BLOG 3 of 6 – FROM IGNORANCE TO CONTROL
To summarize my two previous blogs, we see many women today, in response to the #MeToo wave, who do express a lot of self-confidence, well-informed, educated and self-conscious as they maybe are, but who make it overtly political and hostile. And at the same time show a chronical lack of love (for men as well as for themselves), humour and wisdom. To me, many still look like the plate throwers so archetypical of a few generations ago. With leftovers of various sets of china at home where nothing matches – their mindsets alike.
To some I say: Grow a thicker skin. To the victims I say (and even to the ‘thin-skinned’ ones): let’s go after the harassers to let them bear the costs of the harm they imposed. To all the others I say: Stick to the subject (the violence and the power structures in place that need to be torn down) and don’t just roar because you think you need to resist the elder generations of women who you judge because they still haven’t resolved this matter with men and for whom you seem afraid because (as you seem to think) they look down on you for your hysteria and new prudency.
I admire the piece Salma Hayek had published in the NY Times (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/13/opinion/contributors/salma-hayek-harvey-weinstein.html?smid=li-shareb): there, at last, we have a personal testimony that gives all the details, emotions, observations, doubts and decisions related to a personal struggle. There we get the insights we need to really get the picture.
There we get an illustration of another level of how things often go. Beyond the throwing of shreds of truths, half-opinions and loose complaints over social media hashtags, which does not contribute to the building of character and the greater empowerment of women and which just opens the door to party crashers:
(And then I’m certainly able to laugh about the second example… Hey, sometimes something does go right, no?!)
Let’s beware #MeToo does not become nothing more than some channel for accusations, of which we all soon are going to say ‘save us the bother’. Of which many feminists of the earlier generations are already saying that it throws us – women – all back. A channel of paranoia.
While of course #MeToo should stay: a platform for sharp illustrations and observations in order to result in a change of mentality. A necessary attack on the assumed ‘ways of the world’ – because these ways all too often totally suck.
Responding assertively to the challenges we face in personal lives is a learned skill. I see and realize once more, because these plate throwing responses on the Twitter page and other media are indeed in many cases destructive for women’s self-esteem. Rather than watching everyone reacting, jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, women need to understand that only when they learn to take control and respond confidently and effectively to all those things and situations contextual to violation and abuse on the work floor, they will be able to resolve things on the gender equality scale.
Being assertive (on the spot and in the moment when possible) is one. Elaborating and explaining after, smartly and profoundly, like in Salma Hayek’s “J’accuse”, is another. In order to really reduce stress, avoid trauma, get rid of paranoia decades later (on the wrong stage, in the wrong phase of personal development, namely after years of self-consumed frustration) or let it become a ‘sex panic’ and so on.
What it all proves to me is that so many women still need to work harder on exactly this aspect: responding adequately and on the right moment in the right way. Always with one voice and one message (let me be me), with tones that should vary according to place, culture, context and audience.
Of course, the next time someone’s behaviour presses your buttons or drives you in the corner with no escape, take a deep breath, stand tall and calmly, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, put your ‘higher intelligence’ up (your boobs, silly!) and clearly state what you want or not want. Because, every time you react rather than respond, you give away your power…
And after that moment, which by then hopefully has not turned into a horrifying experience (where one needs to survive..), everything will very much depend on how we women manage our femininity and play the cards of Love, Humour and Wisdom.
Without love, no hope, no fulfilment. Without love no compassion and not knowing how to identify. There is no love without forgiveness, no forgiveness without love. Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without humour no downplay and putting things into perspective. Laughter is the closest distance between two people. You might say humour isn’t for everyone, only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive… but everyone should realize humour is an enormous powerful antidote to all ills. The person without it is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble on the road…
And without wisdom… How can you be proud, strong and responsible (feminism!) if you don’t know how to act and when to act and when not to act? If you don’t know history, sociology, arts, spirituality, sex? Knowledge and intelligence and objective judgmental capabilities together form the ability to adapt to change, so to go for improvement.
We also have quite a responsibility. E.g. once we are students, we have to show our male colleagues how female sexuality works, what beauty is. Once we’re mothers we have to teach our sons how not to become patriarchal, aggressive pricks. Once we are teachers at schools we have to explain and illustrate the mechanisms, the history, and the future.
We should realize once more that in the age 0 to 20 boys spend much more time with and among us than with men. What kind of messages we are passing on to them is crucial for later phases. And what we do? All too often we don’t even talk about it.
Perhaps it can all be summarized as follows: quite a number of men intimidate sexually simply because they can. And women today let themselves hear at last because we’re in the digital era and there’s less risk involved.
But in order to not let everything shoot into cataleptic rigidity, cadaveric spasms and a collective sex panic (so much for breviloquence) women need to guard their voice superiorly and choose the right tone wisely. To pull it beyond this temporary movement, they need to write more really good columns, books, create more art, make more films, practice more investigative science, construct more places, build more new worlds, and always dance the face of this planet in their particular graceful style, so that the equality issue becomes no issue and they themselves perhaps have the lead on many many more platforms than just this… (sorry to say:) shallow.
To be continued…
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