Are women their own worse enemies?
More and more I am being told about the backlash of #metoo and the air of accusation we presently find ourselves.
It’s great to have people step up and say, “hey, this happened to me and it’s not ok.” This is ONLY helpful if it is followed up with a plan to make things better, not if it’s only about getting even.
I have had conversation with people who say they are not willing to hire women because they are concerned there will be complications. No one wants to be under a microscope. No one wants to watch every single word they say, and that isn’t even possible.
I am definitely feeling an angry energy creeping up from men, justifiably. They are being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
I had someone say to me, “I know (famous person), and they were accused of being inappropriate to a woman. I just can’t believe that I didn’t know him as well as I thought.” My response was “I can promise you that you don’t know anyone as well as you think. Do you know the person better who accused him?” She said no. I was blown away. She was taking the word of a complete stranger over that of her friend. I found that hard to believe, because people do lie. Yes, people tell the truth too, but the truth is a very tricky thing to quantify.
We like to believe the more sensational story. We also tend to embellish. We embellish because we say something and then we add to it because we are angry or had a couple of drinks. While we know we have exaggerated we can’t really go back on what we said and say, “Oops, I kinda blew things out of proportion” so we stick with the new story. If we say something often enough we begin to believe it’s true. Doesn’t change that something initially happened, but it may be different than the story we are sticking with today. It’s a lot like I caught a fish that was “this big” and each time we tell it our hands get a bit further apart, until we have a three foot fish instead of the (more accurate) 6 inch fish.
When we use our gender to advance or to control someone else’s behaviour we are setting a whole bunch of things into action that may backfire in ways we will never comprehend. It is important to know that men are going to have a reaction to these accusations, even if they are not guilty.
I read an article stating that men don’t want to mentor women, because they don’t want to risk being accused of doing anything inappropriate and not being able to prove otherwise. I talked to someone who works in a company who no longer wants to hire women because they are becoming problematic. They are dealing with woman who are as vulgar as the men and engage in jokes that are potentially in poor taste. In one situation a man was taking a pee (don’t ask for all the details) a woman walked over, looked at his penis, made some comment on it’s size and was promptly told to fuck off. She then reported him for exposing himself to her inappropriately. Despite there being witnesses a huge investigation was launched and everyone is now on eggshells. Damn, I don’t even want to be around women who act in that way. I have had women tell me they do things like that, and think it’s funny. When are we going to start, actually, thinking things through?
Are we getting to a point where men are going to have to be as cautious around women as women have had to be around men? Is that what we are trying to achieve? If so, I want no part of it. I want everyone to feel like they are safe and their efforts are appreciated. But how do we get there?
Perhaps we have to look a little longer at what our part is before pointing a finger… and that goes for men too. Perhaps we think about how we want the world to work and then behave as if it’s already that way.