The Last Thing You MUST Know About #Blurred Lines

#Blurred Lines has been one of the most talked about phrases since the song based on the same name created havoc last year. 

In case you haven’t heard it, you can easily find it on Youtube. It was banned at many student organisations due to the sexist lyrics and for promoting misogyny and rape culture. 

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On the one hand you will see feminists protesting against the usage of this phrase completely rejecting its premise while on the other hand you will find a large number of young people who believe otherwise. Let’s dig deeper and find out what it means and why it’s important.

In the hook up culture, sexual double standards prevail, we all know that. This means, women who are open about their choices, dating preferences and lifestyle are often labelled as ‘promiscuious’ (using the better word).

Those women who want to date or have random one night stands but without being called promiscuois must do it the ‘good girl’ way- meaning, they should reflect blurred lines. 

If you believe this, you are in for a loooooooooonnnggggggg trouble!

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The TRUTH About Women- for Men

Gone are the days where girls had to pretend to be anything. Most women now are open about their choices. If they want to be with a man, they will not only tell him but also fight for him when needed. Whatever name you call, women don’t really care anymore because they are much more open mided than you think. If she is not going for you, she really really really doesn’t like you. Instead of taking that on your EGO and trying to convince yourself that she wants it, you must take some lessons in handling rejections and get on with your life. You cannot rape everyone who rejects you and you cannot murder every employer who trashes your CV. The earlier you learn this lesson, the better it is. Most of the times, it is not even about you. Don’t take it too personal and move on.

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The TRUTH About #BLURRED LINES- for Women

You may be dating someone or you may like them and you have or haven’t thought yet about sharing a bed. 

No one but you, has the right to decide whether you want to sleep with someone or not, and when.

Sometimes, you just meet someone, you like them, you feel the chemistry but you dont want to sleep with them instantly. You don’t even have to have a reason for it, you just don’t. This can happen with men too by the way.

The moment you hear the other person say “oh come on, you know you want it”… my suggestion is………..

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RUN!!!!

Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back! Trust me you won’t regret!

 

Why am I so confident?

When people say “oh come on, you know you want it” what they really mean is “I cannot use force or aggression straight away because I fear prison, so I am trying to MANIPULATE you into thinking that YOU are the one who wants it”.

There are many sorts of rapes and the three most common you hear are:

  1. Date Rape
  2. Acquaintance Rape and
  3. Stranger Rape

We fear most the last one, the stranger rapes because most often there is a use of a weapon or force. But guess which one of the three kinds has the largest number of victims???

Its the acquaintance rape! It is also the most UNDER REPORTED rape kind.

Date rape is usually in a car or somewhere quiet after a date but acquaintance rape happen at people’s own homes and hang out areas, dorm rooms, libraries etc. This is because there is an element of trust involved. The rapist is a trust authority or friend and the victim has no idea of what is coming. Taking advantage of someone’s trust is plain crime, there is no blurred line about that. Just because someone trusts you enough to be with you, does not make give you the right to break that trust.

Blurred lines is the phrase used by these offenders to:

  • firstly manipulate the victim to think that she ‘asked for it’ or ‘she liked it’ when she didn’t.
  • secondly to force her to blame herself post rape, that will ensure no reporting

Manipulation is more powerful and more commonly used in rape than a weapon.

When it comes to dating, we may take our time to decide whether or not we like someone to go out with them again. Even if we don’t and our friends or someone else thinks we make a good couple, sometimes we consider it and say “OK I will give it another chance”.

However when it comes to sex, there is NO #BLURRED LINE.

We know if we want it or not, straight away.

And if you have to try to convince yourself to have sex with someone, you are NOT doing yourself any good.

“I owe him sex, he paid for the dinner”

“He brought me that expensive gift, may be I must reciprocate”.

“I have to look cool, I have to do this to get popular”.

