Opinion | Letter to men: Participate in gender equality
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 21:09
To all men out there.
Do you realize that in your fallacious attempt to “liberate” women from our makeup and high heels by proclaiming “I love natural/real girls” that you are, in fact, enforcing the same patriarchal ideals you seek to destroy by assuming we do these things for you in the first place?
In other words, we don’t always necessarily do these things for you. So please stop trying to help us feel more comfortable or confident by “allowing” us to go without makeup. Only we can build confidence in ourselves as individuals.
It’s like that uncredited image that has been flying through Facebook and Tumblr:
“You should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not wearing certain things or not going to certain places or not acting a certain way. That line of thinking presumes that you are i capable of control.
That you are so uncivilized that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone. That you require certain dress code be maintained, that certain behaviors be employed so that maybe today, just maybe, you won’t rape someone.
It presumes that your natural state is rapist.”
What I mean to say is not that the opinions of men should be completely ignored by girls, or that men are the true victims in cases of rape against women. In fact, this is the complete opposite as men can be victims of rape too.
But what I mean to say with these two statements is that men pay an equally important role in the evolution of gender equality.
While we are not looking to you for approval or justification of any sort, we do need support. Support in ways that speak to women as people, not as interest groups or the warm body you call on a Saturday night.
Men need to realize that the reasons why women do things are not always for them. Along with the stereotype that girls who wear short skirts and tight tops are “sluts” or “whores”, these same girls may not necessarily be wearing those to get a guy’s attention.
In the interest of full disclosure maybe they are. But maybe they wear them to show off their awesome physique that they work on in the gym.
Men also need to realize that the perception of rape and victim-blaming does not fall entirely on women. But that the actions of men have also been dragged into the discussion of rape in today’s society.
What a woman wears or does, whether stone cold sober or under the influence, should never under any circumstance affect a man’s actions towards her.
Men, it is up to you to be, not a “true gentleman”, but simply a decent human being and respect that woman and to not judge her, regardless of her choices and her actions and behavior.
You should be offended when society claims that you are not capable of basic self-control and that outside factors (e.g. a women’s dress, alcohol or anything else) persuaded you to disrespect another individual.
Yes it is true that men do not need to take nearly as many precautions as women do when trying to “prevent rape”. But men do not have the burden of trying to “prevent rape”, as if this act is entirely preventable and that society still places the blame completely upon women. If a man did as much as a woman does to prevent assault he would be diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in six women in the U.S. are victims of attempted or completed assault or rape. Only one in 33 men have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
Although there is a great difference in the numbers, rape among men still does occur. But do you think men are subjected to victim blame based on clothing or actions as much as women are?
Men need to step up to the plate and participate in the fight for equal rights, to allow women to live free of violence, victim blaming and sex shaming. We need to change the message we all send out from one of “don’t get raped” to “don’t rape.”
To all men out there.
We don’t need your justification for our looks, our actions, our behavior or our choices.
What we need is your support and your help in the matter of equality between the sexes, and erasing the social stigma of victim blame placed on women. We need you to speak up when you know or see something that is wrong in the case of victim blaming.
To all men out there.
You are just as important in this fight.