>Woe, Nellie!

>Why is it that I always get involved in things, and then see the full extent of what I’m involved in and go, ug! Take this little gem for example. I’ve mentioned the organization that runs the women’s shelter that I do some work for. So anyway, I decided to help out at this little candle-light vigil that they have every year in memory of the Montreal massacre. I figure, no harm in that, right?

Then, I get an agenda, which includes a poem that is going to be read out at this event, and I cringe. I think poetry is great, but this poem is just wrong. Well, tell me what you think of this little masterpiece.

It was a cold December afternoon and the line stretched round the block
And some of them were weeping and some were still in shock
Seven thousand came that day to pay their last respects
To 14 women slaughtered for no reason but their sex.

And the cameras and the mikes were there to record the grief and fear
Of the ordinary people who worked and studied here.
And a woman in her fifties in a gentle quiet tone
Summed up her sister’s outrage at the murder of their own

She said “I wonder why, as I try to make sense of this
Why is it always men who resort to the gun, the sword and the fist?
Why does gunman sound so familiar while gunwoman doesn’t quite ring true?
What is it about men that makes them do the things they do?

And the man behind her in the line, he started getting steamed
He said, “it wasn’t because he was a man, this guy was crazy, mad, obscene!”
“Yes he was crazy” the woman replied, but women go crazy too,
And I’ve never heard of a woman shooting 14 men have you?

And all the other times came flooding back to me again
A hundred news reports of men killing family, strangers, friends
And yes, I can remember one or two where a woman’s hand held the gun
But exceptions only prove the rule, and the questions still remain

And I know there are men of conscience who aren’t like that at all,
Who would never raise a hand in anger and who reject the macho role.
And if you were to ask them about the violence that men do
I know they’d say they hate male violence too.

And don’t you wonder why, as you try to make sense of this.
Why is it always men who resort to the gun, the sword and the fist?
Why does gunman sound so familiar while gunwoman doesn’t ring quite true?
What is it about men that makes them do the things they do?

Ug! And I have to stand there listening to this. First off, I can’t really say this poem is, well, the greatest sample of poetry I’ve ever read. I know, somebody probably wrote this as an expression of grief and I probably shouldn’t criticize it. I respect the fact that they had to write it, if that’s why they wrote it, I’m just not a fan of this one. But more importantly, how does this further our cause at all? How can feminists sit there and demand that we not be stereotyped if we’re going to openly stereotype men and, for the most part, accuse them all of being killing monsters? Sure there’s like 2 lines in there that say there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, we’re pointing our fingers and saying, “all you men are pigs!” And then we wonder why men don’t come out and support our events. Gee, I wonder. Maybe we should reread that poem again. The answer might come to us.

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