“I am married to him, it’s his right”. WRONG

Neither of these are good reasons to sleep with someone and the worst one is “he said I wanted it, may be I do but I just don’t know it yet”.

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Sex is an expression of your body and your connection with peace and pleasure. Who you have it with, must be your choice based on your feelings. Even if you want it and half way though you change your mind for whatever reason, you still have the right to STOP and walk away. 

There is NO blurred line even if you stop halfway through the sex.

I hope that clarifies the never ending blurred lines debate and make sure everyone understands that blurred lines mean plain and simple manipulation. Now you know what to do next time when someone says “you know you want it”.

 

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Receipt found for ‘How to Fake Your Own Death for Dummies’

The title of this post is actually something I picked up from the comments section of Jezebel where I read about this man who faked his own death to get out of a possible marriage. 

I had seen this in American sit coms, for instance Morgan Tuckers from The Mindy Project mentioned that two women faked their own deaths to get away from him and once I suppose from Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Never thought people could do such a thing in real life. 

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I found the above comment hilarious and wondered if there really was a book like that. After the laughter subsided on the mans’ stupidity and cowardness, I wonder though, why would someone do such a thing.

I have seen in some cases of domestic abuse, where a woman feared that she would be killed if she tried to escape, she somehow led her husband to believe that she died in an accident or attack. To some extent this is understandable because escape is life threatening nevertheless it is still a life of living under fear of being caught. 

But today we are talking about those break ups where one person just got bored of another or began seeing someone else and did not want a straight talk. I believe there are people like that, although thanks heavens, I haven’t met one personally.

Remember Lucy in The Big Bang Theory who played Raj’s girlfriend for a few episodes?

The Love Spell Potential

She escaped from the toilet window to avoid Raj!?!?!!!

Social anxiety or other social disorders can make some people uncomfortable talking about breaks ups and confronting tough decisions. However most people are plain coward. 

So, let’s clear up some air and talk about ; What do people mean when :

  1. ‘ they fake their own death’?

I am a coward, I never cared for your feelings and I rather you spend your lifetime loving me in your memory but face the truth and see you hate me.

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     2. ‘they say I need some time off’?

This one can mean different things. In a short term relationship, two or three dates; this could mean ‘I like you but I am not sure about you. Let me try the other fish in the sea, compare you with them and if I do not find anyone better, I would come back‘. After two years of a relationship however, taking time off means that the person is seriously considering breaking up. A friend recently shared his story where his girl friend left even before the time off period was over. When two people in a relationship are serious about each other, they solve their problems together.

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Taking time off during a heated argument is a good thing because when you are angry you might say things you do not mean and end up regretting later. However, this must not last more than a few hours. If one person specifically mentions time off that might means it is a well thought plan and a polite way to say “I want a break up” and allow the other person some time to get used to the idea. 

      3. ‘it’s not you, it’s me’?

Believe in this one. When someone says this, either they have commitment issues or they have not known your value. Either ways, this person has not loved you and won’t ever love you. So if you are thinking of stalking or trying to persuade your ex partner in some other ways, they may not work. If they do, they wouldn’t last. When someone knows the real you and loves you, they will fight to be with you. They won’t need convincing. 

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      4. ‘I only care for you as a friend’?

One of my friends was in a relationship with this Mr.Confused.com kind of a guy. He would behave like a boyfriend in private and in social situations he would turn into a best friend. At one point he even mentioned marriage and when she began to fall for him he withdrew and wanted to be just friends. She would get jealous and quarrel over his friendship with other girls. He would make promises not to be friends with any other girl. This kept my friend believing in his game. Friends don’t have those rights to tell you who to hang out with. 

My friend got insane day after day and began stalking him on social media and other ways. She just could not believe in the fact that whatever love-pretentious crap game was between them, it was over. I blame her for things turning bitter is because while she was seeing this guy, she went back home and got engaged with another guy because he was rich and offered green card. When she came back, she realized she had nothing in common with the new guy and this old boy friend had drifted apart. She wanted to hang out with both guys without being pointed. God help such people.

