Last month I wrote a post on how we need to end sexism in the tech industry. Then a week ago, there was a shooting in LA and twitter erupted in protest over the sexism and misogyny that is pervasive in our society. If you have missed the #YesAllWomen tag, then you need to go read it now.
There were stories from women throughout society. It wasn’t the stories of violence that struck me, but the stories of abuse and harassment that take place ALL THE TIME.
#YesAllWomen because I hated taking the metro in #DC because men standing in the aisles would always look down my shirt.
— Hännah (@haettinger) May 25, 2014
That is my city. That is someone I haven’t met sharing their concerns about traveling on public transportation. It wasn’t the only story about the Metro. It is ignorant to assume that this hasn’t happened to co-workers, friends, family, and loved ones. To drive that point home for me, friends and family shared stories on the hashtag as well.
An Equal and Safe Society
There was an image shared that makes an excellent point about the challenge we are facing.
The point is clear and important. This is about us as society treating all women equally because they are HUMAN BEINGS. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and feel safe, regardless of their gender, race, or beliefs.
Of course, this misses on a point from basic marketing, making a connection with your target audience. In this case, men.
We Have to Make it Personal
When you look at advertising, the ads always try to get you to envision yourself as the people using the product of service. If the ad can do that, it has done the hardest part of the sales job.
Feminism should do the same thing.
When I read the tweets, I was angry. I couldn’t believe that these things were constantly happening our world and that I was apparently ignorant of the widespread nature of this behavior. It was the kind of anger that is readily supplanted when the next horrible thing about society appears.
Then I realized that this was happening to people that I care about, that I love. This is happening to them on a regular basis. This has impacted my mother, aunts, cousins, and all the women in my life that I care about or have ever cared about.
It became personal and I became furious.
Logically, it shouldn’t matter. It is the same issue and problem that had upset me with a difference. I am now more committed to making a change now than I was before. The concept of my little girl having to deal with this when she grows up infuriates me.
If making it personal makes more men take action, then let’s make it personal.
Take Action Now
Men, we have to act. Listen to women. Really listen. Believe them. Share with other men. Take an interest at what is happening around you. If you see a woman, or anyone, being harassed, stop it. Say something.
Lots of men like to say “Not All Men.” They say that they are one of the “good guys.”
Here’s the thing. If things like this happen in a society that you are part of, and you aren’t working to stop it, it is you. If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
16 thoughts on “All Men for “Yes All Women””
Hi Laurence, I could not disagree more with this nonsense. I do not agree that just men are responsible for treating women correctly. It always goes both ways. And men are just as discriminated as are various race groups. Why? Because they are actually not the same. Pretending they are the same is a political measure and makes matters worse. Accepting differences on all sides and use them to our advantage is the right way. Diversity is part of the natural evolutionary process. Conformity stalls progress.
In my business we always had a high percentage of women and in management we have the same as men. But men and women are different and deal with gender relationships differently. Men are for example badly discriminated against in divorce. And it is nonsense to say it is to protect women. They are already much stronger protected than men in the Western World. I am not talking about the majority of this planet. If you go to China and much of Asia you will find that women runs many things in business but most certainly family affairs and that includes family finances. They do mostly not dress so sexually overt as we do in the west.
In terms of staring: I once had a lady come to work in a see-through blouse with no bra. I took her to the conference room and told her that I liked it, but that she had to be aware that it is not fair to make something visible and then expect others not to look. If she did not mind the looks then she could dress this way. She went home to change and never did it again.
If women do not like to be stared at all they have to do is to dress conservatively. But women want to be looked at, but only by the right man with the right intentions (to marry). That just does not work. Nature has not built us this way and yes. men and women are quite different in this respect. People would laugh if i complain that a woman stares at my cute butt. Because we walk upright breast cleavage has replaced the butt as a sexual invitation (Jared Diamond). To invite and then be upset that it works is ratter silly and ignorant.
if we had a society which understands that sexual arousal and needs can’t be controlled with the mind because we can’t control our hormones then things would be a lot better. Or could a woman control the process of a pregnancy with her mind or stop her menopause? No, Because it is hormones.
So women have to act just the same as men to mold the interaction that they desire and you Laurence, should really get over your guilt complex. You are having a typical male control reaction that your daughter may become a sexual subject when she grows up. I have a daughter and when she was the right age I
told her how men are and that she would be unhappy if she thought that she could change them. She is happily married and never had any serious issues with male behavior.
I am part of the problem because I am a man and women are part of the problem because they are women. You are part of a much worse problem because your post supports the political and social pretense. Things are not improved by making male the guilty party. That is rather ignorant. Teach your daughter right and she will be as happy as mine regardless of how men behave around her.
