An eye opening experience. #YesAllWomen

by Doc Coleman on June 11, 2014 · 8 comments

in Rants

b48_bannerSo, a number of thing happened Memorial Day weekend. First off there was Balticon. This was full of fun and cool things and great friends, and regrettably, this is not what this post is about. We’ll come back to Balticon in another post. The second and third things that happened Memorial Day weekend weren’t cool at all, but they triggered the fourth thing, which is proving to be increasingly cool by pointing out things that are not cool. Not following along? Let me explain…

The second thing that happened was that a young man who decided that he was entitled to be popular, and to have the sexual attentions of any woman he fancied, also decided to take revenge upon the women of the world for the crime of not catering to his every whim. This person went out and began shooting at those he felt had robbed him of his proper place as a man-about-town. And at anyone else who was in the area. This was NOT cool. This was a total asshole move taken by a person who would not admit that the reason that he wasn’t enjoying his life was because he kept acting like a jerk. He escaped the criminal justice system by killing himself. Unfortunately, he ended the lives of a number of other people whose only mistake was being near him.

The third thing involved three young men and three young women. The men met the women at a bar and invited them to go back to their place. The women agreed. When they got back to the guy’s place, the men demanded sex. The women refused, as was their right, and the men promptly kicked them out. If it had stopped there, it could have been chalked up to three young men showing poor judgement. Unfortunately, one of the young men decided to take pot-shots at the women as they left. Fortunately for everyone, he missed, and no one was harmed. This time. Again, very uncool actions from three young men, and criminally stupid actions from one of them.

So, these two incidents of self-entitled stupidity ended up triggering an ongoing expression of brilliance known as #YesAllWoman. Women all over have posted their experiences with misogyny and rape culture under the hashtag #YesAllWoman. The tales are individually and collectively horrific, because they are true.

Let’s say that again.

The tales are true.

As much as we consider ourselves to be civilized and advanced, and the most progressive society on the planet, our culture is rife with examples of discrimination against women. Actually, that’s putting it lightly. We’re talking about institutionalized mistreatment of women on a social level. They are treated as second class citizens, servants, and sexual playthings.

This is a series of horrible things, but the fact that these stories are coming to light and being examined, that is a very cool thing.

I don’t have to describe this for the women reading. They know what they’ve been through. Guys, imagine if your entire life you were treated like a four-year-old. A particularly dim four-year-old. All your life, you’ve been told that all you have to do is be pretty, and do exactly as you are told. Don’t worry your head about if you’re being mistreated or exploited, just do as your told. And remember, if anything goes wrong, it is your fault for putting yourself in that situation, not the fault of the people who abused you and took advantage of you. That’s what life is like as a woman.

Ever have to walk through a bad neighborhood, guys? Always having to look over your shoulder to make sure you’re not being followed. Watching all around to make sure someone doesn’t jump out at you and pull a weapon on you. Yeah. That’s what it is like for women everywhere. For women, every neighborhood is a bad neighborhood.

Every neighborhood.

This cannot stand.

I was raised to believe that everyone was inherently equal. We all have different skills and talents, but we each have an equal right to decide our own course in life. To seek our own happiness. To have our ideas considered on their own merits. Men and women alike.

I believe in this ideal. But I still fall short of it, without even realizing it.

You don’t think about how much programming you get from society until the day you realize that the programming you’re following is wrong. And how hard it is to break that programming.

I’ve never had a lot of heroes, but there are a number of people whom I admire. As I’ve come to take stock of myself since Memorial Day, I’ve also come to realize that most of the people that I admire are women.

Let me name a few.

Sharon Lee, who along with her husband, Steve Miller, has created exciting and incredibly detailed words in the Liaden universe.

Mercedes Lackey, who created the fantastic fantasy world of Valdemar, and now is writing a new series of superhero adventures in the Secret World Chronicles.

Veronica Giguere, who voices the Secret World Chronicles podcasts, and has become one of the writers for the series, as well as writing books of her own, and managing a burgeoning career as a voice actor. All while taking care of a husband and a family, teaching college full-time, and studying for her PhD.

Mur Lafferty, who started the podcast I Should Be Writing to chronicle her struggles with the typical author’s feelings of inadequacy, and now has become a Big Five author with her latest books for Orbit. And despite her success, she still struggles with those same feelings of inadequacy. She just doesn’t let that stop her.

Philippa Ballantine, who started as an independent author and full-time librarian, and now has contracts with four of the Big Five at last count.

No matter the struggles I go through as an author and a voice actor, these women have done it. What is more, they had it harder that I ever will, all because of the prejudice they’ve had to fight, inside and out, every step of the way.

Men, there is no reason for this. No reason to treat women as anything less than the admirable people they are. It can take a lifetime to change a culture, but it is so very worth it.

Now, some men won’t seem the reason to change the way they behave. They don’t see the benefit to themselves in treating anyone better. Well, guys, remember that look a woman gives you when she first meets you? That one where she’s sizing you up? Yeah, that’s her trying to figure out how likely it is that you’re going to kidnap, rape, and kill her. Why is she doing that? Because of the way other men treat women. You want to make things better for you, treat all women better. Especially the ones you don’t plan on ever sleeping with. You want them to see you as a person worth being with? Start by treating them as a people first. #YesAllMen #YesAllWomen

 

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