     5. ‘I want to take things slow’?

This simply means either you are too pushy or they are not sure about you. It could be either good or bad. It is also kind of a test to see if the relationship is real and can survive the test of time. Specifically in new relationships, it is genuine to get to know the other person, see if you both have anything in common and if you can rely and depend on each other. If someone is interested only to get in bed with you, they may not wait and you would know their intentions.

On the other hand, after just few weeks of knowing each other, if they want to move in with you or plan babies, this could reek of desperation. The best thing is to talk things out. What do they want from life and from you. Decisions like moving in, announcing your new status to friends and family , buying furniture or mortgage are big decisions and unless both people are 100% sure of one another, one person pushing will lead to a break down.

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In any case, all the above lines are better than faking your own death to get rid of someone who loves you. Love and relationships are pleasure and pain wrapped in one candy wrapper. Love does not have to hurt but if it stops, it certainly hurts. Break ups do not have to be messy and dirty. Mutual agreement is best. For this to happen, it is best to get into a relationship with someone who is mentally matured and accomodating in the first place.

Break up would hurt but if both people have their own valid reasons and they both understand them, it will be easier and much more respectful to shake hands go your separate ways. Once in a blue moon if you get face to face with them in a public space, you don’t have to reach to the nearest object to bang their head. A simple smile or what’s up is much better.

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Have you ever had a mutually respectful break up? What do you think about faking deaths to escape a relationship?

Please share your thoughts and stories, always great to hear from like minded folks.

In Friendship,

Shahla

Are women allowed to laugh? (This question makes me ROFL)

Shahla, what are you doing? This is a man’s job, leave it alone. I will hire a labor tomorrow and get it done, leave it alone, NOW”, ordered my Mother out of love and care for her fragile 17-year-old girl.

Guess what was the job-at-hand?

Hanging 8 large-sized curtains around the enormous living room, the day before the Islamic festival of EID.

I got down at that moment quietly.

Next morning when my mother woke up, she found all the curtains well hung and shiny, ready to welcome our guests. Slightly perplexed she questioned me “who did you hire, what did you pay, how did you find someone early morning on the holiday?”

I smiled, “Mom, I did it when you were asleep in the night and apparently I didn’t need a man, it’s really quite simple and there was no heavy lifting as such, I was six feet high on the ladder but nothing too complex ”.

My mother smiled back and nodded her head “you are one rebel in the family!”

This story is from 10 years ago.

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Apart from telling us girls not to hang curtains on the poles on high ladders, there were many other things we were told to do and to not do, though (thankfully) we were not monitored like in a conservative family. My Dad on the other hand always said “go out, learn how to drive, work, shake the world and be happy”.

The recent comments of the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc “women should not laugh out loud” reminded me of the dreadful ‘rules-for-women’ invisible book I came across while growing up in India.

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One of those rules was ‘to keep our voices low and never to laugh out loud’ or in other words “NEVER BE HEARD” in this world; this was the trait of a decent and dignified woman. ‘A nice woman is a silent woman’, trust me this is not a joke, people religiously say that!

On questioning the origins, I was told this is what Islam teaches us.

I HIGHLY DOUBT.

Now for a moment, forget about women and think about a typically ‘Loud Person’ that you may have come across. He/she may be a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or someone in the family. The person who would laugh excessively on silly things or make rude remarks about others and think they are doing some great job, bad table manners and constantly annoying others around with their loud voice?

Sounds familiar?

I am sure we all know at least one loud person we resent meeting. Nevertheless we would not go as far as to humiliate or punish this person for their annoyingly loud personality.

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The Islamic perspective aka COMMON SENSE

Islam is mainly about common sense and with that logic, it says ‘to be polite and courteous in your conversations’. If at all anything about laughter, yes don’t laugh on people or in a way that would annoy others around you.

