I am a man.
And as a man, I should be able to make certain statements about being a man, and have an opinion of what it means to be a man, that I can call my own.
The spotlight has been cast on how men behave around women in all spheres of life, and not a moment too soon. The #MeToo campaign last year, sparked a worldwide movement of women coming out against sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. Since then, there has been a steady groundswell of attention. Levelling the playing field as far as equal pay and opportunity is concerned, is gaining momentum with many large organisations coming under fire for their patriarchal ‘old-boys-club’ style of business.
I am a man, and I am ashamed.
I am ashamed for every time I believe I am somehow superior to a woman. I know I have done so many times in the past, and I also know that societal conditioning runs deep in our psyche. It will be a constant battle to overcome the urge to be ‘one-step-up’ on women. For me, the conscious effort of being aware and alert to not slip into that awful habit, makes it less likely.
Far more sinister, but not less urgent, is the sexual harassment aspect, and how men have been ‘getting away with it’ for far too long. There are cultural traditions and norms, and those of society in general, that need change. We can’t hide behind anything that allows women to be victimised or taken advantage of by men.
I am a man. A son, a brother, a father, a father-in-law, a grandfather, an uncle, a male friend.
Any man who thinks a woman can be manipulated or coerced into doing something she doesn’t want to do, is not a man. It is alarming to me in 2018 there are still men who believe women exist for their pleasure. Even more alarming is how many young male adults seem to have lost respect for the opposite sex. A pang of shame sits in my stomach for being a man.
There is enough historic proof of men’s prejudiced past over women. Today there is scientific proof of women’s superiority over men in many areas, and new research suggests that women actually become smarter when treated equally. Obviously, the true benefit of gender equality is in the collaborative effect that both sexes bring to the table, an egalitarian dynamic.
No one should feel they are superior to another, regardless of their gender. It’s time we step up and effect change if we want to see our mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces and women everywhere treated respectfully by other men.
I am a man.
And although at times I am ashamed for being a man, and other times I forget that I’m actually inferior, my mantra as a man is:
I stand against violence, harassment, prejudice and sexism towards women.