The recent action by the women at the Golden Globes and the resurgence of #MeToo reminded me of what I wrote back in October last year when this topic started gaining ground, people started coming out and raising awareness about what a shit show it is to be a women in today’s world. I did have my head in the sand and was complicit in all the small jokes, the little comments, the conversations I brushed over and all of the above that I ignored and let slide.
It started with this post…
“Going through my feed. Shocked at the amount of #MeToo posts. It makes me sad and very angry. As a male I’ve just had my head in the sand about the extent to which sexual assault and harassment happens to women. This is eye opening and I feel really helpless. Short of castrating any fucker who would blatantly attempt this kind of thing in my presence… What can I do to help? I want to do something.”
After which I had spoken to a good number of women who made me realise that apart from being ignorant, I was complicit. I didn’t see it, because it’s everywhere. We’re steeped in the culture and so we don’t notice it. We see it as normal when it’s anything but.
The follow-up post was this one, and I need to live up to it. It’s a commitment I still stand by.
“Following on from yesterday’s post on #MeToo. The loop needs to be closed with a commitment and an action list which I hope you will hold me accountable for, in person and online. So here goes, #HowIWillChange.
1. Recognise that I can be the bad guy without being the perpetrator, letting things slide when there is harassment is as bad as the act itself.
2. I will listen more closely to the women around me, especially those close to me, seek to understand first and then, if necessary, act.
3. Never enable any misogynistic behaviour, no matter how passive, and to not accept any excuses or diversion tactics of abusers. In private and in public.
4. Acknowledging my own capacity for this harmful behaviours and taking responsibility for it as well as my own “unlearning” of these behaviours.
5. Proactively learning more about women’s issues instead of expecting them to explain it to me in order to understand how they are impacted.
6. Call out mansplaining, and expect to be called out for mansplaining. Seriously, it must be fucking irritating and so demeaning.
7. Same with hepeating, acknowledge women more for any contribution no matter how small, and let any hepeaters know that they can’t get away with stealing ideas and expecting to be credited.
8. To not stand by quiet when women are forced to spend tons of energy to fight for or protect their own dignity or rights.
9. Acknowledge Male Privilege. The socialisation of ALL MEN, including myself, into vicisounsness andentitlement whether we act on it or not.
10. I will never blame a victim or stand by while it happens.
11. To actively switch all discussion about women from being victims where events “happen” to them and actively show the responsibility of the perpetrators.
10. Teach my daughter that she does not need to put up with any of the shit that goes on to demean and put her down. To recognise her worth and to recognise all of the above bullshit that goes on for what it is.
And finally… do all of the above without expecting praise or congratulations.
Shoutout to all the women who commented on the previous post to help me understand this and make this commitment… and, most importantly, to the women in my family who are so awesome, I have no words. I love you all.”