And mind you, this is for both men and women, unlike the deputy PM’s declaration specifically about women. Islam is in fact about positivity, happiness and sharing jokes and laughs with those around you. I can say this NOT from some typical Islamic ideology but from how I perceive the inscriptions based on common sense.

Patriarchy has however picked up on tiny things like this and made it to be like RULES FOR DECENT WOMEN because this way it is easier to suppress women (in the name of religion not reason). Another example: women prohibited to drive in Saudi Arabia where years ago women used to ride camels and go to wars right next to the Prophet (PBUH). Thanks to another woman Manal Al-Sharif who chose to not be the typical decent silent woman and made some noise and changed few things around. She is my personal favourtie superwoman. 

Thus, having a friendly and polite pleasant personality is a nice quality for LGBT, men and women, of all religions and countries.

PERIOD

What makes me sad is that people who have such power and prestige, who sit on prominent chairs, have control over precious resources and have a million ordinary people listen to them use their words, ideas and feelings to express such silly things based on a million year old cave man ideology (sorry couldn’t find a better word).

I had heard a million such things about the typical orthodox Indian woman. She must be like this and like that, blah blah blah but as a person it is up to me to either question those teachings or to blindly follow them.

I agree, it is not easy to question patriarchal and traditional beliefs but hey, what is? If you think it is easier to shut your voice and never laugh for the rest of your life because of some stupid perverted man’s declaration- go ahead. But when you do so, you also shut down your little daughter’s voice and create generations of sad, suppressed and laughter starved women. And this is really on you.

You make decisions for the entire generation, not just for yourself, so chose wisely and be able to sleep at night with your choices.

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This sexist statement coming from the Turkish Deputy PM is actually not the only sexist remark ever made. In 2012, after the Delhi gang rape news ashamed India internationally, many Indian ministers and priests came out with the same victim blaming and sexist comments. One dude even said that protesters are publicity seekers. Furious, I did a piece called ‘Is India a Nation of Perverts’ that you can read here and another one openly addressed to the political leaders of my city who made statements that rape victims must not be hanged because of false rape accusations.

I therefore wonder…

In business organizations, we have the ever-loving HR department who look after work place harassment cases and ensure there are strict policies and procedures to deal with it. Those employees guilty of making such remarks are advised to take training courses to actually ‘learn what is inappropriate and sexist and must not be repeated’. Those accused of major violations are even fired and sent to prison (of course not at all organizations but certainly at all the good ones).

Why isn’t there a sexual harassment and prevention of sexism course mandatory for people in power?

Is this even possible? Isn’t education key here? (Sending them all to sex education schools)

Wouldn’t it have the same effect on gender equality and violence prevention as that of compound interest in Mathematics?

(Do you get the logic?)

If you hold any resources, there are people who read/listen/watch you, and if you are privileged enough to be in a nation where speaking up is not life threatening; are you using your power to influence those around you on gender equality?

If you are, give yourself a pat on the back and a hug from me right now (a cup cake would be good too if you are not worried about calories).

Hope you smiled, if not laughed.

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Keep up the good work.

In Friendship,

Shahla

The Story of Maryam Mirzakhani and a Misogynist

It began when I met my friends, a married couple for coffee.

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Hey Adam, did you see this news about Maryam Mirzakhani?

No, what is it about?”

“Well, she is a professor at Stanford University, now the first woman ever to win the Fields Medal, the highest honor possible for a mathematician and she is from your country!” I boasted as I shared her photograph on my phone.

After a moment he said, “She doesn’t look very pretty”.

My brows creased instantly “what do you mean? This is not a beauty contest. This is the highest honor in an academic field”.

He casually responded “Well, yeah but for a woman it is more important to be pretty and sexy.”

At this point I pause and ponder. This is a man who loves his wife, helps her equally with household chores, provides for her, supports her, is all for respecting women and he still has such a perverted and orthodox view about women.

