where have all the couragous men gone

why is gender such an issueI have been a bit distracted the past few days. Gender inequality has been thrust in my face, whereas normally I guess it bubbles quietly behind my pretty little back. I guess I am naive. I grew up thinking that women and men are equal and should be treated as such. Including in the level of respect shown to them in the workplace. I never thought I was anything but equally capable, deserving and entitled to success or happiness, positions or promotions, politeness or manners, or whatever else any man was entitled to.  But this week, for the first time, my thinking has been shaken.

First this . . . apparently, some men believe it’s OK to think, make and share crude jokes about women’s body parts including the woman who, currently, holds the highest office of our land. It seems this was an inside joke between a father and son not intended to be seen by anyone else . . . oh, phew, that’s alright then.

Then this . . . some men believe that it is funny to say that women should shut up in public. But it was just a joke . . . oh, phewey, that’s totally fine then.

And then this . . . some men believe it’s fair and appropriate to ask the prime minster about their partner’s sexuality. I will go out on a limb and suggest that, never, in the history of Australia has the sexuality of a male prime ministers’ wife or significant other been questioned, out of the blue, during a prime time radio interview when the future of our childrens education is supposed to have been discussed.

I have been melancholy because I felt like something had been taken away from me, I wasn’t sure where I fitted in anymore. Some level of ambition and opportunity had been snatched from my naive little hands. And I felt like there was no longer anything I could do about it.

The targeted tirades, the golf course and bar stool rumblings, the off the record comments from public figures, the disrespectful jokes which are said and then half-heartedly revoked. There are just too many off these “oops, another extremely inappropriate, offensive and crude joke/comment about women which I’ll condemn and say that it’s not linked to me”. They are cumulative and a sad state of affairs.

I was worried about the message it sends that a female prime minister need not receive the same respect afforded to an equivalent male. That, if male, a public figure is respected and, if female, they are tolerated.

And then this took my breath away.

A profoundly articulate, strong and clear message from a man saying it’s not alright. No half-hearted apologies for repugnant behaviour and treatment of women, or gender equality. A simple message – value women, as you should do, or “get out”. Zero tolerance. Any man or woman is entitled to reach their full potential.

I’m not likening all these events to each other. I realise they are apples and oranges. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not picking political persuasions. I’m also not picking genders. I’m picking equality and respect.

I don’t know what’s gone wrong, if anything, for people to think these sorts of things, let alone feel brazen enough to let them trickle into the public domain. Maybe I’ve just been fortunate not to come across it before. But I think one part to a solution for the future lies in our kids. Teaching them and showing them how to defend the opportunity and respect of everyone, male or female. I hope I can do that adequately for Buddy.

I also believe we need more male public figures to stand up to other men, rather than letting it go with an ‘I don’t want to get involved’ shrug, and say ‘hey that’s not cool’, ‘putting politics, music, sports, {whatever} aside, that’s not a cool thing to say dude’, or ‘hey that’s not funny dude’. I can hear some men now saying ‘but women nowadays don’t even want us to open the door’. Well, I’m afraid that’s a bit fat cop-out. This isn’t about chivalry. This is about values and courage.

In an environment where some men, often in positions of power and public voice, deem it appropriate to say anything they like about or to a woman, I think the time has come to involve men in the solution. Women being stoic, calm, unaffected or graceful in the face of it and successful despite it has only taken us so far. Unfortunately, I think to address this, men need to appeal to men. It’s basic marketing I guess, present the message in the package the consumer wants and you’ve got a better chance of holding their attention.

So I call on fella’s to help us out, stand up. To quote the Chief of the Army “show moral courage”. Coz I don’t know about any other women but I’m getting tired by having to hear and either address or shrug these things off over and over again.

And to any blokes thinking ‘why should I” – I would direct you to this image and ask that you replace Julia Gillard’s name with your sisters, mothers, daughters, wifes, girlfriends, and then see if you change your mind.

On a lighter note . . . here’s a puppy falling asleep.

and another one dreaming . . .

Am I way off base here?
Do you think it comes down to moral courage?
How do the men in your life show moral courage?

2 responses to “where have all the couragous men gone

  1. Thanks Christina! Good to know I’m not alone in my thinking. Also glad to see you back in blog land – sorry you’ve been crook, a common occurrance with little ones it seems.

  2. I totally hear you on this! And I happen to agree that we need the fellas to take a stand to help turn this around, too. It’s amazing how insulated we can be to some of these issues. Nothing grabs your attention more than raising a great son either. Let’s keep pouring ourselves into our kids and encourage others to do the same. They’re realling going to need some direction coming up in this.

    Been meaning to say “good on ya” for self-teaching the crochet stitches! So Excited for YOU!

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