No, I'm not jumping on a band wagon.
Or... maybe I am. Because this particular band wagon is definitely going my way.
"Women's issues" are a hot button with me. They show up in my writing. They show up in my nightmares. I've heard too many stories from women all over the world.
After I wrote yesterday's post, I remembered more examples. Worse. One involved quitting a job because I didn't want to work for a misogynistic pig, and the eventual relief when I knew he was in jail, because it meant that someone had found a way to stand up to him. He'd already killed two women before I began to work with him, and I quit a job I loved rather than take a chance at being his third victim.
Some men's -- and some women's -- reactions to the stream have left me stunned. They just don't get the purpose of the discussion.
Some say these women are victims.
Some trolls are attacking the women who are brave enough to speak out.
So -- here's what I think men should be learning from #YesAllWomen.
1) Gender discrimination and abuse are a part of our society. Women live with it every day. Yes, we know not all men are bad, but far too many haven't seen the reality we live with, and of those who have, many have chalked it up as "fun" and "harmless." This is a "thing" and it is real. It is sad. Maybe understanding this will help you understand other areas of discrimination in the world, because this is simply one of many.
2) Women aren't victims. They're smart, situationally aware and many of them are armed all-the-time. If you attack her, she will fight back in some way. Many of them will shoot you.
3) When an innocent man approaches a woman, he should think about how his approach may seem to her, given what she's been through in her life. If a woman over-reacts, she isn't being a b*. She's reacting from the harm done to her in the past. Don't forget #2. Approach with caution.
4) The next time you see someone harassing a woman, consider stepping in, because most of these idiots will back down if another man steps up. Why? Because the men who attack women are after easy prey. Most back down when a real man stands up. Yes, you may get called names, but you could save a woman from harm. You have a chance to educate the stupid among your gender. While I'm sure all of their mothers tried to teach them better, a lot of men have learned how to treat women from their fathers or some sitcom. Be a substitute father. Teach them how to be a real man -- one who respects women. And then feel free to take it a step further -- teach them how to respect other human beings and themselves.
5) Women have been quiet, but they've also been taking names and keeping notes. Think about how many past abuse stories have been prosecuted years later. It may be a game to a man, but it is serious to a woman. All employers should check potential employees' on-line activities. You can learn a lot about someone by what they say on social media. I'm hoping some of these trolls have just cost themselves a job.
6) If you think all women are b*s -- that means men are dogs. Even dogs can learn what "no" means.
7) To the 90% of good men on the planet -- yes, we love you. Forgive us if we are wary around you until we're sure which type you are. Because the other 10% aren't just dangerous, they're deadly.
Men who read this stream and "get" it may have just taken a giant leap forward in understanding women.
Change can happen. When I see this stream, I see pain -- and I see hope.