I remarked “you know what Adam, a woman’s dignity or value is not attached to her face or body but rather to her personality and her contributions to her family and the society”.

“Yeah well, blah blah no one believes in that crap. Soon enough she will marry a ———— and then ————- and…” and I stopped him right there.

“Adam, if you cannot speak well of anyone, please don’t speak ill and especially not about some woman who deserves so much respect” and I left.

In this story above, I have changed the name of my friend and his actual comments about Professor Maryam’s appearance. His remarks were derogatory and vulgar. In pure and simple words, this is sexual objectification. Despite the remarkable achievements of a woman, she is not appreciated by all people equally because she is a woman and needs to be objectified first. What a pathetic society we live in…

 

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Misogyny is much farther spread than you think

We all are tied in social bonds with many different types of people at work, school and home. We also usually have assumptions about them and think that we ‘know’ them. We see the news of killing spree’s like the one that happened last May in California. The killer Elliot Rodger is our typical example of a Misogynist; a young man who was allegedly seeking ‘retribution’ against women and ended up killing both men and women in double numbers. In this article, you can also read about the typical misogynist societies and forums running online where men like Elliot can find a platform to share their violent and hateful ideas.

Nevertheless, these forums are not the only places where misogynist dwell and these young men are not the only men who hate women.

Ordinary, married men like Adam are misogynist too. They pretend to be all loving and caring for their wives, sisters and daughters but their love and care is highly flawed. They do care for people who they love and would offer place to a woman on a crowded bus. But they also believe that women must be kept at home. They see women as an object of desire first and may be a human second, if at all.

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These are the ‘in-betweeners’ of the misogynist and feminist men. In public they say they are all for women’s education and rights while in their homes they fail to practice it. In fact, thanks to the feminist movement, one great thing that has happened is the loss of prestige for such people. If a man disrespects a woman publically, or makes a sexist remark at work or even at a public space, chances are people will frown and even confront the man. Evidence can be seen from the very many episodes of What Would You Do where strangers in public places are seen openly speaking up against sexists and abusers. This has led to the discrediting and loss of prestige for those who used to think it is manly to be sexist.

This phenomenon of two forces against each other has created a new category of men: the hidden misogynist. I suppose these are men, confused within them. They can be seen through either the glass half full lens or the half empty lens.

One can argue that these are men were told to dominate women for years until recently and they are now coming to terms with their masculinity and feminism.

Or on the other hand, these are the men who only superficially pretend to be supportive of women’s rights in social situations to maintain a good status.

Either ways, misogyny is deep-rooted in our culture and beliefs and both men and women can be misogynist. Don’t be surprised when I say women because I have literally met women who believe that they deserve to be battered by their husbands and that their ‘eternal salvation’ will be cancelled if their controlling freak of a husband is unhappy with them.

My suggestion: QUESTION YOUR IDEOLOGIES

  1. Whether you are a man or a woman, question your assumptions constantly.
  2. Learn and educate yourself about feminism and humanism.
  3. Follow the always SPARKLE philosophy:
  • Status of respect
  • Power of speech
  • Access to freedom
  • Right to happiness
  • Knowledge and education
  • Love not lust
  • Existence as an equal

If you have all these elements of a SPARKLE, as a rule of thumb you are not a misogynist and if you wish the same for all men, women, trans, children, elderly and even animals alike, you are not a sexist either.

I hope that more people celebrate brilliant women like Maryam Mirzakhani and believe the wonders that women can do only if provided an opportunity. From Hollywood to Bollywood, I see women dancing around in skimpy clothing as if this is the most they can do. That’s their only potential. This is pure misogyny and dehumanizing on every level.

On the contrary, I would love to see more Maryams and Baroness Warsis not just in academia  but also in movies, music, arts, business and politics and I can only wonder how beautiful the world would be then.

“That’s the true beauty of a woman Adam, remember that”.

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Are/Were Your Parents Friends With One Another? How does that impact on you?

