As I read all the hype about the shootings (another senseless tragedy) the same crap is happening as it does every time. The special interest groups get all up in arms and use the victims to push their own particular agenda, half the First World takes to social media to play the “Blame Game,” and the rest of the world carries on.
This particular incident started the #YesAllWomen hashtag, which began trending immediately after the shooting, got picked up by the major news media, and promptly deteriorated into a misandric (I may be making up a new word here) and misogynistic hate fest that dishonours and marginalises the victims (the majority of whom were men in this case) and completely hijacks the real business of dealing with the aftermath of senseless, stupid, preventable tragedies like this.
The Federalist article caught my eye – number six on the list of “10 Asinine Things…” puts a whole different ball into play. Which nobody is catching. Apparently, shiny, floaty little soap bubbles are preferable to a real ball (though one would think that this particular “ball” is a hand grenade the way the world in general avoids it). That is, someone is (yet again) whining about #everydaysexism as if there is a causative connection between wolf whistles and sexual assault… or ogling and sexual assault… or sexual innuendoes and sexual assault… and so treats the former with the same degree of gravity as the incidents listed in #6.
No. No. No.
Correlation is not causation, as one can see from this funny little graph.
People use statistics to prop up their position, and as Mark Twain famously stated, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there’s statistics.”
Women do these sexist things, too. Oh, yes. They do. We stand in huddled little groups at parties, around the water cooler, in the bathroom, on the beach, over coffee… and we’re SEXIST. Yes, yes we are. We discuss pecs, butts, faces, hairlines, abs, six-packs, voices, hands… we dice, we dissect, and we diss or delight in the object of the discussion. Women are just as sexist as men. We just do it differently. Furthermore, we discuss men AND women in this way. We might not wolf whistle at the buff construction workers on the scaffolding across the street, but we surely will have a more-or-less lascivious discussion about that buff dude over coffee.
So my point?
Correlating #everydaysexism with the use of sexual violence (an act of humiliation or power-mongering) is just plain ridiculous. The former is most often an acknowledgment of certain characteristics of an individual (whether appreciated or not) and the latter is a deliberate act of subjugation; dominance of the strong over the weak. This is a HUMAN propensity, not a gender-based phenomenon. A woman will do the same thing – we’re just sneakier. We tend to be underhanded, manipulative, and sneaky – though women DO use violence when it suits them to do so. See the research of Erin Pizzey, for one.
Individuals who do these things are wicked, whether male or female.
I have a two-stringed guitar. The first is that violence is a human propensity, not a gender-based one. And the second is that INDIVIDUALS perpetrate this evilness, not GROUPS. Someone recently posted on Twitter – “Anyone who will not distinguish between ‘man’ and ‘men,’ or ‘woman’ and ‘women’ is dangerous.”
I agree. Out of that consistent habit of tarring the whole group with the same brush this gender war has grown to the point where rhetoric, vitriol, and strident accusations dominate discussions instead of problem-solving, collaboration, and finding points of accord. Men and women are different, VERY different, and expecting one to act like the other is a recipe for disaster. Clearly.
Hatred is hatred. Whether directed from a man to a woman or from man to man, or from woman to woman or from a woman to a man. It is all the same. These are not emotions unique to gender, they are emotions common to human beings.
If we remembered this and dealt with situations as they are – the work of a disturbed individual – and not as if one person represents half the world’s population, just imagine what we could accomplish together to move forward toward a future where these tragedies don’t happen.