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.
— 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.