So last week, I wrote this post, which was originally intended to be about victims of rape and abuse (both boys and girls) speaking out against the perpetrators of these awful crimes – an encouragement, if you will, for all to engage in conversation about the things we all face today as humans, and especially as girls and women (because I am a woman, and so I can really only express a women’s point of view). The post was read and shared a lot, and unfortunately, some people mistakenly took it as a man-hating post, which is not at all what I intended. I fully appreciate that women also play a big role in the way society is – women also abuse and molest children and put each other, and sadly, their daughters, down. What I really wanted and still want to do, is open up a dialogue about all these “sensitive” things - gender, sexuality, feminism, rape, abuse and inequality.
Of course, I got a few replies. Mostly all awesome. And all from women. I’m not sure if men just don’t read this blog, or if they are embarrassed/couldn’t be bothered to get involved in a discussion about sensitive topics which are affecting half the world’s population. Topics which may be bothering their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. It seriously worries me this silence from the male camp. How are we supposed to solve anything if we can’t enter into dialogue about it? There is quite obviously, judging by all this women’s anger around the world, a need for this dialogue to happen and for men need to come to the party and be honest about their feelings. Even if it angers us. Even if we don’t agree with each other, we all need to start speaking to each other – honestly and respectfully.
This morning I woke up to a comment on that post written by my friend, Roscoe – a family friend I’ve spent a lot of time with and whom I could almost think of as a brother… or at least a cousin. Roscoe was brought up by a strong, intelligent mom whom I hugely admire and has three equally strong and intelligent sisters – he’s a “modern man” by all accounts, with a wicked sense of humour. You may recognise him as the guy who made the boerewors cannelloni from Come Dine With Me South Africa, Season 1. Don’t let that deceive you though, the guy is kind, super smart AND he can write.
Anyway, I loved Roscoe’s reply to my post and to the other comments on the post. I might not agree with everything he says, but all of what he says makes sense – especially from a male perspective. I loved his honesty. You can’t fault anyone on raw honesty. Also, thank you for engaging with us ladies, my man! I think, really, what all women want, is to be able to feel safe and confident in all male presence, and as cliched as it sounds, to be equal. Truly equal. A great point Roscoe makes and which I totally agree with 100 000 % is how gossip channels and magazines enforce a “female gaze”, where women are compelled to compete with and judge each other. Hooray! Let’s listen to our men on this point (I know Andrew hates it when I read anything gossip-related, purely because it “dumbs” one down) – DON’T GIVE INTO THAT RUBBISH. Put that Heat magazine down NOW. Take the E! Entertainment Channel off your favourites list. It’s making your brain mush and it’s reinforcing the crap that restricts and controls us.
Without further ado, here is Roscoe’s reply. Enjoy. Engage. I know myself (and Roscoe) will be keen to see what you have to say.
“Good day Ladies.
I am a man. I have had a few discussions about this topic and I see here not many of the readers are men. In fact the debaters of this article are all women. So I thought about contributing to this issue by starting off:
I will never understand.
I will never know what it feels like to carry a rape whistle. I will never know what it is like to ‘fear’ the approach of every man*. I will never know the inequality that I have been subjected to in a job position due to my gender. What I do know is this: We live in the modern era where Cass said it perfectly, about various human races, across the globe, striving towards the ideology of an equal society for all. We are known as the ‘Millennials’, constructing a new future for ourselves and generations to come. We live in a time that is positive for so many reasons but it is always marred by the negatives such as this topic. We can all acknowledge that women in the past have been disparaged due to their gender. But I want to shed light upon the Modern Woman. This can even include our mothers as they are the ones currently experiencing our outlooks and actions we put out into the world, after having moulded who we are today.
The Modern Woman is anything other than simple minded, unquestioning and last of all, weak. She is driven to better herself for herself. She does not need a man to coax her into benefitting herself with what deems as sexual favours (From what I have heard women know how to do it better themselves anyway *turns into pillow and cries*. Jokes aside, I have to say that the Modern Women has achieved so much today that every single one of you who are lucky enough to contribute to this blog post, can be rest assured, you have accomplished a great feat: being Yourself.
Being Yourself, your true self, is everything that every person wants in this world. So if you feel the need to be a part of a movement such as feminism, that is your prerogative. Yes, feminism has been tainted with a negative image that women hate men. Many naive people will even categorise hippies to be apart of this movement. The sad thing is that the essence of feminism is lost due to this tainted image: equality for all.