For a while now we have been talking about friendship between men and women and how it is an important measure to bring an end to gender based violence. For this post I want to share something very crucial that shapes who you are today with regards to your beliefs around gender inequality. 
“Are your parents friends”?
Think of the time when you were a kid/baby…

Go as far as your memory allows.
Read here

Are/Were Your Parents Friends With One Another? How does that impact on you?

For a while now we have been talking about friendship between men and women and how it is an important measure to bring an end to gender based violence. For this post I want to share something very crucial that shapes who you are today with regards to your beliefs around gender inequality. 

“Are your parents friends”?

Think of the time when you were a kid/baby…

Go as far as your memory allows.

What images of childhood can you remember?

Now notice who is in those images? Your father, your mother or both?

Apart from those specific images, think about the relationship between your father and mother…

Who fed you? Who bathed you? Who took you to school and karate classes or piano lessons? Think of your father’s involvement in the process of raising you. 

If they were friends (which means a team), they would probably have shared all those chores, may be not 50/50 but at least 60/40. 

Keeping the chores aside, did you see them as friends?

That means, did you see them-

  1. laughing together?
  2. consulting each other about decisions?
  3. asking if one was OK?
  4. sharing common interest activities?
  5. spending time together- not watching TV or completing a chore but real quality time paying attention to one another?

OR

  1. if they fought, did they say mean and hurtful things or simply raised their voices for a moment and cooled down?
  2. did they practice name calling and remining one another of past mistakes?
  3. did they swear and curse?

If your answer to the first set of questions is YES, I am confident that you are a feminist or one of those people who believe in gender equality with or without the feminist tag. 

If your answer is NO and you can relate more to the second set of questions, I doubt that your parents were friends and this could impact you on many levels. 

We are born link a blank sheet of canvas. The first people who ever draw on that canvas are our parents. What they draw on the canvas remains there forever. This canvas is the environment a child witnesses. It consists of recognizing our own existence, our gender , our age and most importantly the stereotypes and beliefs of our parents. 

If our parents believe that women are inferior to men, we believe the same at least unless we grow up, get education, explore what the world believes in, critically examine our family assumptions and make a choice which ones to follow. And this happens only if a person has skills of analysis and dares to come out of the comfort zone of the traditional beliefs, which many don’t. 

MY STORY

As a baby, I remember and have pictures that my Dad would bath my sis and I usually and he spent time with us. Since my Mom was not working, she certainly spent more time with us but I certainly remember my Dad being very much in the picture. Few of the special things he did as a Dad were:

1. He never asked my sister or me to learn how to cook and clean. He came from a family where women were uneducated and ill treated by their husbands, therefore he made it a point to never make us ‘feel like a woman’ and insisted more on education and dreams. 

2. He cooked occasionally while the two of us kids assisted him with tiny jobs so we all bonded over in the kitchen.

3. He never ever had an argument with Mom infront of us kids. If they had something to talk, they would only do it when we were asleep. My home has always been a ZERO VIOLENCE household.

4. He stopped people when they would discuss marriages, husbands and typical orthodox topics that little girls must not be bothered about. He did not wanted us to feel like we are alive only so some man could marry us one day. 

5. He encouraged us to drive, go out, take charge, do our things just like he would do for a son. This attitude never let me feel like I am less than anyone else. 

On the other hand, my Mom always had her fair share of doubts and principles.

The point is, I could see that my parents are best friends. There was no one my father would trust more and no one mom would prefer spending time with. They did not share their issues with even their closest siblings because they had each other. They still are the same. Despite the busy life and chores they would find moments to spend together. Lunch and dinner is always a family thing but their evening tea is their special time.

This time is the part of fresh evening when the sky changes color and my mom’s tea spreads its aroma around the living room. Dad is home and with the tea they share what they did, what they are going to do or sometimes pure, blissful silence and smiles.

