Today I have to depart from my general plan to post weekly. For various reasons, I feel compelled to include an extra short one but make no apology for that. At the end of a week which included International Women’s Day, I think Mother’s Day is as good a day as any to do this.
In the last few days the murder of a young woman at the hands of a predatory male has shocked me, but not surprised me. We are living in a world in which incels, players and other entitled males are exercising unequal power damaging society in a way similar to the behaviour associated with white superiority. Both must be corrected but today the treatment of females must be the focus.
It is a matter of shame that women are having to hold vigils in memory of Sarah Everard (and others previously affected), and a scandal that they are being told they have to take additional steps to keep themselves safe, precautions which men do not have to take. Men are to blame for this.
Men have an obligation to address their own behaviour so that women do not walk in fear. Women I know, including my young sister, are afraid to walk alone through countryside or woodland, even in the daytime, and city parkland at night.
I, and all other men, have to accept that apart from possessing greater physical strength, they have been nurtured by a society which convinces men they are entitled to more – whether that be higher salaries or freedom of movement. There is also the trite ‘boys will be boys’ label which starts in childhood and tends to carry on into adulthood. In addition to those features, there is constant male peer pressure fuelling the continuance of toxic masculinity.
In the early hours of this morning – all of these things on my mind – I scribbled this first draft of a short poem:-
That is all I am a man Not that man Of whom I am So ashamed I truly am - That is all Not about love Nor about lust Not about any Sensuousness Purely power - That is all I am a man Not that man Of whom I am So ashamed I truly am - That is all
Very well put bro!
Thank you Mary
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Well written, Peter, and I love the poem
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Thank you for your comment Carol. Greatly appreciated!
Agree with your thoughts here, though I would like to think it’s only a small percentage of men who behave in this manner. Still, it’s not acceptable that nothing has been done about it. I’m not sure how you solve this issue. We can do more though, there’s no about that. It’s not enough to simply say women need to stay indoors at night or when it dark. Its also not enough just to hold vigils, action is needed. What action though? Lets not forget that young men and children have also been attacked, abducted and murdered, so although the Sarah Everard case has, rightly, highlighted the case for women, is it the way we are policing of our society in general that needs to change.
I hear what you say Tom and am sure that the way you express your concerns is well-intended. However, this approach would be interpreted in a way similar to the ‘All Lives Matter’ response to BLM. It isn’t just about the way society is policed. It’s about the reasons women are more likely than men to be assaulted by men when walking alone. Ultimately that is attributable to the way men are. It’s about what girls are told by society as they grow up and, by contrast, what makes a significant number of boys and men think they are superior and entitled to take, if necessary overpower, what they want. As men, we all need to look at ourselves.