If you use the movement to support an argument about women being objectified by the opposite sex, I am afraid you are your own worst enemy. Feminism does not call upon this aspect of society’s degradation as this is, in my own opinion, a cultural problem. As noted before, the Modern Woman does not have to succumb to any of these harassments as you have earned the right to let it affect you or not. You may stir up thinking “what about the rape whistle then, you even mentioned it earlier”. This is a crime that men, if caught, should have their dicks chopped off for. I will be the first to say that. But the word to highlight is that it is a crime. I have been forced to the floor by other men as they robbed and assaulted me. Should I now become an advocate for Social Elitism? Segregative States? No. I can’t say that I should do that, as I believe in social integration and that the improvement of education is fundamental in solving many problems.
Which leads me to this very point as to why there has been this outburst about feminism over all the social media platforms: lack of education. The reason why there are these men whom have caused these social rants and debates, #YesALLWomen #NotAllMen, is that they have not been educated on social code of conducts. They are your age old construction workers who give the pretty lady, walking by in a dress, a wolf whistle; they are your mind trapped men of yesteryear who think woman belong only in the kitchen and can not do things for themselves. These are all men who have not been educated to understand and to appreciate that, in fact, women are able to do a lot for themselves without the help of a man, if not more. It is these men that have taught their sons, who soak everything up as they grow old, how to behave and to project their impression/views about women. So in this regard I agree with Keri on her point about teaching young boys the correct manner in which to regard women.
A women being objectified should not have men being scrutinised by feminists as the objectification comes from the horse’s mouth: Women. “WHAT?!” I can hear it now in your minds. One letter: E. That dreadful channel, home to the Kardashians and the just as dreadful Fashion Police (YES! YES! YES!). Coming from the white elephants of tabloid magazines such as Hello, Heat Magazine and others, these mediums of portraying the rich and famous and their daily lives, bearing witness to what they do and wear is a prime source of the objectification of women. Sadly I have been witness to many dear female friends who lap up these sources of information and themselves join in on the teasing of “Ewww, what is she wearing or wow she is HAUTE”. I believe very strongly that women, when they dress, do not dress for men at all, but instead do so for the fellow female gazers who will remark on the latest trend that they are going for or what top she is wearing (apparently Zara is the winner these days).
Objectifying women is also misunderstood for appreciation. Yes, we know that groping is not your favourite way of flattery. But when a man does look you up and down, if not even to turn his head as you walk by, this should not be a reason for you to cry “pig”. In fact you should own it as many women I know do. You have made an impression on said man, the way you have put together your outfit, your matching of colours and how it fits to accentuate what you deem to be your assets, then don’t hate on the man. Rather give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing what you set out for: being Yourself. Just to note – those guys who then proceed to wolf whistle you and give you jeering remarks goes back to my opinion of lack of education.
I can assure you all on this blog, I am no saint. I have been a part of that group of guys who have made a jokes about women (why are womens feet so small? to get closer to the sink). And yes, I have had one or two women upset with me due to the way I have handled a sexual relation with them. But does this make me a man whom a feminist wants to behead and put on a spike like Ned Stark? I sure hope not, because I believe in both those cases it has nothing to discourage women: stereotypical jokes are easy and a quick way to enjoy humour (men being useless with directions) and relationships have got nothing to do with the projection of how women should be integrated in society as they are personal with three sides to a story.
To conclude my point of view about this topic, feminism could do with a makeover, a rebranding of sorts, so as to get away from the tainted “All men must die” note. We, as a society, should consciously appreciate women for who they are and what they are worth. This does not mean that women have to go all barbaric like men and not shave or go without make up, as it is these feminine aspects which embody women as women and it is what differs you from us men. Just because you do these things does not make you weaker – it empowers your self confidence which in turn embodies your true self. I hope you all take something away reading this from a perspective of a man and if you feel like I am someone terrible, just remember that I am a man:
I will never understand what it is to be like a woman.
* I put fear in single inverted commas as I believe that yes, a lot of men have got the intentions of only gaining a sexual purpose with you and this is basic primal instinct. Yet women have the same urges and the same instinct when it comes to being ‘attracted’ to men instantly. BUT how should a man conduct himself in order to gain your number? To ask you on a date? To make you feel special? To what many hope to lead to, to be loved? This ‘fear’ of being approached by men is a debate all on its own in my opinion.”
You can follow Roscoe on Instagram here (@roscoeheat). Also, Roscoe will be starting his own blog soon. I’ll post a link when he does.
Happy Monday everyone!