Now I am not saying that there is no fight. All couples fight and so do best friends. But they don’t fight because one feels the other is lesser or inferior to him/her. The first impressions of gender inequality are portrayed by your parents. If you see that inequality as a child, you would much likely feel that is ‘normal’ because it was normal at your home. 

What we see is what we become. It is human nature. The neurotransmitters in our brain are like mirrors. It is not just monkeys who copy your actions. You do the same as you see. Violent video games have scientifically proven to make children violent. It is called The Mirror Effect.

On the other hand, it is also possible that if you have witnessed extreme inequality or violence as a child, you would understand how deadly its impacts are and you would prefer to never go there again. Never make the same mistakes your father made with your mother. There is hope of course but for every one child growing in an abusive home, there is a lot more darkness than light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes their lives end before the tunnel.

So, this is what I want you to do:

Question your assumptions…do you see friendship between your parents?

based on their relationship, how close or far is your sketch of your ideal partner?

If you have that partner, is he/she better or worse?

How stereotyped is your own relationship with your partner? By this I mean, do you do certain things around the household becase you are a man/woman and stop your partner to do certain things cause of the same reason?

If you fight, do you fight like friends who fight or enemies who would suck on each others blood?

How quickly do you make up after fights?

As a couple, are you like your parents?

What specific assumptions do you live with?If you have any interesting insights by reading this article, please share them in the comments section, that is where we catch up and have our cup of tea 🙂

Ciao buddies

Why Corporate Men Avoid Discussing Rape & Abuse And Consider These To Be ‘Women’s Issues’

This article is based on the story of my interaction with one corporate man but the logic applies to men in general.

My upcoming book is called ‘Friends With Benefits’ which is based on sex education for adults focused on prevention against gender based violence. I have been initiating & negotiating sponsorship proposals for my book tour in Europe with different corporate organizations to this end. I want to share my experience with one specific organization.

I wouldn’t disclose their names due to obvious reasons but they are based in London and have a multi million dollar annual turnover. I initiated them with a sponsor brokership proposal for the tour.

Their top manager responded back saying that they like the project but would recommend sending proposals to corporates that sell women’s products & services. Their reasoning simply was because gender based violence is a women’s issue, only women take interest in fighting agaisnt this issue and no gender neutral orgnisation such as banks would be interested to sponsor this proposal. 

I wrote back to him explaining the project further in detail which was why men needed to jojin this campaign more than ever and he never responded back!

I can understand why he felt that it would be sensible for a corporate organisation dealing only in women’s products to be interested in this project. It is not his fault entirely, its the whole structure of the society that we live in.

This made me feel that men don’t even want to be associated with gender based violence prevention in anyway, and this was not the first time I felt it.

For years, feminist crowd, mainly women have been fighting for women’s rights and protecting women and children from the misogynistic blind attitude of society. This generation fortunately has some great men that are franticaly advocating gender equality and gender based violence prevention.

Tony Porter, Jackson Katz, Ran Gavrieli and Will Muir just to name a few. For instance, Will Muir brilliantly puts it when he says that “if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem”. Tony Porter explains how male culture and gender box trap men in orthodox gender biased mentalities and govern their entire lives. Ran talks about the impact of pornography on making men violent and creating demand for human trafficking. Jackson Katz is furious about the way the society puts women in spotlight while they are not the ones perpetrating these crimes. 

Another awesome guy is Carlos Andres Gomez whose poem ‘Hermano’ I am sure you must have seen across social media platforms. His message is on positive masculinity, mainly on violence against both genders. Jeff Perera advocates messages on gender limitations and how violence in our communities, schools and lives in general have changed our worlds drastically. 

These are few examples of those men who don’t blame women for the epidemic of gender based violence and who are not busy finding out what excuse next to blame women. But what about the rest? Why do men react the way this manager did? Why do they think it is only women’s responsibility to fight gender based violence?

