Last night someone posted the above image, and it troubled me. I cant deny its accurate, I wish it wasn't and I'm sure I have my part to play in that. I wanted to say something in response to defend myself, I felt attacked by it.. Which i guess was the point. I thought about what to say (with the power of hindsight the appropriate thing would have been nothing) I said sorry, it's far to accurate and i want to be better, or words to that effect. Then this morning an old tweet by Julian Assange started doing the rounds on twitter. It said "Women, I will let you in on a male secret. Men know that constantly self-proclaiming male 'feminists' are often predatory sleaze bags. They are intensely disliked by other men because of their manipulative qualities and not, in general, because they are viewed to be sex traitors" now first of all.. Fuck Julian Assange, and fuck that take..... but I suspect there is an element of truth to it, look no further that Louis CK who made a career out of comedy written from the allie perspective, whilst at the same time behaving like a creep to women.
Examining myself I don't think I could hand on heart say that my outwardly feminist outlook is in no way about me trying to project the way i want to be seen at people. I struggle with social anxiety I want to be liked, all to often I try and cast myself as the good guy to facilitate that, and I'm sure any woman has a story or 2 about guys who consider themselves a "good guy". It has to be about more than just that, because if you are in it for the appearance then the above image is exactly what we are doing.
So why is this important, what drives me to think this way... I'd love to say its nobility that I am just driven to do the right thing but the truth is that its all about my little niece. I love her dearly and the thought that she might grow up into a sexist world that I haven't done my part to change bothers me greatly. So how do we render the above image obsolete? We need to throw out the focus on the perception of us as the good guys. If you are a man and you want to help with this, don't talk to women about it (well do... but respectfully) talk to other men... Hell talk to me! I have no clue what I'm doing here!
Lets start having conversations that make us feel uncomfortable, lets get comfortable in the uncomfortable places. I am going to start making a list of the things that I see or hear that make me want to defend myself and say "not all men" and then i'm going to go out of my way to start talking to other men about these specific things, because ok these things might not be about me, but that they are being raised as a problem means I have just as much responsibility to change it as anyone else.
My dad used to say "you shouldn't be praised for doing the things you should be doing anyway" which seems apt here. Trying to make things right for everyone should be the thing everyone does. We shouldn't expect a medal because we are doing the right thing. We should be trying to make the world better for everyone, because people deserve to not be marginalized by their race, gender, sexuality, religion etc etc.
So having reflected on it, the image that inspired this blog post is all to accurate, and I am part of the problem. This is the point that I draw a line in the sand and say not anymore . I will be better..... but i'm also an idiot so i'll probably get plenty wrong along the way. If you are a guy that has read this, tweet or message me about it. Lets start a conversation with each other about what we can do to be better.