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Max, when women cannot safely ride the subway, even when dressed in what you would term “appropriate” attire, without getting harassed, there is a problem. When men get angry and violent when asked to stop, there is a problem. I’ve seen enough myself and heard from enough different women that I know and respect to believe that this is a non-existent problem.
Man drugged and raped wife, CONVICTED of rape plus 5 other charges, no jail time.
Have you read the hashtag? Have you read the responses of men who say the women who were shot deserved it for not going out with the guy? Those are raw and real dialogs out there, not filtered by the media.
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Laurence, Randy and others: These are different things. I had a friend who was raped and she killed herself. Where did I say that I condone rape? Rape is much more common in ‘moral societies’ ignoring the natural biological aspects and ‘assuming’ that men should be able to control themselves. Prostitution is at its worst in countries where it is prohibited. And there just two kind of men: those that masturbate and those that lie about it. Why do they do both? And the church doesn’t even want that! Just ignoramuses on this planet.
Looking is not harassing. Physical action or force is another thing. As usually my response is immediately claimed to condone that as is the style in a pretense society. I was unfortunately involved in an incident decades ago (when all this was not yet a subject) where a guy actually groped a lady in our group and I was the only one to step in. I broke the man’s nose as I thought I had to stop him and he attacked me. I was both lucky to not be beaten up by his friends and that no one told on me because the police were actually looking for me. The girl also told me that I should not have stepped in because she can defend herself. And I think she would have … So in the end I was the one to act wrongly I guess.
Look, there are people that still claim that nothing happened in the Nazi death camps and there are people who believe the Americans never flew to the moon. There are people who rape and kill all over the world and think nothing of it. I am not condoning anything. I am oberving and learning each day. You made up your mind and do not want to be confused by facts. Why are we pulling these incidents out of the bulk and turn it into a ‘MALE PROBLEM’ in our Western society. We are much more cicilivzed than the rest of the world. Can we do better always. But it needs common sense and not pretense. That the justice systems can’t deal with domestic and public violence is also not a ‘male problem’.
So let’s be reasonable and as always see both sides. And if not I will leave you to it. But don’t try to interfere with me next time I look at a lady’s boobs. I am dangerous … 😉
PS: And I have gotten friendly looks back once in a while even so I would never stare openly. But I guess my male ego just imagines all that and that makes me part of ‘the problem’ in your mind. But really? Your approach is the actual problem in our pretense society. And if you have really NEVER looked then they neutered you or you are a homosexual.
PPS: I will no longer respond to this thread so save your efforts!
Lots of things are happening between looking and rape out there.
Completely agree with Max here. Lets not pander to people just because its socially fashionable. Too much pretense is not good for anyone..
Max missed the point and show’s he is the problem. Had to stare at the breasts through the blouse because he cannot control himself. Male attitude of ‘oh you’re sort of showing so you MUST want me to look and ogle’ is an excuse and attitude we use to cover our behavior. Shame we still cannot get by that and that attitude bleeds into many more actions we men take.
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Randy, if you can control your sexual desire and you are happy with it good for you. But that does not make you any better persona than someone who can’t. There are a lot of people out there who are pretending to be the best of people and behind closed doors you will find every possible vice. You simply don’t understand that humans aren’t any special. They just have a slightly more complex processor for abstract concepts. The rest is still the reptile emotional brain. And as usual the one who is reasonable about this is claimed to be condoning bad things. I do not condone it, and I wonder if you would be the one to stand up and interfere when other people are harrassed, sexually or otherwise, because there really is no difference. I have and nearly got beaten up. Have you?
To blame a man for his sexual drive is exactly the same as calling a woman who has the period unclean. I will not interfere if a man stares at a woman I do not know. But I will interfere if people transgress boundaries of any kind. Looking is one thing and phyisical action or force quite another. I condone neither but I understand why it happens and it is not just the males fault. Period.
Max, it isn’t the desire, it is the actions that are taken by some men. My example tweet is a MILD example and I apparently should have picked a more severe one instead of focusing on one that is where I live and commute. Go spend 30 minutes reading the hashtag. I have a link in the post.
Thank you, Laurence, for speaking up about this. To understand the scope of the problem, all that’s required is to read comments on articles about this issue — and I’m sorry to see that your blog is no exception.
Thank you. I am glad that my blog is no exception.
In these matters it makes no sense to try and find a reasonable way to solve these social issues. You made up your mind and do not want to be confused by facts. So be it. Maybe you read a few books on the subject. SIgning off.
Wow, what an interesting idea, to go read some books to teach me about the subject of growing up and living as a woman. Thanks, Max, for the mansplain.
Laurence, you can add to the list of problems the number of women who will not enter or support this issue publicly or in social media for fear of how that will impact their career. Thanks for speaking up on this issue. Society sets its moral values so it might not take all men but it will take a majority of men across all generations.
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