Here are a few reasons why-

1- General philosophy

Growing up, we all develop a philosophy about the other gender. For instance- ‘all men are perverts’. Yes, the  majority of gender based violence perpetrators are men but it does NOT mean all men are perverts. As a woman, I can testify I might have believed in that for a very long time too when I considered the opposite gender threatening. 

Most women have developed this attitude for obvious reasons. While jumping on an elevator late at night, we shiver if there is just one guy inside and not many people around. We shudder walking back home alone through a dark neighbourhood. We fear in public spaces in the middle of a thousand people because in that crowd we do not know when some pervert would attempt an assault and walk away smiling. 

This fear lead us to see all men as in one category and we develop a ‘philosophy’ about them. This seems just  a measure of normal precaution in the women’s world but how does it impact men? Specifically those men who are NOT perverts? Jacob Anderson-Minshall describes it as being cut off from half the humanity or rather in his own words ” Can being viewed as a predator turn you into one?”

Sadly, trust between men and women in general has been shattered due to the crimes of few. This is one reason why I decided to write ‘Friends With Benefits’ because I see that men and women need to trust each other again. Be friends again. See each other as more than sexual partners. Now, Trust is not something I can teach or built at the push of a button. Rather we can educate and empower men and women how to earn the trust of one another. 

We desperately need a society where all men in general are not categorised as threats or predators. This is the first step towards inviting men to join the dialogue on gender based violence prevention. I can empathize with men on this that it is normal to feel judged, isolated and blamed when you are part of a community and the other community is furious about the acts of few. 

Isn’t this similar to the issue of Islamophobia? Some criminals go out and do their nasty while the entire Muslim community is hated and feared. 

Once men feel that this is not about women against men rather humans against crime, it certainly would make them feel ‘we are on the same team buddy’!

2- Alienation- 

I read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and did believe in that ideology for more than half my life. According to the bestseller status of the brand, I reckon our entire generation believes and follows this ideology. While there is some merit to understanding the biology behind the construction of male and female anatomy, I now realise the fatal influence of this doctrine on our behaviour towards the opposite gender.

Need examples? How about- when women raise an issue at home or in public, they get belittled by men saying “she is just hormonal” or “all women create drama”. Women’s emotions are disregarded by men as if they don’t want to and they don’t need to get into it. As if it is not their concern.

Think about this for a moment… I am sure you must have seen at least one alien movie, thanks to sci-fi Hollywood. What is the first word that comes to mind when you picture that movie?

ATTACK!

Aliens are people from different planets and by design are supposed to fight until one species survive and get hold of all the resources. Books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus begin by creating that alien mindset. Women are from a different planet, they are people we need to read books to understand? Are you kidding me? Who needs to take a course just to have a life partner? This seems like a lot of work to do, it makes relationships like homework. 

What happened to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs?

Don’t men and women have similar wants and desires?

Don’t they have common goals?

Don’t they need the same things out of life- love, happiness and peace?

By changing the focus from our differences to our similarities, don’t you think it would be easier to co exist?

And if we truly need to focus on the differences, then why should those differences be based on gender? I have never seen two women alike. Each individual human being is different and diversity of an individual must be respected.

3- Focus on fixing women

I have mentioned this above but would like to reiterate this point. Type ‘rape or abuse’ helpline on Google and you will find thousands of women’s organizations, crisis centres etc offering support. This is great but why only women? Women’s crisis centres offer cures and therapies to victimized children and women… how about creating prevention centres so that the women don’t have to go through the crisis in the first place?

Thanks to the men I mentioned above and many more that are working towards the prevention by putting men under the spotlight of gender based violence and training men to unlearn the authorotative rules of masculinity taught by societies. But we need more men to join, a lot more.

The above are the reasons why men in general do not feel obligated to join the conversation on gender based violence and why they should be encouraged to do so. 

If this message relates to you at any level as a man and if you have felt this isolation or felt the guilt burden of entire ‘men’ community, please share your story and spark a conversation. 

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, WHY FIGHT ALONE?