Sunday, November 8, 2015

Understanding What We Don't Know (A post about feminism)

Recently I ended up in a conversation on Facebook about "Feminazi's".

Actually - I should back that right up. A few years ago it was pointed out that my behaviour sucked. In the worst possible way. You see, we tend to have this whole thing of "I don't rape and I don't abuse woman therefore I must be innocent". And it all leads to #notallmen.

We've got to identify the fact that we're setting ourselves a really low bar. Not doing something is sooo much easier than actually doing something. Sure, I felt suitably uncomfortable when, at a conference, someone came up to me and started doing a whole "it's a bit of a sausagefest here" thing. Do you want do know what I did? I politely made an excuse and left the table. The other guy, who I thought was the penishead's friend, did the same a few seconds later.

So someone pointed out my behaviour to me. That my behaviour was entitled. And it took me a few uncomfortable months to think about this critically. I am an ignorant fool. I don't know anything. I always saw myself as part of the solution but I was never doing anything that helped.

If I get worked up about it, imagine living it.

I even started to judge some of those that I know and love setting a higher bar. Do they understand the issue at hand? Do they REALLY support woman? I did realise that we're insulated by those we know and love. They make excuses for us. It's in the culture but it's essentially sort of a form of Stockholm syndrome.

Same conference, a couple of years later, and there were anti-feminist sentiments. In one session, a guy had spoken up first in a session about sexism in the IT industry. Guys. Stop it. Stop right now. Whenever you've got something to say, stop and think, "Do I understand the problem?". Here's the truth. We would do well to stop and listen and try not finding reasons why we're not "that" guy.

The problem in this case? It's a culture. It's EVERYWHERE. It's the culture we live in, it's in the music and television, how interactions are done or not done, it's in the attitudes in every day interactions. It's a thousand and one cuts EVERY SINGLE DAY.

So when you then see things about guys getting upset because they're "not part of the problem" or they're "innocents" and they get it because "they support woman", and why are the feminazi's picking on them? They don't get it. They don't know what they don't know. They think they know, but they don't. It's a bit (fuck it: exactly) like hearing someone say: "Why are you so angry? Stop it. You're hurting my feelings".

Woman have a right to be angry.

Let's back pedal again. Scope. This isn't a few people feeling aggrieved. This is more than half the population. Daily. A thousand and one cuts. We're not just talking about systematic aggravations like lack of pay parity (and stop it with the bullshit self serving "career choices" argument. It's a douchebag argument and you know it). We're talking about everyday interactions and communication styles. Next time a heated debate is going on, look around you. Where are the woman? Are they waiting permission (I witnessed this at a conference. A few woman actually had their hands up) for their turn to speak? Have they walked away?

So if you're feeling attacked because someone's saying "men suck", well... there's a reason for that...

We don't know what we don't know.

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