Wow....just a little rant brought about a long and varied thread.
I have been thinking about this thread for a while. It seems that this thread just like in the dojo is a microcosm of the bigger picture. I think some people judge everyone's circumstances through the filter of their own experience. And I am more than a little surprised by some of the nasties.
My point about men helping women in Aikido was not about having women being promoted because they are women. I think we all agreed that there is a patriarchal structure in Aikido. So maybe like how people who were free helped abolish slavery ; a good example of what I am trying to say would be how African Americans in the United States needed to be free. If they had to wait until they could free themselves it would have taken a very long time. But people who knew that slavery was wrong helped and so slavery was abolished sooner than it would have been if they hadn't have helped.
So my thought is that women could use some help.........I have plenty of help in my dojo. When I started training my children were small and they were welcome to play away from the mat. Now that they are grown I still remember what it was like to need to train with small children. So our dojo is supportive to parents with children.
We don't focus on just the young, athletic male who is easiest to train and we feel that everyone can do Aikido. That is how we encourage women, children and the not so young to feel at home in Aikido.
I find the references to "mcdojo and such" to be sad. There are many ways to become stronger and enlightened.
And to Rob....about your question as to why I don't go to seminars taught by women.....the honest answer is that I am not interested in training in other styles. I find it quite uncomfortable and awkward.
And lastly I apologize to anyone who took my initial rant personally.......... it was not meant that way.....it was more at the structure of Aikido.........and really at the structure of the world.