Men's Issues with Women
The irritating and agent free term 'violence against women' has an
equally irritating best friend called 'women's issues'. How annoying.
'Men's issues' isn't a thing, of course, because women are apparently
the ones with all the stupid problems and struggles and difficulties and
life disasters. What do you think of when you hear 'women's issues'? I
hear periods and boobs and tampons and pregnancy, right? Absolutely
incorrect. 'Women's issues', apparently, are rape, sexual abuse,
domestic abuse, the pay gap, sexual assault, revenge porn,@*m tributes,
street harassment and everyday casual sexism. Things that mainly men do
to women, communicating that perhaps women aren't the ones with the
issues, but (some) men are.
If a man chooses to rape a woman, he has issues with women. If a man
decides to beat up his pregnant wife, he has issues with women. If a man
yells "NICE TITS" to a woman on the street, he has issues with women. If
a man coerces teenage girls into prostitution, he has issues with women.
If a man expects his partner to do all the housework and childcare, he
has issues with women. If a man gropes a woman on his way to the bar, he
has issues with women. Clearly the men who perpetrate these things have
issues. With women. Yet we call them 'women's issues'.
These 'issues' are not women's responsibility to sort out. The person
with the issue is responsible for sorting their own issue(s) out.
Talking about these things as disproportionately effecting women is one
thing; a good and necessary thing. But packing it up in a neat box
labelled WOMEN'S ISSUES and shoving it in places on newspaper websites
devoted to 'women' things like (ugh) the 'Daily Femail' or 'Independent
Woman' is not. The terminology merrily sidelines the actual issue (men's
misogyny) and shows it to the general public. and to all men, as a
separate entity, not as mainstream news, not as something that involves
them, not as part of the whole human experience. It tells men that it is
an irrelevant issue for them, and it tells women that they'd better pay
attention to all these issues in case any of them magically happens to
them. The term erases the men who cause the issue, from the issue, and
plops all of the responsibility into all women's hands.
Labelled as 'women's issues', men have an unconscious pass to pretend
that it has absolutely nothing to do with them and continue with their
lives, undisturbed by the staggering amount of male violence against
women that their peers are participating in and that we all, to a
greater or lesser extent, enable.
Another small point is that 'women's issues' effect everyone. They
effect society and how we are all in it: the men who cause the problems
in the first place, the women who are effected emotionally, physically
and financially by the behaviour, the children she goes on to raise, and
how she parents those children, as well as osmosisising into her work
place and community. Certain experiences I've had at the hands of men
have changed my perspective on my world and how I behave in that world.
This has in turn changed my relationships and my relationship with my
family and friends, how I interact with men, my ability to trust, my
thoughts on being a parent, my thoughts on religion, my attitude towards
romantic relationships, security, my position in the world, my job, even
my experience of my gym. Experiences I've had due to crappy male
behaviour has effected every part of my life - which, shockingly,
includes men. You don't have a shitty experience and then huddle off
with a group of other shitty experience survivors and live out the rest
of your days there in some sort of shitty experience commune. You live
on, as you did before, in all aspects of your life, but in a profoundly
different way. The way you experience the world and how you interact
with it changes, and that can't not have an effect on what we bring to
society at large.
As long as crimes and injustices perpetrated by a male centred
society are called 'women's issues', we are effectively giving those
perpetrators and potential perpetrators and useless bystanders a get out
of jail free card. We are saying don't worry lads, this doesn't affect
you. Rape, assault, revenge porn? Not your problem! It's not even about
you! Those are WOMEN'S ISSUES. And therefore obviously nothing to do
with a growing toxic male culture to which you belong.
All that the inaccurate term 'women's issues' does is help 'good' men
stay passive or otherwise ignore it, while telling all women that these
'issues' are their problem to deal with and nobody else's. Let's be real
and name them what they are; "men's issues with women'.