It’s hard being me.
I’m tired, weary of “checking my privilege”.
By dumb luck I’m rooted to this planet as an SWM, a straight white male, my mere existence offensive, by default sexist, homophobic, racist - a blight on society, judging by the relentless onslaught of social justice warrior (SJW) messaging. The post-modern left, as author A.R. Devine explains, holds straight white males to be inferior humans "who should keep their mouths shut and know their place" - privileged, therefore scum.
And it’s hard on me. We all want to be loved, after all.
The protracted battle of SJW v. SWM is not much of a contest these days. Imagine, for a terrifying moment, Mike Tyson in his fearsome prime pounding on Stephen Hawking in his wheelchair, and you have accurately grasped the current tilt and tenor of this conflict.
Worse, I’m a married man, hence a wife-beater at heart. That worthy insight arrived courtesy of Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s wondrously accomplished minister of foreign affairs, in an interview with liberal arts magazine The Walrus – published, in no small irony, on Valentine’s Day: “I’m a woman. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. One hundred years ago, I would’ve been beaten by my husband. That’s what happened to pretty much all women.”
Yikes. That’s quite the requiem for our war dead, for those tens of thousands of men who surrendered their lives for our country a century ago in World War I. Wife-beaters, the lot of them. Better off dead than terrorizing the little woman at home, I suppose. Thank you for your sacrifice, men.
My wife has no idea as to how much danger she’s in. I’ve managed to restrain my most violent impulses, thus far, but God only knows when I’ll crack under the pressure of simply being me.
But salvation is at hand.
I’ve had an epiphany, prompted by the social-engineering manifesto masquerading as Budget 2018 offered up by the Trudeau government this week.
It’s a document stuffed with goodies and programs for women, expertly crafted to seduce more women from the home and into the work force, and to pay them the same for their efforts as the loathsome, domineering men who have heretofore been hogging the jobs and most of the money.
And Canada’s economy shall roar, the Trudeau doctrine assures us, as the greatest drag on the country’s economic performance - lack of female participation in the marketplace – is finally consigned to the trash bin of history.
It hasn’t occurred to Justin Trudeau and his band of feminist warriors that men and women are actually different, with distinctive skills and needs and goals that might logically lead to choices at odds with the prescriptions of Trudeau & Co.
Somehow, by way of example, in the prolonged process of painting doctors last year as money-grubbing tax-dodgers, Trudeau and his finance man Bill Morneau failed to notice that two-thirds of family doctors under 35 are female, a shift that occurred without intrusive engineering by government. We can agree, I think, that women in general are more empathetic, compassionate, and nurturing than men, attributes naturally bent not only to superior care of children but also to the profession of healing; the medical “marketplace” has responded accordingly.
Nor has it bothered the prime ministerial mind, evidently, that when he assumed the helm of the Liberal Party in 2013 it was only after open competition with Martha Hall Findlay, Deborah Coyne, Joyce Murray, and Karen McCrimmon, able candidates all. Why he (and the other male aspirants) did not simply stand aside to allow one of these talented women an unfettered shot at becoming prime minister endures as paradox and mystery.
Equally mysterious, amidst this earnest rush to gender equity in all things, is the lack of attention paid to the gross over-representation by Canadian men among the grim statistics of suicide, workplace fatalities, and imprisonment. One presumes that Team Trudeau intends to remedy this sad state of affairs, in due course. For instance, shall we imprison less men, or more women? Perhaps next year’s Liberal manifesto - er, budget - will tackle these thorny issues.
Finally, it might surprise our leaders that many Canadian women are actually offended by the premise that they cannot compete fairly and squarely in society by dint of their own intelligence, abilities, resourcefulness, and wit, without the helping hand of government. Heck, I would be offended too, if I was a woman.
Which brings me neatly back to my epiphany.
I’ve decided to become a woman.
Because I’m done - done with apologizing for myself, done with checking my privilege. It’s time to check out.
I don’t mean I’m going to take hormones, or have any of those gruesome surgeries to remove any of my parts. No, no: far too messy - and painful. An enlightened Canada allows me to keep my “stuff” and to simply identify as a woman, regardless of biology. I have only to say, “I am now a woman!”, and “poof”, it is so.
And thanks to Bill C-16, passed into law by the Trudeau government last June, you must simply take me at my word. It is criminal, in fact, for you to deny my “woman-hood”, to frustrate my free right to “gender identity” and “gender expression” - my right to be a woman is backed to the hilt by the Human Rights Code. “#LoveisLove,” tweeted Trudeau euphorically upon passage of that bill, so besotted was he by his success in reweaving Canada's social fabric.
It’s going to be awesome. For starters, I plan to apply to every one of the many new programs for women generously offered by Minister Morneau in his budget - and he’s legally obliged to accommodate me. I’m in the money, people.
Already I've banked $1.82. I picked up the latest issue of Maclean's magazine at the newsstand today, a bit irritated at first to see the cover price emblazoned as $8.81 for men but only $6.99 for women - before I remembered that my transformation has left me to the positive. The young fellow manning (peopling?) the till was a bit taken aback by my offering, but he'll recover.
With my newfound wealth I’m going on a shopping spree for the ages, as necessary prelude to dressing the part to the max; the faded jeans and ratty assortment of T-shirts and scrub tops currently resident in my closet just ain't gonna cut it. My wardrobe is set to enjoy an expansion unseen since the days of former Philippine First Lady ("The Empress of Shoes") Imelda Marcos. Trudeau’s recent and strenuous efforts to deck himself out with every last article of clothing on the Indian subcontinent will seem, by comparison, positively puny.
To prepare, I’ve applied for a slew of new credit cards (using my new identity), so as to facilitate spending like a drunken sailor, or, rather, like a Liberal finance minister. No need to pay those bits of plastic down once I’ve maxed them out, obviously - retirement of debt is to be wholly scorned, as per the shining example set forth by the free-spending Morneau.
My professional life will be rejuvenated as I acclimate to my new space amongst peoplekind and return to my medical practice as a female, destined to receive, at last, the adoration and appreciation I’ve been craving.
I face the future with unrestrained optimism, secure in my simple, inspired and brave decision, buttressed by the knowledge that if the Neanderthal Conservative Party of Canada should ever, by some unimaginable miracle, regain the levers of power, I can revert to being a man in the blink of an eye.
As Ms. Freeland observed in her Walrus interview, “The arc of history is pretty positive.” Indeed. It’s a wonderful time to be alive.
I broke the news of my transition to my children this morning, and invited them to call me Mommy Number Two, or simply "M2". They seem to think I’ve completely lost my marbles, but they’ll come around - I’m sure of it.
My long-suffering spouse has yet to weigh in, but it’s all to the good: my nasty and aggressive tendencies have fled like thieves in the night, and my wife, rescued unawares from the ticking time bomb that snored softly but malignantly next to her each night for the last sixteen years, will assuredly find a colourful term or two to describe me.
As for everyone else: you may call me Edwina.