I will start with some personal stories, I like stories. I have 2 brothers (no sisters) , a son, a stepson (no daughters), 2 brother in laws on my husbands (no sisters for him) side.. I”m also married to a man. I like men. I feel I understand a lot ab the male side of our population having been surrounded by them my entire life. I also understand women’s issue, having been one my entire life. I consider myself a moderate on a lot of issues. But I do have an understanding that misogyny, rape culture, unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault etc primary targets women. I don’t blame men for the creation of these things in society because frankly women keep them in place as well.
The media is full of sound bytes & news clips with little discussion. I find however that messages about women & stereotypes, gender issues tend to blow up before getting blown away. The recent story about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria spawned the hashtag trend #BringBackOurGirls, because people with a worldview will understand that hate towards some women is hate against all women. I’m not using an us/them dichotomy here though. This is not about women versus men but an underlying feeling among many (mixed) populations that women aren’t deserving of education, rights etc. It is important in these instances to stand up to this, especially when the world is watching. People need to understand how the girls in Nigeria, the targeting of women in the Rodgers shooting rampage, etc connects to a larger issue. These could be viewed as disconnected isolated events, but to think that doesn’t look at the bigger picture. These events are but examples of that bigger picture.
In another example the recent hashtag trend #YesAllWomen spawned similar dissent among people – not all of whom were men- who deny the existence of misogyny, rape culture etc. These things make people uncomfortable,I get that. And it should. Being uncomfortable shouldn’t be a reason not to address issues & try to solve or change them. I don’t want, to derail the female centered topic & focus on potential hurt feelings by men though. I’m sorry but there is a bigger issue that needs to be the focus. I feel the need to explain some things further, relating to these issues, in hopefully understandable non-offensive terms though.
I recently had a (male) friend rant on Facebook that he’s tired of female friends posting stuff that make all men out to be “evil” “rapists” & how he gets “all men are evil b/c they are rapists or want to pay you less.’ That right there is the problem: when people get uncomfortable they tend to stop listening and get defensive. No need to get defensive. How about helping? Even if a “woman’s issue” that doesn’t directly affect you, surely it will affect your mother, sister, daughter, friends. Don’t be dismissive. Understand that if YOU aren’t a rapist, a predator, etc that those types of postings aren’t about you, but they should offend you that men out there CAN be those things. Denying & attributing to some “other” in society doesn’t help eradicate the problem.
The reason a lot of these types of stories are attributed to misogyny is because simply that IS whats at the root of them. Of course not all men are women haters. Misogyny exists in society & is built up over time and takes a lot of people to hold in place. But it exists here nonetheless. The success and popularity of the Tea Party being one example….but there are many more, including people in the media & politics that regularly spout off in this vein: Rush Limbaugh. Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann (yes a woman). Of course not all men are rapists, etc, but while its important to acknowledge this its important not to get sidetracked on it. Women already know this. Men already know this. We live in a society that while there are movements and laws against rape, there are also a lot more places that feed it to us in ways that desensitize society to it: video games, movies, music, public places, private citizens views…a bar in Spokane, Washington thought it humorous to create a drink called “Date Grape.’ When there was protest, the bar owner (a man) stated it was “just a joke” –and also refused to change the name. He then began a campaign of harassment against the protest organizer (a woman). While that’s his right to name drinks whatever he wants, the humor he find in rape & those supporting it, is a shining example of what I mean. (My personal opinion is that its in beyond poor taste considering how often acquaintance rape occurs in college settings & tends to involve alcohol..but don’t let me go on a tangent)
On that note, let me give you an example of what I mean, in better terms. When college guys go out, whoop it up, get fall down drunk, people (PEOPLE) think nothing of it other than writing them off as “boys will be boys” “typical Frat guys” etc. Guys can go out and sh*t faced and not worry that a woman will see them as prey, and frankly I doubt this concern ever crosses a guys mind (I’m just assuming though). When a guy walks out of his house without a shirt or with pants sagging to his knees, no one thinks a thing of it. (Other than maybe “pull up your pants whippersnapper”) If a guy got mugged or beaten up, its doubtful anyone would say “well look at how he was dressed” “what did he expect, dressing THAT way?” Whereas when a woman goes out, if she were to get assaulted those things often times become center stage: “what was she thinking acting THAT WAY…dressing THAT WAY…” If you disagree I’m sorry but this is a huge part of the reason so many rape victims don’t press charges, b/c more often than not, stuff like that are some of defense attorneys central questions on the stand or in opening arguments. Its also the way many people think…boys will be boys versus women who shouldn’t behave ‘that’ way. Again, this is a societal thing, not a men versus women attitude, that does permeate our culture. Think of it: if men can freely dress how they choose, act how they choose…why is not okay for a woman to do the same? If a man can act ‘that way’ why cant a woman? Why IS it “asking for it” in these circumstances? That right there, is the clearest example I can give of what I am referring to. There are silent beliefs that people often don’t think of because too often they are silently agreed upon by society. Dont agree. Dont help hold these in place. #ThisTakesEverybody