I just have a little thing to say about feminism. I’m not sure there are ‘little things’ to say about such an important and media-hyped topic but here is my best attempt. I don’t really agree with what women are doing on social media; posting statuses marked “#MeToo” in an attempt to magnify the issue of sexual abuse and harassment between men and women.
Firstly, “Me too” is such a vague statement. I don’t think it’s at all fair to bundle all the many different types of abuse together. Being cat-called in the street is no way similar to having your whole identity, your sense of self-worth and in some cases your life stripped away from you. And throwing these extremes in with the more mild cases is causing tension between women, and I assume that isn’t the goal. Of course most, if not all, women have been subject to one form of sexual harassment or another. We know this already, men know this already.
As usual with this kind of thing, I don’t think the message is being communicated to the intended audience effectively. To relate this to something I have given consideration to in the past, I see the same issue a lot with spoken word and slam poetry. Someone passionate about a experience they have had, with a strong message, but the only people it is reaching are the ones who can personally relate, not the ones who the speaker believes need to change or be educated.
I think one problem is the restrictions involved with being active on the internet. In this modern landscape, people circulate in online bubbles. The development in online marketing tactics means that the information you are fed through your online experience is determined by the content you have interacted with in the past; likes and comments, and interactions with friends mean you are trapped in a loop of information feedback. Your view is littered with echoed thoughts, producing false assurance and essentially just a mirror pointing right back at yourself.
There is a new wave of feminism happening, in which women feel entitled to throw out demands online and expect men to kneel down and obey. Shouting out onto the internet that you have been assaulted, or regurgitating falsely re-assured information from Facebook is not going to change the views of the men who have/do assault women. If anything, the accusations are just going to re-enforce negative opinions and anti-feminist views in defence, and strengthen the ‘men vs women’ attitude, on both sides.
In regards to employment, it appears to me that historically it is men who have built up careers and businesses and industries, while women have been more likely to spend their time and energy in the home looking after the house and the children. This is traditionally what has happened, I’m not saying it is ‘right’ in this day and age. Of course when women try to involve themselves with these male-driven careers men are going to be reluctant. That’s human nature, to protect what you have built. It is up to women to prove that the changes we are proposing to attitude and the systems relating to employment, to sexual behaviour and empowerment, are mutually beneficial. It is up to women to get up and make the change rather than simply blaming men for our victimisation and hoping for the change to happen for us. We are not entitled to change simply because we want it.
We live in a society now where women are no longer expected by default to stay at home and raise children. We don’t have to work hard to provide a safe environment to raise our offspring and cook and clean, for the child to subsiquently be destined for the same existence. There is now more time for women to prioritise their own happiness and enjoy their time between leaving childhood and starting a family, even to raise children in an unstable but more authentic way. The option to not have children at all is slowly becoming more and more accepted as well.
Things are becoming much more fluid. Gender roles are blending into each-other and even our physical and biological attributes can be (and often are) altered. Gender is seen as a spectrum in the West these days rather than one or the other. We as a race, are reaching a new level of humanity in which identity is more flexible and while this is a really progressive movement and ultimately a positive thing and should be generally, if somewhat carefully, accepted, it does contradict with our biological history.
It is men’s capability for violence, for confidence and assertion that naturally attracts women, and yet it is this exact quality that is being disputed. Men know they have this violence in them, and some do abuse their power, but there are malicious people in both/all genders. Bombarding men with accusations and inducing guilt is not a solution to the problem. Instead of complaining about it online, we (both genders) should be making important decisions to do with sexual education, rehabilitation for abusers, and getting women into the careers they want. In retaliation to this victimisation so many women are expressing, we should be getting on with making the changes we want, speaking to people directly about the solutions we want to propose, training women up, hiring them, getting involved with organisations actively trying to make a difference to this confusing modern environment we are living in.
So obviously #MeToo, now what?