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.
Reblogged this on Scott Williams and commented:
excellent thoughts on empowerment and misogyny
Thanks, Scott, for reblogging it. Glad that you liked this post 🙂
I see this is a reflection post.
How we do these reductions in Violence could also use some language…….who sparks your interest?
Thanks for your comment, ridicuryder. With regard to who sparks my interest, well, it is a very interesting questions. I think I got inspired to write this post by men and women I’ve met in my life, by other posts and online sites I’ve encountered and by different movements and campaigns I’ve seen, including SlutWalk etc. Things like that: https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/moderation-as-a-form-of-censorship-and-misrepresentation-of-opinions/ And like that:
Also, the reaction (or lack of reaction 😦 ) from some movements and campaigns against violence (e.g. White Ribbon Campaign) on my numerous requests to expand their purpose by taking a more balanced and holistic approach to inter-personal violence (e.g. for White Ribbon Campaign to work on preventing violence against both men and women etc.). It was something I was arguing for years – unfortunately, always meeting a brick wall of silence at the other end 😦
Sorry to hear of the brick wall………some organizations have problems seeing past their pre-packaged agendas.
Will check a few of these out.
Actually, I started writing this post as a comment to http://broadblogs.com/2013/01/07/a-raped-girl-is-a-joke/ . Once I posted my comment I realised that it started turning into more like a separate post, so I got it slightly modified and posted on my own blog. It looks however that my original comment on broadblogs has been removed after moderation.
With regard to my thoughs on environment and cultures, they have been influenced by Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs and Steel”. Diamond’s main argument is that the origine of difference between cultures cannot be laid at the door of race or inherent features of the people themselves. He argues that they stem instead from the environment those cultures originated in and from the differing natural resources avaiable to the people of each continent. His arguments are based on an ambitiours synthesis of history, biology, ecology and linguistics. Very interesting book. Highly recommended.
Great posting- very thought-provokinig. Empowerment in all forms is key.
Thanks for your comment, kimberly. Glad that you liked this post 🙂
Just came across an interesting comment on another blog which related to some aspects of this post. Therefore I got it copied in here:
“Women in Western culture are subject body-shaming that is relentless and every bit as oppressive. Every media outlet — many magazines edited by women — focuses attention on our dress, body size and shape, skin and hair color, the length of our nails, the length of our skirts, the height of our heels. Women think it’s normal, even desirable, to inject poison — aka Botox “cosmetic” into their faces so their facial lines, the ones created by (you know) having and expressing emotion — are controlled or erased. This is not some fresh hell!?
I laugh at these sorts of culture-warped value judgments.”
Interesting article, been thinking about it for a while.. empowering vs protecting women and i can see the issues but feel you overlooked big impact of culture, tradition, age… myself as a western women would be very distressed if someone discouraged, stopped me from doing what i wanted to do just because im a woman however although inconsitant – love that men want to be considerate towards me because i am a woman…
and if women needed to protect themselves – maybe learning some type of martial arts in a Jackie Chan sort of way would be empowering
Thanks for your comment. Very interesting point. As my response to your comment got too big for the comment field, I got it posted as a separate post – have a look at https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/fighting-violence-in-jackie-chans-style/
Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂
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