In all cultures and in all time periods there are/were good honest people (men and women) who care/d about other people and there are/were nasty ones. Societies with a high level of misogyny usually also have a very high level of misandry, gender-based prejudices and violence. That’s why we need to be very careful in the way we address such issues and write about them to make sure that good, honest, caring men and women don’t get insulted or upset; that traditions that protect people in a certain environment do not get broken by notions, evolved in a totally different environment.
Unfortunately there is a lot of violence in some places on this planet where streets are not safe for either women or men. Unfortunately, police in some places is totally useless and justice system is totally dysfunctional – and it might be outside of our control to get that changed in the nearest future. As women are generally physically weaker than men, they tend to be targeted by criminals as an easier prey. Therefore in a violent environment they might require more protection from men and might need to adopt certain style of behaviour for the sake of survival. Is that misogyny? Or is that misandry? Should we ‘empower’ women in such violent environment to go alone on the street in the middle of the night? Should we ‘empower’ women to use provocative clothing to look ‘cool’ and ‘independent’? Should we ‘empower’ women to drink alcohol or take drugs that will totally incapacitate them and make them an easy prey?
Often such risk-minimisation measures are confused with ‘victim blaming’ (Scott Williams provides one of the most recent examples of such victim blaming on his blog). I do not support victim blaming and feel very angry when I come across victim-blaming strategies and statements, no matter whether the victim is male or female. However at the same time I also get very angry when I see risk-minimisation messages being distorted and blocked by some dubious campaigns such as SlutWalk that do not take into consideration the complex nature of the inter-personal violence issues. Until all people learn non-violent conflict resolution strategies and until this planet is free of rapists, murderers, robbers, certain risk-preventative measures might be required to keep people safe and alive. Any campaign that puts women’s lives at risk is as misogynous as ‘victim blaming’ and denying women basic human rights.
Let’s empower both women and men in a positive way. Let’s empower them to get a better understanding of the world around them, to ‘write’ their own life stories without someone else holding the pen, to be happy. However let’s not empower them to display the nasty side of human nature, let’s not empower them to be led by their violent biological instincts, let’s not empower them to be cruel to other human beings on this planet. A few examples of the results of such ‘negative’ empowerment can be found in Theodore Dalrymple’s writings . BroadBlogs provides a more recent example of such ‘negative’ empowerment or abuse of personal ‘freedom’ and ‘freedom of speech’ granted to people in Western societies.
Let’s also remember that men need positive empowerment as much as women. Let’s stop generalising and judging all men by some nasty examples that appear on the front pages of the newspaper or feature in the historical books. Unfortunately, men got a bad reputation in history as only powerful men usually get depicted in the history books. And powerful men are usually the nastiest ones. As the results, there are lots of prejudices against men in this world which make their life a real hell.
Let’s stop fighting misandry by spreading misogyny and let’s stop fighting misogyny by spreading misandry. Instead let’s empower both women and men to have a happy, fulfilling life journey caring about each other.