Anyone who has been on Twitter today will see the #yesallwomen hashtag. This has certainly caused a great deal of controversy, with opinions sharply divided on whether it is actually a good thing or not.
I have always campaigned for women’s rights, and as a 50 something ( no, I’m not telling you how old I am LOL) I have seen things when they were really bad. When I was in my 20’s I saw women being sexually harassed in work, and intelligent women getting passed up for promotions because of their sex. I even heard male colleagues talk about not employing females because they would ‘just end up pregnant and off work’. The worrying thing was that it was normal and accepted.
Thankfully things have moved on since then. Yes, there is still a way to go, but we aren’t back in the dark ages.
Still, if you read the #yesallwomen you would think that all men are a potential abuser and rapist. Well, news flash to all women out there. The majority of guys are decent people, and aren’t going to rape you at the bus stop.
That doesn’t that there are not dodgy guys out there. Some guys are scum and should be dealt with accordingly. But I struggle to see this as a society issue. If a guy is a scumbag, then he has likely been brought up badly by his parents, or has something missing somewhere up top. This ‘oh, it’s because we live in a patriarchal society’ stuff strikes me as bullshit.
We are all responsible for our own actions, and to be fair, blaming men in general is going to dilute a lot of serious arguments.
Take wage discrepancies and a lack of opportunities at senior boardroom level. Most reasonable guys are willing to accept that, and some will be willing to help us in that quest for true equality. If today’s feminism turns into a blanket attack on men as vicious, unfeeling creatures, it is going to cause more problems for women in the long run.
In Sweden, there a groups that want men to have a 9PM curfew because if they are out and about, they could be attacking women. I’m not making that up. Talk about trying to disenfranchise a large section of society.
This doesn’t of course mean that the #yesallwomen hashtag is bad idea. It just seem to be getting hijacked by women who just want to tear men apart.
For forty years I have campaigned against the generalization of women. Not everyone is the same. How can we, as people who call for that kind of respect, start banding around terms like ‘guys don’t think no mean’s no’ and ‘because rape and domestic violence are still the norm in 2014’?
The fight for real equality goes on. But saying things that are going to wind up the vast majority of decent guys isn’t going to improve the conditions of women everywhere who need our help.
It will just put 50% of the populations backs against the wall.
How will we make any progress like that?