CAUTION: MEN AHEAD
I am yet to watch the BBC's "Sex For Grades" documentary but I don’t need to in order to know what will be portrayed. Sexual harassment in education is neither unique or unheard of as in many countries across the world, this is the norm.
I spend a lot of time (maybe too much?) thinking about the world I live in and I often engage in conversations that discuss practical solutions to the many injustices that occur every day. The one thing that always stands out is that many problems with the world today are caused by men.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Men Are Trash”. I don’t use it often as I find it creates a barrier in discourse however, the message behind it is very accurate - the biggest threat to a woman today and in a large part of history, is and has always been men. I’m not a history buff so feel free to correct me but I have never known a time in which women posed the same threat to men. This is not to say that women need to in order to level the playing field, but maybe if women did pose an equal threat, the violence against women, which manifests itself in various forms, would greatly reduce.
Patriarchy is upheld by men AND women (we see you 😒) however, the danger in it comes from men. Men that are allowed to beat women because they are married to them. Men that are allowed to rape women because of her choice in attire. Men with the freedom to stop women from having a voice when creating policies on women's health. Men who are allowed to hinder women from getting an education and building a life for themselves unless they tolerate sexual harassment. Men that can create glass ceilings so that the order of their toxic board room isn’t disturbed.
It’s a wonder that women survive at all! To have to struggle to simply exist?! It's a wonder that we aren’t so paranoid that we lock ourselves in a room for our own safety. At times, it is THAT overwhelming.
What hurts even more is women "in captivity". These are the women that vehemently fight for patriarchy without realising that they too are victims of it. I don’t blame them, they don’t know how else to be and contrary to belief, some women actually do benefit from it but those periods are short lived and they are always in danger of being remind they are “just women”.
I normally refrain from addressing topics like these on global platforms because I’m fully aware of my own ignorance when it comes to the history of feminism and patriarchy. I also acknowledge that patriarchy is in the fabric of our current existence and that I may exhibit signs of it at various times. Unlike some, I don’t believe that you can be cleansed of it so completely that you build an immunity to it, which is why I don’t bash women who identify as feminist yet may fall short of what feminism stands for at times.
Despite this I would say that, even thought it took me a while to accept the term, I was born a feminist . I understood at a very young age that men had privilege and I was taught at a young age that the privilege men had could endanger me.
I remember how surprised a male friend was during a conversation in which I gave him a step by step account of all the preventative steps I take daily to stay safe from men and all the instances where, despite growing up around many guys and being extremely at ease with men in general, I have been made to feel threatened or uncomfortable as a result of their actions. A man standing too close on a train, or making sexist "jokes" at work or touching me in order to get past me (I got into many fights over this one!) or walking behind me on a poorly lit road. Even a gesture as courteous as buying me a drink will have me questioning the possibility of it being spiked. Dangers that my male friend had never had to consider were things I had to be hyper aware of.
I work so hard to challenge the men around me to ensure that they create a better environment for the women around them and raise sons who will do the same. Like many other social conflicts, feminism is a fight that needs to be fought on both fronts, we need men to get on board so that we can change the state of things. To the men who are allies, we see you because you stand out as a beacon of hope. We know it’s possible because you exist.
"Men are the white people of gender." I truly love this show! ABC's 'Black-ish'
Although this post addressed all women, a special shout out goes to black women who are born into the hardest intersection of all, being black and a woman. Battling both racism and patriarchy. We are the most endangered people on the planet with the least amount of recognition for our femininity and associated fragility. In the words of the late, great, Whitney Houston,
“It’s not right, but it’s ok, I’m gonna make it anyway!”
And we do, every single day. I see you and I stand with you.
If you like the content, feel free to buy me a coffee. 😊