It’s not a good time to own a penis. In the last few weeks we have heard numerous and graphic accounts of the disgusting behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, a grotesque symbol of masculine entitlement fuelled by power, status and an ego that shielded him from any sense of consideration for the many women that he assaulted and humiliated.
We have seen #metoo filling social media feeds with millions of cases of women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
Today we have learned through a BBC survey that 50% of women have been sexually harassed at their work or place of study.
Yep, too many men are being fucking arseholes. But as shocking as these recent reports are the sad fact is that actually, it’s not particularly shocking. Not really.Now don’t get me wrong, the personal accounts that detail the reality of the kinds of abuse and harassment that women endure everyday, are shocking. But we know it goes on don’t we? And to a greater or lesser degree we are all complicit in creating a society where women feel that this kind of behaviour is something that they just have to put up with, regardless of how uncomfortable, hurt or humiliated they have been made to feel.
Since I dived headfirst into the dating pool (actually it’s been more of a bellyflop but that’s another story) I’ve been amazed by just how many proper arseholes there are amongst the male population. It seems that most women have at some point in their lives been with at least one man that:
- has been so jealous and insecure that they wouldn’t ‘allow’ their wife / girlfriend to have friends of their own, or even a facebook account
- was emotionally abusive and spent years telling their supposed loved one (often the mother of their children) just how ugly and useless they are
- was a serial cheat
- was physically abusive
Then there are the married men, those that think it’s perfectly acceptable to proposition single women that they know, to send them ‘dick pics’ because – yawn – they’re not happy in their marriage and their wives don’t understand them. They’re happy on Facebook of course, with their family days out and loving family portraits. (To clarify, by ‘dick pic’ I mean a picture of a specific part of their anatomy. I do appreciate that in this context any photograph of them could be considered a dick pic).
And then there are the sorry excuses for fathers, those ‘Facebook Dads’ that fill their timeline with pictures of them and ‘My World ❤’ Or, more accurately, their world for a day a week provided they don’t get a better offer. ‘Men’ that don’t play a day-to-day role in the lives of their children and fail to fulfil their financial responsibilities to the offspring that they were more than happy to create; men that use money as a means of trying to maintain their power and control over the woman that has realised she deserves better than the arsehole she ended up with.
Not all men are arseholes, of course we’re not, and there are plenty of female arseholes among us too. But how can the kinds of boorish, bullying, sexually inappropriate and downright abusive behaviours we are hearing so much about have been normalised to the extent that they represent the day to day reality of our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and colleagues?
I have a young son and I want him to grow up knowing that it is not acceptable to be an arsehole. I have a daughter and I want her to know that she should never, ever, tolerate the kind of treatment that appears to be normal, acceptable behaviour amongst far too many men. It’s not good enough. It’s not acceptable. We have to do better.
I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where #metoo and #everydaysexism can trend.
Let’s call out these behaviours wherever and whenever they occur. I don’t know about you, but when my daughter grows up I’m determined that I will be saying #notme.
Better Man – Pearl Jam