Hopefully you’ve already seen this. A couple days ago Emma Watson addressed the United Nations on the issue of gender inequality. Well worth the watch, so I’ll wait.
I readily describe myself as a feminist, in much the same way I’ll not back down from describing myself as a liberal. For me feminism is quite simple, to quote Joss Whedon, “You either believe that women are people or you don’t. It’s that simple.”
If you think there are not people who consider women as less, or second hand citizens, look no further than Ray Rice and his appeal to his indefinite suspension. He can’t argue that he hit his wife, so he’s going to argue: I have no idea. It’s his legal right to get representation and be defended. It’s our moral right to ask that he never play football again. Michael Vick was hated for dog fighting, but he at least served time in jail for what he did. Rice doesn’t even want to serve a suspension. I didn’t even mention Greg Hardy.
From CNN on Greg Hardy,
In May, authorities say, Hardy choked his then-girlfriend, dragged her by her hair and threatened to kill her. He was sentenced in July to 18 months of probation and a 60-day suspended sentence for the misdemeanors he was charged with.
Hardy said he is innocent and has appealed a guilty verdict.
He’s on the exempt list so he’ll still be earning his money. He was CONVICTED of his crime. No dogs were harmed…so…probation seems cool.
But how did we get here?
I posted on Facebook a while back about a teenage girl who was, there’s no other word for it, sexually assaulted. A student, after harassing her with a laser pointer aimed at her breasts, fakes apologizing, then grabs her ass going into her dress. The school officials play it off as no big deal (seriously) “You should have ignored them.” What do you think that leads to? These boys felt no fear at what they were doing, and rightly so. They were going to suffer no repercussions for their actions, until a different teacher went to bat for her. This story I have not verified as real, but I’ve heard this story first hand from many other women. I don’t know of a single woman who hasn’t been groped at one point in her life.
Not a single one.
I almost exclusively hang out with women, and to not have met one woman who hasn’t been groped is ridiculous. That’s not even mentioning those that have suffered much worse. There’s a reason we call it ‘rape culture‘.
Don’t think that behavior means anything?
After reading that post from Women’s Rights News, I read about a bartender who had her ass grabbed. Huh, wonder where he learned that was okay? Cool thing about this one is that we get the follow-up from the ass-grabber (it is the NY Post, but still):
“I’ve grabbed plenty of girls’ asses in my life,” Brian H. Lederman boasted to The Post. “But I’ve never grabbed hers.”
“I clearly remember making a joke when the girl said, ‘What would you like,’ ” he said. “I kiddingly said, ‘I would like you to go with nothing on it.’ ”
He said he was furious that she claimed he did more than spew sleaze.
“That f–king c–t, for her to do something like that is pretty ridiculous,” he told The Post.
Earlier this year I figured out that part of the problem is we tell kids to obey the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The problem with this is that men and women are different. A majority of men would love to be groped while out by women, ogled, sexualized. They’re treating women how they’d like to be treated. To these men it’s a compliment. Most men, statistically speaking, would like to have sex at almost any moment. So yeah, they don’t get it.
However, if instead we changed the Golden Rule to: Do unto others, as they ask to have done unto themselves (not sure about biblical grammar), then you’d have a better conversation. You shouldn’t treat people how you’d like to be treated, but treat people how THEY want to be treated. This will require finding out how that person wants to be treated, but guess what? You’ll not be accused of rape or harassment if you find out that this person doesn’t like blond jokes, and though she may be friendly after a few drinks, that’s not an invitation to actually have sex, it’s just that she’s drunk. Likewise, you can let people know that at times you make inappropriate jokes and to let you know if you go too far or found something offensive. Again, treating people as they want, not by your ego-centric standards.
I’m not saying that would solve everything, but it’s a start. And we really have to do something. I don’t want to have a daughter someday tell her friend about going to a club and having her butt grabbed by some stranger, or worse. My daughter should be able to go out, get tipsy, and worry that the worst that will happen is she loses her phone or keys.
I’m going to do my small part to make that happen, hopefully others will too.