Sunday, June 8, 2014

I like solutions to difficult problems. Like misogyny.

Well, I do NOT like misogyny. But HOORAY! I've come across list of five worthwhile (and simple) things that be done to help end it! 
Recently, the ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ Twitter hashtag got a lot of women sharing their experiences with the harsh realities of misogyny, including myself. It also put a lot of people on the bitter defensive, which I experienced first-hand in only some the replies I received, but witnessed in countless vicious attacks on other women who shared their truths and thoughts, as I had done. (And whether you are a Twitter user or not, I would encourage you to go read some of the #YesAllWomen tweets.)"
The following piece is a very eloquent response to these recent discussions, and I invite you all to read it, and share it, if you feel so compelled. Unfortunately, ‪#‎Misogyny‬ is a far more important issue than most realize, and it is not ever going to just magically fix itself for the young girls we know now, nor for those in future generations, to be able to grow up feeling safe and protected in our society. We need a solution, WAY sooner than later, because, y'all, if you're not horrified, you're not paying attention, and/or you may think it doesn't matter (or wish it didn't), and it DOES. Because, guys reading this? Consider this ONE aspect of this problem. The women you know? We haven't grown up feeling anywhere nearly as safe as you-- and if you doubt that at all, you ask them what they have to fear that you don't, and never will. It's time for us all to start being honest about this stuff, and talking about it. Read on to hear how we can do just that.
Peace and love. Peace and LOVE. --kdr

"There have been a lot of articles written this past week about misogyny, harassment, sexual assault, and violence towards women. The responses to those articles are often as enlightening as the articles themselves: Hey, not all men are bad! That guy was just crazy. Stop pounding us over the head with this! I'm not disrespectful to the women I know, what more do you want from me?
If your response to an article about misogyny is a knee-jerk urge to defend yourself, to argue that you are not part of the problem, I'd suggest taking some time to make sure you understand what the problem really is. Not just a minute. Do some research. Do some hard thinking. Once you've done that, if your conscience is clear, great! Consider going a step further to determine if there's anything more you can do to be part of the solution.
Here are some things anyone can do:
1) Let go of the idea that there are regular people and there are monsters. People who do monstrous things *are* regular people. They're someone's friend, someone's cousin, someone's child, or someone's parent. When we 'other' them we give them space to operate. We run the risk of not seeing what's right in front of us, or of seeing it but trying to explain it away, diminishing it, because someone we care about couldn't possibly be a monster. This is one reason you hear stories of boys whose friends or coach or whole town rally around them after they've raped. I ate lunch with him yesterday, I've laughed with him, he helped me get through my parents' divorce, he's a team player. There must be some explanation, some reason - he's not a monster.
There are no monsters.
2) Tell the people you know who have been sexually assaulted that you recognize the enormity of the wrong that has been done to them. If you know the person who did the wrong, don't make excuses, try to explain it away, or muse about what could have caused it. Just acknowledge that it was 100% wrong and that it is tremendously, life-changingly serious. Reach out, bring it up. Don't leave a person to carry the weight of it alone.
If you're thinking, "I don't know anyone who has been sexually assaulted", the sad reality is that it's statistically very improbable. Are you someone a person would feel comfortable sharing that information with? Work to be.
3) Encourage dialogue about misogyny. Initiate it and participate in it. Don't shut it down or change the subject or verbally flail about in indignation.
If you're tired of hearing about misogyny, imagine how tiring it is for women to be perpetually wary. Think it's unnecessary for women to be perpetually wary? Remember, it's statistically likely that you know someone who has been assaulted. That's because it's statistically likely that a woman *will be* assaulted.
Listen. Talk. Share information. Be willing to be wrong sometimes so you can learn to do right.
4) Pay active attention.
When you're watching tv, hear the coach who deprecatingly calls his players 'ladies'.
When you're walking down the street, see the man leaning on the building who stares at a woman the entire time she's within his field of view.
When you're hanging out with young parents, notice when one of them tells his or her son not to cry like a girl or that something he wants to play with is for girls.
When you're visiting family for a holiday, note that the first thing people usually say to a young girl is something about her appearance. (I like your dress! You look beautiful today!)
When you're shopping for a book, remember that publishers still change authors' names so they won't sound too feminine.
When you're playing a video game, observe the different roles, power, and plot lines given to female and male characters.
When you're hanging out with a group of men, recognize when they joke about all women, complain about all women, or rate women's appearances.
When you're watching a movie, consciously think about whether it revolves around men's stories, men's wants, men's dreams.
There's a barrage of misogyny all around us. If you're not seeing it, hearing it, noticing it, recognizing it, thinking about it, then you are part of it, and it is part of you.
5) Speak up.
Say, "I can't believe people are still making jokes like that."
Say, "Why wouldn't he want to be like a girl?"
Say, "I'm not ok with what you're doing."
Say, "Where are the women in this movie?"
Say, "The way you're looking at that woman seems to be making her uncomfortable."
Say, "That's not funny."
Say, "Why isn't the guy ever locked up in a tower?"
Say, "Don't be an asshole."
Sometimes you might say the wrong thing. Sometimes you'll feel embarrassment or fear. Sometimes someone will get annoyed or angry with you. Speak up anyway. What you ignore, you condone."

-- posted on Facebook by Rue Kream, May 31, 2014, 4:40pm.


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