Winter Festival is always such a magical time of year. I for one, always embrace it. Of course there was for a time some debate whether or not it should be called Winter Festival. Since not everyone in Canada originally come from places where there is winter, and so might find it exclusionary.
At one point a group suggested calling it Festivus, which was gaining in popularity until it was discovered the name Festivus was actually a 'joke' name from an old TV show. Well the young men responsible will be spending a long time in reeducation as a result of their hate crime, hope the 'joke' was worth it boys.
Reeducation isn't always that bad, some even enter it voluntarily, but for hate crimes it usually involves a long stay and oftentimes severe techniques to achieve the desired results with subjects. I wasn't at first in favour of the reeducation system (I know, check your privilege) but now I do see how necessary it is to achieve a safe and free society.
Anyways, enough about that, Winter Festival is a time to dwell on the positive. It's primarily a celebration of diversity; all songs, events and so forth, are of course multi-cultural. And the great thing about Winter Festival is there are always new things to learn, since of course there are no traditions. Traditions are exclusionary, and a symptom of white privilege, now we have a holiday that not only brings us closer together but also educates us.
My partner, we're hetero-normative and cis gender, but my partner Ann feels that using the term husband and wife just reeks of patriarchy, although not illegal, they can be triggering to other genders, to which I whole heartedly agree. Anyway my partner Ann, has had some qualms over the last couple of years, that Winter Festival songs and overall celebratory slant has been a little too Islamic centric. I mean don't get me wrong, she of course wears a head covering for diversity everyday, as does my daughter (who is happy with the gender assigned to her at birth). But last Winter Festival dinner, they got into it a bit. When they do, I check my privilege and just listen, or quietly clear the dishes and clean up while the ladies have a healthy debate.
I see my wive's point, that Islamic culture can at times, seem a little disrespectful towards women. My daughter however, and I see her point too, says we still have white privilege and aren't open enough not to judge something that is simply different, not worse or better, just different.
Now I have to say I am quite proud of my daughter, she volunteered at a refugee centre and was sexually assaulted by a few of the male newcomers. Despite that she argued she was dressed immodestly for their culture and had unwittingly provoked them. In the end they avoided reeducation and just received probation, largely thanks to her non-judgmental stance.
My Partner however, says she often feels unsafe around certain people (which I suppose is her code for Muslims) and thought women's rights should take precedence over multiculturalism, otherwise the patriarchy would never be smashed.
It was all very interesting to listen to, what I could catch. And comforted myself that Winter Festival brought us together as a family so we could discuss these very important points in a safe environment.
Unfortunately my son (also happy with the gender assigned him at birth) didn't partake much in Winter Festival. Although a couple years older than our daughter, he hadn't yet enrolled in college. Well he did try, he was always a decent student, perhaps a little too questioning at times, but other than that a good student. Of course as a white male I understand others must take precedence, or we'll never have a free and equal society.
That's hard for him to understand I guess. For example, he's very adept at classical mathematics, but struggled terribly with progressive math (which, again proud to say my daughter aces). I don't know where he gets it from (my partner blames me) but I certainly never instilled in him the feelings of white male prerogative he seems to harbour. He takes pride in knowing the answer, but doesn't understand with progressive math it's not the answer it's the process. He always tells me that's illogical (or worse actually) I tell him to check his privilege, but when I do he just storms off, and nothing's resolved.
I once suggested that perhaps he might benefit from voluntary reeducation, but that suggestion went no better than my usual pleas for him to try and rid himself of his tendencies towards toxic masculinity. I think it comes from the people he hangs out with. Other young men, who congregate in coffee houses (thankfully we got rid of bars, which were so offensive to Muslims, and often led to violence against women) but coffee houses are still allowed and it's hard to monitor people there. They of course never say what (I assume) they really think online, since that would lead to hate crimes. Just the same, I wish my son felt he could be more open with me, since a few of his friends have committed suicide in the last couple of years and I'm sure he must need someone to talk to about that.
But, again, I don't want to dwell on the negative, when there's so much positive in the world to celebrate. Sometimes at this time of year, I ask my partner if I could have permission for sexual contact (since I'm not a rapist, unlike so many other men). I know she likes to spend the holidays with one of her boyfriends (again, I don't succumb to patriarchal definitions of marriage like some men still do) but at Winter Festival it can be nice to have some intimate time with my partner. And she agrees (sometimes anyway).