For the Love of Women

International Women’s Day

Grant McKenzie, Editor-in-Chief of Monday Magazine

I love women. Always have. And although in my travels I’ve met a fair share with whom I would rather not be trapped on a submarine, I have been fortunate to encounter far more wherein the experience would be an altogether pleasant one.

This week is dedicated to our fairer sex with International Women’s Day having taken place Tuesday and the inspirational women of PEERS giving a special benefit reading of The Vagina Monologues on March 12.

All too often, these events focus on the trials women still face on this planet — especially at the hands of men. If I could apologize on behalf of the male population, I would, but without the ability to castrate the more serious offenders, it would lack teeth. In the time it took your eyes to cross the space between letters in this sentence, another violent crime has been committed against a woman.

The only pledge I can honestly make is that none of those acts were, or ever will be, committed by me. By itself, it’s not much, I know, but more and more men are making that same pledge, and together we can make a difference.

When more fathers wake up to how their words and actions directly affect and shape their sons and daughters, we’ll begin to see change. Unfortunately, as Darwin discovered, evolution is a long, slow process, full of bumps and setbacks and violent regime changes. But awareness is the first step, so I applaud those who continually persevere to keep the message alive.

As for the women in my life, I am doubly blessed.

My wife, Karen, is the branch I cling to when I dare reach further than my grasp, the rock who anchors me when I challenge the currents to swim upstream, and the net who catches me every time I fall. She is the first face I look forward to seeing each morning, and the one who makes it possible for me to close my eyes at night without worry or fear. She is my lover, my best friend and my constant inspiration.

The other woman in my life is equally as important. My daughter is the sun on my face and the air in my lungs. She is the smile in my eyes and the wrinkles that surround them. She is my heart and my greatest joy, and I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible woman she is becoming.

I am also blessed with a mother who allowed me to be the strange little boy I was. She didn’t try to change me into something I wasn’t — to fit in with the crowd. When I preferred comic books and Action Man to soccer, or using my imagination to turn a rainy day at the beach into an alien adventure, she would just smile and let it be.

My gran — who at 97 is mad as a hatter and stubborn as a Scottish mule — taught me what a strong woman could accomplish in a time when strong women were frowned upon. She gave no quarter and bore no fuss, but when times got tough and the economy crumbled she made sure her family was looked after first.

No wonder I love women. I would be nowhere without them.

Song stuck in my head

“The Milkman of Human Kindness” by Billy Bragg.

When I first heard this song on college radio many moons ago, I knew I needed to hear lots more from this never-gonna-be-mainsteam, song-writing troubadour. With cocked fists and a tender heart, Life’s A Riot launched Bragg into the collective consciousness of a generation. Through tender love songs and angry protest anthems, he speaks of being a rebel with a conscience without resorting to being a bastard. M

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