The only way that we will have an equal society for women is if men, who also want that, inspire other men to follow and to change their behaviours and habits too. It is up to men not women on their own.
Those like me who see everyone as equal human beings and worthy of the same rights as all humans regardless of gender, race, age, the colour of their skin, wealth etc, need to speak up and help inspire other men to see women as equal.
Change happens through influences from society and our peers not via legislation. When men see other men being sexist, they need to speak up, when we hear others being inappropriate in how they speak towards women we need to speak up, when we read something that is degrading towards women we need to write our counter views and voice a different argument.
It is peers that bring change in society, each and every man forms male humans and he is responsible for their choices and behaviours, the same as each and every woman forms female humans and she is responsible for their choices and behaviours too. We are all society. Therefore, it is not the role of women alone to set the example, to speak up about equality, to inspire and lead, it, more importantly, is men’s role completely.
Often I hear that is a challenge for men to find their role in society since their complete dominance has been challenged. Well, a truly meaningful role for any man could be, if they choose, to inspire other men to believe in equality for women.
We all have women in our lives who matter to us as men, do we not want them to have the same opportunities, the same rights, receive the same treatment as men have? Our mother, our wife, our partner, our daughters, they are all being subjected to bad behaviour, they are subject to being treated differently by society. Nothing will change unless men are brave enough to do what is right. It is not the role of the men who being sexist to change first, it is the role of men who believe in equality to change and to speak out on behalf of the human race and on behalf of women. I do not want to see my daughter treated unjustly, be paid less, be seen by certain religions as second class, to be leered at, to be seen as a sex object, to be pressured into having to be beautiful for men, to being seen as the child carer, to be seen as the domestic person, to be used by some men.
I watched today, which was the final piece of inspiration to write this, an interview of Dustin Hoffman talking about when he played the lead in Tootsie. It’s definitely worth 3-4 minutes of your time to watch this.
So he said to the studio that he would only do the role if they made him convincing as a woman, so that he would not look like a man in drag or if he walked down the street people would not look and think ‘who’s that weirdo’. So the makeup was done and he looked like a woman and then he asked now can you make me look beautiful to which they replied ‘well that’s it, we can’t do any better, it’s as good as it gets’. He then realised that due to how society conditions us about women and looking beautiful that he had missed so many opportunities to talk and know amazing women in his life simply because he dismissed many women because they were not ‘beautiful’.
This is why men need to be the leaders on change, as one big example, we need as a gender to stop dismissing women based on their appearance.
We need to inspire men to stop leering, staring and making inappropriate sexual innuendo remarks to women that make them feel uncomfortable and is very upsetting. Us who want change need to speak up when we see other men behaving that way. I know first hand how upsetting this is as my daughter has been brave enough to share her experiences about this and how it makes her feel. How she feels, for example, when men just simply stand there and stare at her breasts.
In social environments, we as men need to speak out about behaviour that is not appropriate. If we saw a person kicking a dog, most would say something, yet we could see another man slap a woman’s bottom and many would not say anything.
I was sadly guilty of not speaking up only recently at a social gathering, where I was part of large group at summer ball for residents of a development of houses and a man tapped a woman, who he barely knew, on the bottom and no one said anything, even her partner laughed and he said ‘I’m the only person who gets to do that’ and he did not challenge the person’s behaviour, nor did I or any others of the mainly male group who were sat there and witnessed it. I felt very uncomfortable and did what many of us do, stayed silent as I did not want to cause an upset or offence. It takes bravery to speak out and I often have, however, I have now challenged myself to not ‘stay on the bus’ but to speak up whenever I can, as I want to see that kind of behaviour removed from our society. I do not want women to have to continue to suffer that form of humiliation.
Here is another great example, coming from the ‘Tech scene’ in London, a place where you would think behaviour would be different towards women in the 21st Century. Lydia asks for some advice on starting out and mentoring etc, the response is unbelievable and this is what we as men need to speak out about.
I could cite many more examples, but I’m guessing you have got the point, we as men know what I am talking about as we have all witnessed it, overheard it, perhaps even joined in or have been guilty of behaving badly towards women. It is not about being judgmental, blaming, shaming, reprimanding as these tactics rarely work, like legislation, we should not need punishment to stop us behaving wrongly, we need to be inspired to change as that will last, enforcement creates resentment, resistance and wears off. I do not need a law that tells me to treat people equally, I want to do that as it is what I believe is right.
Thankfully there are more than enough men in the world who do want equality and do want to see a different world for women, but how badly do we want it? What are we prepared to do to see that happen? What are we going to do to inspire other men to change? When are we going to speak out and be brave? When are we going to ‘get off the bus’?
All this is easy to write and is a good deal harder to be brave enough to do. So I am challenging myself to speak up more, to do more and to be braver at standing up for women and for the human race. Change is painful, it needs courage, it needs us to be prepared to be different, to be a rebel, which is a challenge in a world where we have all been brainwashed to comply and not ‘rock the boat’.
It is not up to women to force men to change, that will never succeed, it is up to men to inspire other men to change.
Women need men to ‘rock the boat’