Why The Movement Against Sexual Harassment Is A Men’s Issue
There is much discussion these days about sexual harrassment, sexism in Hollywood, and the “Me Too” campaign for women who have suffered abuse in any industry to have their voices heard. But, where are the men?
This issue is a human rights issue, but even more so than women, men need to be the ones to step up. Women, many of whom are re-victimized when they do step forward, are well aware that some men are inappropriate. Women are even more aware that some men are downright vile, violent, or abusive.
Because this is more of a power issue than a sexual one, it is men who must look out for those perpetrators that give all men a bad rap. Aware men must also learn to listen to, trust, and have compassion for women.
Yes, women are made stronger by surviving constant instances of being objectified, ignored, manipulated, insulted and much more. But that does not mean that men have little to gain by standing up for human rights.
What can a man gain by calling out unfair, unjust, or sexist behavior?
If one is to ever believe men’s magazine’s, it is the hot car, or the cool shirt, or the right cocktail, or the fittest bod, or the business acumen that wins women's’ hearts. But try this on to impress the ladies:
Be a decent guy.
Be the guy who acknowledges talent, competence, insight and skill. Be the guy at work who doesn’t just compliment the hot chick’s legs. (inappropriate) but that recognizes all female co-workers who make contributions (very appropriate.)
Be the guy who sees women. Don’t stand up by beginning with how you have a sister. Or daughter. Or mother. Stand up because you acknowledge a female in her own right is a full human being. There is no huge misdeed in your relational associations with females, but stay aware that your relationships to females are usually not the first thing that matters in any and every situation.
Be the guy who is sick and tired of having to hide emotions, apologize for tears, being told what is “manly” and what is not. Be the man who chooses for himself the emotions you are allowed to feel, express and share. There is no greater courage than standing up for wanting to create your own character, not wear masks imposed upon you, or anyone else — including women — tells you that you have to be.
Be the guy who understands nurturing, child care, elderly care, or any care is a human being’s job, not a woman’s job. This one really matters, because as of yet, females do not have the independence of roles men are still granted.
Be the guy who decides for yourself whether you like cooking, or knitting, or judo, or fashion, or sports, or music, or art and theatre, or anything in the world. Celebrate loudly when you participate in what you love and do so proudly as a fully-developed human being.
Be the guy who sees our world suffers under rigid roles, insane hierarchy rules that favor dominance over cooperation. Realize that equality does not drag men down, but elevates them to have shared voices and choices that many people of both sexes do not presently have, because the domination model has put wealthy, powerful and sometimes wildly unqualified men in positions that keep you, other men, and women, oppressed and contesting, according to color, religion, etc.
Be the guy who knows speaks out against oppression and domination in all of its forms, not just to win the hearts of the ladies, for gods’ sake, or for any reward, but because that is what a real man must do. For example, sustaining life on Earth largely depends upon our power to not pollute, not pillage, not plunder and not over-populate the whole world. Be certain the only way to protect our shared world is to make it a shared world.
Be the guy who learns stuff. Be the guy who reads, promotes, celebrates and understands truth. It is true that until men see women seriously, as whole beings who can help you live a whole life, the whole world suffers under a domination model that values bullying over abundance for all.
Be the guy who understands physical, mental, emotional and spiritual compassion requires autonomy. Autonomy means choice. More choice for every individual to make a contribution, through cooperation, not control. Much of how some people try to control others is through “conventional roles.” Those roles allowed a lot of men and women to suffer discrimination and even violation. Be the guy who doesn’t go for that. If you are raised under a religion or other cultural guide that tells you some people should have more power than others, think hard about this. Witness injustice through history, or even your own personal life, and really think about whether that even if that is true, it has been horrendously mis-used, and we can all do better.