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Why Don’t All Men Speak Up For Women?
Arwa Madhawai, columnist to The Guardian said on Sat 27 Jan 2018 10.00 EST that “male-only President’s Club Charity Dinner in London…[was] held [in] a swanky hotel…by…[male] business elite, [where it was] meant to raise money for good causes… [where] 150 scantily clad hostesses…paraded in front of…men and [were]…subject to groping and sexual harassment… A security guard…outside [for example]…women’s toliets…[ensured they]…were [not] too long.”
Madhawai commented that “business is still…a boy’s-only club. But…also [that journalism had the] power to change things.”
I am interested in the differentiation of her determination that “business” was a boy’s only club. She did not broaden her scope to say that the world was also a boy’s club. Although she is sitting in for Jessica Valenti whose regular column is called “Feminism — The week in patriarchy.” The scope of which is inherently broad. We live under the patriarchal system.
Madhawai followed mention of this story with gender pay gap for black women, where average women are paid in US 80% of what men are, black women make only 63% of what those men make. She cites allies Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain working together to get a better wage.
So, she maintains her focus on business and wage differential. I support her. I do not know of a reasonable rationale that calls for a pay differential unless and until it can be proven that women do not do as much or are as valuable. Here, however, I may have revealed a rationale, where, for example, as with law firms, rainmakers, as with business, are valuable assets. In a “man’s world,” it could be argued that until women are provided the same access, they may, in fact, be unable to draw as much business as men given relationships men have and clubs they are members of, where a broad law, like Brown v. Board of Education stops the inequality inherent in unequal access. Men and women are separate and thus unequal. They are in different places, have different priorities, values, beliefs, attitudes?
Do women have women-only fund-raisers? Do they parade scantily-clad male waiters? If not why not? If so, why?
I think we need to spend more time addressing why men do what they do. But, more importantly, we need to focus on why they cannot do what they do. The issue is women are discomforted by this and getting paid less for the reality. That is unacceptable. 2018 is going to be a milestone. But, so many women have been leading us up to this and why it has taken so long also needs to be addressed. I think these issues are being raised because we have actually been on the earth a short time and we have not moved that far from cavemen days or from the days when work was more an agrarian or nomadic event. We’ve passed through the industrial age and are now within the information age. That implies a different skill set and commercial value. Women are correct, and always have been correct in speaking up. Men should always honor them, but why have some not?
“Yes, but words I now fear are pointless. They have become only a false landscape of the truth, a veneer over the eyes of hope, a constancy of the defibrillator being used to revive what is being killed. Eventually, the abused abuse in a cycle of abuse, and this becomes the culture. Ask any Black person, who is now twisted by the wreckage of his/her self-loathing, looking back at what face they want to lighten, what hair they want to straighten, what voice they want to maintain through steroid injections. Capitalism wants ultra-feminine dolls to ply its thrusting, home-care providers to wipe its butt, a gardener, and the rest to be seen and not heard in the fields.”
For years we have been witnessing one of capitalism’s idealistic metaphors in American football and now MMA fighting. The biggest men, lead by a chief strategist, throw a ball around and run toward a goal, they hit each other, block and protect their team members. Or with MCA, they completely annihilate to near death and knock out their opponent. It’s no wonder people, who believe that, “Doing what you love and the money will follow” are living, a bit, in a dream world. It’s not really strategy that gets you far but might and as Naomi Klein said it in her book Shock Doctrine, it is a slash and burn economy. Screw TED Talks and psychics, we have basketball, football, boxing, MCA, and other metaphors for true relationships between and among people. Civilized? Are you kidding? We are heading toward the fastest and hardest workforce in the world. Only the strongest, potentially least humane will win in the end. As the money is being sucked out of the economy and harnessed by a few, most of us will be surprised by the ethnic or national privilege that we once enjoyed.
Jessica Valenti said: “True change isn’t going to just be about stopping clearcut rape and harassment – but interrogating the way that men are taught to wear women down to acquiescence rather than looking for an enthusiastic yes.” Valenti said this in The Guardian, in the piece entitled: “Our standard for women has to be about more than what’s legal – it’s about what’s right,” 1/20/18 (See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/20/our-standard-for-whats-right-cant-just-focus-on-whats-legal-and-illegal?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=The+week+in+patriarchy&utm_term=261266&subid=23831452&CMP=patriarchy)
This is the crux of the women’s movement and complaint. I am well-aware of how men use reverse psychology to make women feel insecure about themselves due to a created environment that makes them feel insecure and then men seem to swoop down and save them. The environment has to be made safe to begin with. This is where men have and will continue to fail. It is their job not to take advantage of women, but to work to protect them from themselves and all men, who would demonstrate character flaws of predation.