt at humour that backfired — a joke he now appears to regret. — Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

I doubt that Trudeau the Younger needs me to defend him against the attacks of the die-hard male-supremacy gang, but I’m in his corner for this bout.

It’s instructive to watch the macho men fighting a doomed rearguard action against the advancing tide of women’s rights. The need to believe that the “womenfolk” are “the weaker sex,” or that they lack some attribute that is present in the male, is becoming less and less useful as time goes by. “Peoplekind” may sound a bit silly right now, but it does have the virtue of keeping the problem in front of our faces.

Like the gender-neutral “O Canada,” peoplekind has a symbolic value that will soon become the new normal. The need for a male protector will no longer exist — in fact, women have repeatedly shown that they neither need nor want male guardians, but fare very well on their own terms, thank you very much. Naturally, not every woman feels the same way, and the men who like to control women will probably find submissive partners, but I’m sure that will change, gradually, as we evolve.

So, I don’t fault young Justin for his symbolism. Symbols quite often lead the way in social evolution, and human equality is no exception.

The testosterone-drippers are on the way out, however hard they may fight to retain (or regain) the upper hand. All the old mechanisms for subjugating women are rusting out, and are ready to be hauled to the junk pile of history. If a woman submits herself to the male will, it will be her own considered choice. That may seem to be “against nature” by some, but male supremacy was only valuable when we were surrounded by dangers, when the male had to hunt and fight, and women underwent serial pregnancies. Contraception has solved one biological and social problem, but the old “hunt and fight” mentality lingers on, pointlessly.

So, I don’t fault young Justin for his symbolism. Symbols quite often lead the way in social evolution, and human equality is no exception. Once the symbols of freedom have been giggled about, and the novelty wears off, we’ll accept the fact that women are in every way equal to men. I’ll go a bit further — in today’s global reality, women are showing themselves to be superior.

Masculine solutions to global problems are failing. War, torture, threats and sabre-rattling solve nothing, but the co-operative and collegial methods used by women have a beneficial effect in social, economic and political situations.

It’s time we all accepted our own evolution, and began co-operating with Mother Nature.

“Mansplaining”? Sure, and why not? Those of us who are not afraid of being called “pussies” or “sweetie” or “hen-pecked” (!) should continue to encourage the march of evolution, rather than acting like dinosaurs. Justin is old enough to take the jibes and the slurs on his “manhood,” and he is not alone in that.

Male feminists are not “traitors.” There is no “battle of the sexes” to be won or lost. If we can’t accept and celebrate the equality of women and men, what hope is there of ever reaching a state of human solidarity?

History may or may not have a right or wrong side, but evolution is merciless — “adapt or die” is an accurate expression of our shared situation.

Ed Healy
Marystown

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