This story popped up on my Twitter just now. It was headlined, clickbaited practically, with an almighty black & white “never”, in exactly the way you can see:
The summing-up referred to comes in the shape of a sharp, terribly revealing, terribly saddening, and for perhaps all women, terribly representative tweet which first appeared in October this year:
“[…] To live life as a woman is to live life on the defense.”
Isn’t that really, hugely awful?
The story from the indy100 then deepens the discussion by describing how one TSA agent said he was eyeing up the ID of another woman, in order to send her flowers to the address he would be able to memorise from the ID itself. A man tweeted back how terrible the flowers. The point of reporting the exchange was to point out – rightly, too! – how the man didn’t respond how terrible capturing private details for a purpose which had no relation to the job being carried out.
I responded thus, re the sub-editing*:
And I stand by these comments.
But then I had another set of thoughts, which I think it appropriate to share as a coda here to the hurly-burly of online real estate, and generally insensitive sub-editing, produced around the original and rightful opinions expressed:
You see, whilst I am uneasy about many of these things, for it is not in my nature to be black & white in anything, there is one thing I am quite rapidly coming round to finding myself in favour of.
I was ever a young man terrified of my emotional side because I realised the relationships – the dynamics – were posited all wrong. Not only did many men, the majority of us I am sure, believe we had rights which far outweighed any obligations, many women – though I am equally sure not the majority – bloody well just went with the flow.**
And my empathetic nature made it impossible for me not to see the abuses of power which have defined emotions and sex during all my adult life.
So if I have to, now, come down on one side or the other, it is to say – on the back of one of my tweets above – that the lancing of the Harvey Weinstein boil has released me from being the man I never enjoyed, anyway, the idea of manifesting.
After Weinstein I can now be a man without a woman – and still not feel less a man for all that.
I can be successful in business and work – without the support of a close journeywoman.
And I can be entirely neutral in all my dealings with women and men – without feeling I am letting the side down in any way; without that terribly sad, dry and empty feeling I am incomplete in any way, any more.
* Let it be said, I do not take issue with the tenor or content of the tweet under discussion, which is truly horrifying in its implications; and which should surely bring home to every man who has done this (I include myself) the impact such belief systems have on that part of the population which finds itself permanently having to defend itself as a result. So it is clearly not only wrong in all aspects of the matter, but also utterly utterly wearisome for any human being to have to undergo – whether unceasingly or even intermittently.
** Just because someone – generally a woman – acquiesces to a relationship, or a series of emotional activities, doesn’t, of course, mean there is agreement of the fulsome nature we should expect. Neither does to acquiesce on one occasion mean – as in all ethical contexts – this consent cannot be freely withdrawn.