My father’s not really a “Father’s Day” guy. Usually doesn’t remember when it is till I hand him a card or something, though this year he & my stepmother are chillin’ on a beach somewhere. Sounds more fun than a pithy slogan on a piece of cardstock. I gave more thought to it a few days prior, when an online friend of mine, himself a dad, expressed dismay at a hashtag on twitter called “EndFathersDay” being affixed to #YesAllWomen. Since I think ending Father’s Day will no more destroy patriarchy than banning the word bossy will, my initial reaction was to wonder if this was some kind of a troll. (It was, and apparently Fox News gobbled it up.) Though I’ve got to say seriously, some of those sock-puppet accounts in “support” of the thing – at least I hope they were socks – were just laughably cartoonish. Especially the one calling all women who disagreed with her views “gender-traitors”. 1) “Gender Traitor” was the term used in Margaret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a charge leveled against lesbians and gays in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, where homosexuality was a crime. 2)If anything, I say gender betrayed ME. :p Grumble grumble stupid social constructed binary I’m expected to define myself by. Screw it!
What I found more deserving of feminist focus on Father’s Day was Russell Maroon Shoatz and his family. Maroon, a member of the Black Panther party and Black Freedom movement, was found guilty of the murder of a police officer, though he was not present when the shooting occurred. I first met his daughter Theresa Shoatz at a Scientific Soul Sessions winter holiday party and have heard her speak at other events since. Her father has suffered 22 years of solitary confinement in the PA prison system (certainly meeting the Geneva Convention’s standards for psychological torture) and has not been allowed physical contact with his family during visits. It is truly heartbreaking to hear a woman describe not being able to put her arms around her father for decades in person, though all I can provide is this link to an online interview:
In the past year Maroon has been placed in general population, though he still remains incarcerated. I write this to raise awareness of the situation on this holiday.