Good man, Bad man
It’s not really about Brett Kavanaugh.
It’s not really about Clarence Thomas.
It’s not even really about president Trump.
It’s about all men and the decisions we make at a young age about how we will treat women during our short stay on this earth.
Because that’s when it happens, during those formative years when we decide whether our influences will make us respectful or not. That’s really what it’s about: simple respect, the cardinal rule of treating others as you want to be treated.
Did you grow up with a strong female role model or an environment where all people were respectful and respected? If so you learned the rule above and probably live in a respectful way today. Unfortunately many people did not, developing sexist or misogynistic or outright abusive habits. Experience is learning so it’s not surprising that abusers abuse, haters hate and people who hurt want to hurt others.
Of course it’s not that simple and of course we can all rise above our experiences but is it really that hard to be a caring person? Is it really difficult to understand that “grabbing women by the pussy” is so many levels of wrong? Have we really progressed to the point where this is tolerated? Obviously the answer is yes.
But maybe this is the turning point. Maybe this is the bottom where we finally say enough and start paying attention to the gender equality elephant in the room. Maybe debating issues like this will heighten awareness, empower women, make men look at their decisions through a new lens. But maybe not.
My simple advice: Teach. Teach the next generation about gender inequality, about the many countries where women are still second-class citizens. Teach whenever you hear words like Bitch and Slut and Pussy and Ho; explain how they demean women and why they have no place in music or evolved society. Stand up to the bullies; tell them that even though 27% of America still believes in the president that leaves 73% that don’t which is a pretty huge majority. Oh, and don’t give up, the light is always darkest at the end of the storm.
I grew up with a lot of bros. High school bros, fraternity bros, adult bros. We are men: mature, childish, confident, insecure, hopeful, pessimistic, optimistic, we inhabit a spectrum of bro-ness but we all remember that we came from women. Many of us have also been lucky enough to have daughters, which is the greatest way to appreciate women. Be the man you want your daughter to marry.
Plus, since women have all the power because they perpetuate the species, one day they might get fed up with us and say “enough of this, I don’t need the demeaning worldview, I’m going to the sperm bank and cutting men out of the equation and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.” I hope that day doesn’t come but I won’t be surprised if it does.
Plus, if one of the bros ever bragged about being a “Renate Alumnus” he would be out of the bro club (similar to the Man Club: http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2017/06/19/hail-man-code/). Most of us would never be accused of aggression toward women and certainly would never react to accusations with anger and vitriol and tantrums. Great men are usually humble men who don’t need to control others, letting their actions display their greatness.
But just because I don’t hang with bad men doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Capitalism breeds competition and competition rewards power. Nothing will change until men stop getting ahead by being bad men. Sure, the tide is turning but the ship is very large and it takes time to move in a different direction.
Let this be part of our evolution; let this be a time when we collectively say we can do better. Let this be a time when not only Jeff Flake changes his opinion because of a passionate plea in an elevator but also the entire country looks in the mirror and realizes what is below the surface.
I was talking with some friends the other day and we all were surprised at the number of women we know who have had personal sexual assault experiences. They now have a platform for discussion and hopefully healing. Talk with people, listen and tell them your stories, inspire empathy and provide comfort.
Don’t let bad men win.