The latest incident of terror in Canada has highlighted again the issue around male privilege and the struggle they have realising that it doesn’t mean they can have sex with whomever they want, whenever they want.
Incel stands for involuntarily celibate. The whole concept is a little weird to women I think, because why would you even think that way? If you aren’t having sex because you aren’t having any luck finding a partner, you just go home and have a hot milo. And masturbate if you really need to. And want to – masturbation is fantastic. But I digress.
Women have been fighting against their binary role for forty years or more, since the early feminists burned their bras and said ‘fuck this shit’. They were right, the highly limiting roles for women were like being in a prison for so many. That’s not even including the suffragettes who suffered to get women the vote 100 years ago!
Unfortunately at the same time, many men and those in institutions (work ones like government, universities, hospitals, education, society in general) resisted this change because they felt threatened by women ‘taking’ something they thought was theirs alone. Power and authority.
Some men over the last forty years have worked out that women are not the enemy here, but the toxic masculinity and rigidity of societal roles that says each gender can only do certain things is the real issue. The expression of emotion, the caring roles, being vulnerable – all things that men have not been able to do freely in society as women have. That’s not right but the thing is, only men can change this culture for themselves.
Women have had to fight through (and fight is a deliberate term) the misogyny that continues to oppress many in the world today. The #metoo and #timesup is finally a generational shift that I hope will bring about a reckoning that the feminists of forty years ago were fighting for.
We just want to be equal. We want to be respected. We want to feel safe that our bodies are our own.
Self proclaimed ‘Incels’ and men like them need to work through the feelings they have about being rejected and not come out the other side killers and rapists. Or arseholes. They can do it. They may just not want to because giving up a perceived privilege is hard. But that’s the thing – you never had the rights over my body, you just thought you did.
There are many #metoo moments in my life and I don’t want my daughters to experience this. Women have changed and continue to evolve. Men now have to take up the challenge and move into this world. There will always be people who don’t want to change and for women, we need to praise the good as well as condemn the abhorrent. The flip side to that is, duh, be a decent human being and that shouldn’t be something spectacular. It should be the status quo!
However the bigger challenge is with men themselves, to let go of the need to be dominant, the need to be on top, the need to be invincible. They need to put forward in society new roles for them to perform and for women to accept that they will be vulnerable now, that they will express emotions without using violence or anger. That they will not use violence and privilege to hold onto the poisoned chalice they created for themselves. That the new society we all need is one of equality in all ways.
Women are smart and strong. Men are vulnerable and caring. Women are vulnerable and caring. Men are strong and smart. Together we can work on making this world a safe place for all our children. That means as parents, we need to teach both genders about caring, about equal relationships, about being vulnerable. We need to teach both genders that there are not gender roles in cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn or lifting boxes. That neither gender has a better brain or body, just that some brains and bodies work differently than others.
I wonder what a world without gender restriction might look like? Here’s hoping it will come about in time for me to see it.
Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,