Question #156: How do women disrespect men? Ladies?
April 26, 2013
My previous post breathed some air into this ol’ blog.
It was an electric 24 hours after it went up, with moments of unexpected grinning.
There were lots of queries from fellow teachers of all kinds, wanting to know more about programs, like the one we did with our students, that discuss this growing emergency in our developing youths’ lives.
Well, me included.
I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I’m craving some civil, intelligent and passionate discussion – without insult – to find solutions.
Let’s please talk.
Whether young or old, single or married, stay-at-home mum or corporate high-flyer…you get the idea.
I said to the girls, before the school workshop began, that it was up to them as to the type of experience they wanted to have. If they chose to sit there quietly, they knew I could talk all day.
The fact of the matter was that I was dearly hoping they would contribute; to hear their perspectives. I’m a month shy of 43 and grew up in a different time.
The core ingredients of our nature as women – the similarities between the girls and me – are there, but their journey is now going on a deeply concerning tangent.
I also reassured the girls that it would be safe for them to share their thoughts – that there would be no judgement. Thankfully they engaged; participating with zeal in our workshops.
The most important part is that I learned from them as much as they, hopefully, learned from me.
I want to learn here too.
I’m offering the same. A safe place to converse and debate.
Yes, I will question and challenge; possibly take people out of comfort zones – but please know that I do not hate. I have never seen the point or benefit.
But that most certainly does not make me any less passionate and steadfast.
Shall we begin?
Throughout my shortish journey with this blog, I’ve noticed comments and conversed with a few women with many opposing beliefs about feminism and where we fit in the patriarchy.
There is a common thread, however, which eludes heavily toward the notion, that it’s pretty much all up to the men to create change.
I don’t believe this is entirely true.
It can’t be, if equality and respect for all is the ultimate goal.
You know I believe that men have a MASSIVE (and I mean massive) contribution to make toward shifting their sometimes toxic perspectives (and actions) toward women. Many of my posts discuss how men disrespect women. No contest.
But I also believe it’s equally important to recognise what contributions women make to this paradigm.
In my ever-enduring search for balance, I think we have to ask this question about ourselves; hence my request in the title, that it’s the women who need to answer this one.
When we ran the workshop for the girls at school, our visiting presenter, Collett Smart, said something right at the end of the day, which resonated with me.
It pertained to mutual respect.
In my last post I wrote about what Collett said:
There seems to be a huge portion of the responsibility laid on boys and men to respect women, but women and girls also need to respect men.
This lead me to my following understanding:
Both genders play a role in perpetuating a state of existence.
Both men and women. Boys and girls.
This is a crunch issue.
Even as I write this, I find it challenging to get my own head around how to explain this without confusion; because the question has to be asked:
How do women contribute to this current (porn) culture?
How do they disrespect men?
I have one example, a clip, which I showed the girls on our workshop day to demonstrate something entirely different – how it misrepresents our girls and teaches a false sense of empowerment.
It was not used to discuss respect.
I briefly discussed this clip about a year ago in the post, A (moving) picture paints a thousand words. It is a routine that appeared on the show Glee.
The worst part is that I only saw it because they were playing it – in its entirety – as an ad on TV at around 7pm – when most kids (who are absorbing everything around them like sponges) are up and watching.
In my eyes, this clip deals with what I’m grappling with, in terms of mutual respect.
1. What we discussed with my students, is that the song is one that is supposed to be empowering for women. “Who’ll run the world? Girls!”
But it is ALL null and void because the main girl is in suspender belts, teeny leather skirt and over the knee black boots. A porn image…in a school.
The lesson? That the only way women can feel empowered, is through sex.
No respect for women.
2. The girls dance into the classroom and we see the ‘oooh’ and ‘corrrr’ looks on the guys’ faces as the girls sexually dance and sizzle in front of them.
The lesson? All men turn into moronic, dribbling, wastes-of-space, when sex is on their mind.
No respect for men.
Unfortunately, statistically, the greater victims of the real-life, playing out of porn culture scenarios, are women – hence the very serious pressure on men to pull back on the reins.
But if a girl – knowing a boy’s nature – is purposefully sticking and jiggling her revealing cleavage in a boy’s face (for example) or is dancing with moves including grinding and bending over in front of him (another example) etc. – is she respecting him?
What do you think?