This post is inspired by a recent Washington Post article which commends actress Mila Kunis for standing up to Hollywood sexism by writing an open letter to a producer who threatened her career when she refused to pose semi-nude. This is a topic that deserves much more dialogue, and I am happy to see women speaking out. I know it takes balls to stand up. I know what it is like to risk a professional reputation to call out injustice. I admire that in all people, especially when I see that in women. So, this is not a criticism of the actress at all, but more of a call to action to all women, because Kunis’ open letter, in my opinion, stops short of what a proper mount against sexism should be.
Once again, the perp remains anonymous. Once again, the perp is given the luxury of seething in his own self satisfaction, knowing that she has more to lose from exposure than he. As every rape victim knows, her name will be dragged through the mud, and her reputation will be on the line to a greater extent than his. Women have been taught to remain quiet, and protect the anonymity and masculinity of the very men who act from a place of deep insecurity, and who do not qualify as men at all. Why are we still protecting them?
I am pleased that in the last few years we are bringing up this subject even more. Social media is making it possible for women to connect, speak freely and find support from both men and women. I am also thrilled to hear that my male friends are contributing to the conversation and expressing their own deep concern. It turns out that there is a lot of support against sexism, but once again we are not taking about the real problem.
As much as it pains me, the victims are not the problem. We express concern and support for the victims of course, and discuss ways how best to protect them. Personally, I don’t want or need protection, though I’m sure some women would disagree. Personally, I’d like to discuss the violators of our human and professional rights. Why do these men remain anonymous?
All women know what it is like to be shamed into acquiescence. We all understand the pain of silence, of protecting an offensive boss for the sake of the company, or for the sake of other female employees who might be perceived as weaker if one made an accusation against sexism. We all understand the anguish of laying down our own self-respect, for the sake of the office bully, the emotional terrorist, the male mentor, the office cry-baby, even our own fathers. What is the cost to us for protecting the fragile male ego?
We are all taught to speak out against sexism, but stop short of pulling the mask off that anonymous perpetrator. For if we rip the mask of fake masculinity off his face, he will be exposed, he will be compromised, he may even have to defend his own actions. For some reason, keeping that mask of fake masculinity on his face is of utmost importance. Maybe, exposing one man threatens them all. But maybe, just maybe, exposing one man’s insecurity, shame, desperation to be validated as a man, will freeze them all in their tracks.
What would the world look like if men had to answer for their own actions? What would it look like if the spotlight was on that perpetrator? Not just in court, but everywhere. What would the boardroom look like if that manager was called out, and had to explain why he finds it necessary for her to take a step back, so he can take a step forward.
In my opinion, men are much more fragile and insecure than women, they are simply coddled into believing they are strong. Men rarely have to earn the title of manhood, they simply are handed it on a silver platter the first time they discover they have a penis. They get pats on their backs from their father the first time they catch a ball, and are referred to as a man at age five. They rarely receive instruction of how a real man behaves, so trust me, they can rarely argue to support their actions. They are just never challenged.
Is that why we are silent? In my experience, I have never met a man who could stand up to me in an argument. I am no super woman, but I always speak my mind. I have been doing so since the age of five, and have never once apologized for it. I have lost family members, friends, employment, clients, boyfriends and husbands, for the sake of maintaining my self-respect. I am proud of that, and I will never apologize.
It is not my place to push women into doing something they are uncomfortable with. I realize it will take decades for us to finally have what we deserve. I observed years ago, that most women are broken, like a horse, into submission at a very young age. That first time we disobey a man we know isn’t right, and are forced to keep our mouths shut to protect patriarchy, we die a little on the inside. After a while, protecting masculinity becomes the norm, and rattling it becomes a moral crime. Even well meaning mothers automatically protect their sons, when they should be putting them in their place.
So, as hopeful as I am that more women will go well beyond just speaking about sexism, and start pointing the finger in the direction of the bully, I know I am asking for a lot. There’s a generation gap between women who are resigned to following gender rules, and those young ones who brazenly show the middle finger to patriarchy. I for one, am very proud of young women today. They are the most criticized, vilified and hated by society, as they are in fact, that last remaining threat to false masculinity. They act in their own self interest, they shun tradition, they speak up when inappropriate. They talk back, the over- share on social media, own their sexuality, and flaunt it in the faces of those who cannot have it. More power to them.
If I could ask anything is that we stop criticizing women who shine a spotlight on offensive men. If we cannot do the same, at the very least we can give them a supportive word, a pat on the back, a quiet congratulations. They don’t deserve vitriol, they deserve honor. In fact, that is the honorable thing to do.
I, for one am happy that more people are speaking up about sexism. And as little as I care for celebrities and starlets, once in a while I am impressed by the ones who are not afraid to speak their truth. Mila Kunis, this is not enough. That open letter failed to raise awareness of men who fail as men. In fact, they are the ones who should be placed under scrutiny. Let’s discuss the failings of patriarchy, fake masculinity, deep male insecurity, the fragility of the male ego, let’s dissect that for all women to see that there is nothing to be afraid of. Really, every time I spoke out against an offending man, he quivered in front of all office mates to see. That was usually enough to make sure he doesn’t cross my line again. But, allowing a bully to remain anonymous, only strengthens the bully. He now knows you stopped short of crossing his line, and by protecting his name, you made him braver to do it again. He will test another woman, with 99% certainty, that she too will cry foul, but never risk her reputation by exposing him. We live in an age of frivolous lawsuits, and I do understand the risk of libel. But I also know the power of social media, and how quickly is fuels a reaction.
My goal for TheGoddessPrinciples.Net is to show women that there is nothing to be afraid of. I want to show them to live life like there is no tomorrow, to push their own boundaries, make their own decisions, never fear judgment. I’d love for us to speak freely, support each others’ decisions and choices regardless of how we personally feel. I know we can be more, do more, thrive more, if we just dare to be free. Freedom always comes at a price, but the reward is absolute bliss. We all deserve that.
As always, No apologies, No regrets.