Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When the shoe is on the other foot

Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings. (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

I enjoy my dreams where I was a male; not many women know how amazing it is to be a man. When you are stronger and taller, with a deeper, louder voice, you see the world very much differently. You treat and judge people, particularly of the opposite sex differently. Possession of the Y chromosome comes along with a different perspective not just shaped by culture and upbringing, but also from atavistic mannerisms cultivated over milennia that are expressed with the testosterone gene.

As a feminist, I get very angry when men pooh pooh away issues that women have to deal with on a daily basis. Being considered an object, for instance. Whether you wear a bikini or a burqa, society feels that it has a right to comment and dissect and praise and denigrate your clothing choices. Why don't men who wear tatty jeans and food-stained t-shirts get the same disdain? What about the men who wear Speedos in public when it is clear that they do NOT have the physique for it?

When a woman is physically assaulted, the questions that follows are:

1) What was she wearing?
2) Where did this happen?
3) What was she doing when it happened?
4) Was she drunk?

Because it boils down to blaming the victim mentality: that the victim did something, ANYTHING, that provoked the attack. The thing is, no victim asked to be assaulted. It doesn't matter the clothes, the place, whatever. Good men do not assault women. Good men do not assault anyone. But the figures that are reported every so often on domestic violence, criminal assaults and so on indicates that there are very many bad men out there.

I think men take a lot of issues that women are concerned about for granted because physically they get to be at the top of the food chain. Perhaps these videos could help make men understand what it's like when the shoe is on the other foot.

And this.

So please. Have some empathy for the travails that plague half of humankind. You may be one man but you have a role to play. Be an example. Teach your sons that there are better ways to get a girl's attention than swiping at her bum or catcalling. Teach your sons that no one has a right to touch another individual without consent. Call out when another man behaves badly towards the women in his life.

It has to start somewhere. Why not with you?


Goh LinLin said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Chauvinistic tendencies are inevitable in our society. Nipping the bud has got to start from within the perimeters of our home.

Y Honeybunch said...

I totally agree with you. It saddens me that people put too much emphasis on what women should wear, where women should be, what women should do.
Blaming a rape victim for not wearing the so-called 'modest' clothes is like blaming parents of kidnapped children for not 'protecting' their children.

Ask the sexist people this question "if a man is sodomized, whose fault? The sodomized man for not covering up or the sodomizer for sodomizing?"

zulaikha mohammad said...

do look up for saiful nang's post on fb which was hugely sexist and not to mention affirming rape culture. i was so annoyed that so many ppl still liked it!

Snuze said...

Yes, Ms. Goh, you are very right. I think it's important that we teach our boys to be respectful to other human beings and to use their strength for good and not be oppressive.

Honeybunch, you raised a very salient point there. I was reading about assault in the US military and how many MEN are stepping forward with their own stories of past rapes and assaults. I mean, come on! A strong man who is trained to kill can also get raped, and get traumatic flashbacks from the assault.

It is time to put the blame right where it should be: with the rapist.

Zu, thanks for the rec but I am avoiding stuff that makes me go ballistic, hehehe. I hope you forgive me for not looking it up.

Seorang Blogger said...

beautifully done beb

should have circulate this among mommas and teachers!

Snuze said...

Hehehe ... I will post this at FB and see what's what.