It’s interesting how most of these conversations start with “this is a tricky topic, but…” I don’t think it’s very tricky. I think that response is defensive and undermining. I also think it shows that people (men) are simply just terrified to talk about this topic (with women especially). We’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing and come off as offensive so we preface everything with “it’s tricky” or “I can only speak for me, but…”.
I think it’s pretty simple at the core: There’s a problem. It’s a systematic problem in America. It’s been around for an unfortunate length of time, and it’s that men, generally, have perverted and delusional ideas about women, their place in the cosmos and their place in society and culture. We live in a white man’s world. It’s designed for and by us, and everyone who is not us suffers because of it. I’m speaking generally, yes, but, generally, everything I’m saying is just simply true. It makes us feel guilty so we get defensive, but that’s on you. That’s no reason to deflect and try to shift some of the weight of today’s issues onto others. I’m not saying it’s those of us on this email’s fault that our cultural norms are pretty disgusting in a lot of ways, and that some maladjusted college kid took that to the extreme and killed people. It’s no one’s fault that he was a fucking sociopath. I’m just saying that the problem is huge. It transcends generations and has infected all of us and it’s a WAY bigger conversation that #yesallwomen. What a great launching pad for discourse though!
I think the #yesallwomen conversation is beautiful and important. I’m glad it’s happening. It has the potential to be a watershed moment in American culture. But I wonder if people will still give a shit in a month. America has become virtuosic in its execution of short term memory loss and, barring 9/11, the general population seems to forget the past and move on to the next tragedy/episode of the Kardashians at incredible speeds. It’s uncanny. I’m just as guilty as anyone of this. If I’m being honest, I’m a real piece of shit most of the time. BUT I hope the conversation continues. I hope it leads to real social reform and think tanks in Washington figuring out how to really help our women by creating a radical shift in how our culture both portrays and views them. I hope “sex sells” becomes an obsolete and archaic term that we look back on as a dark reminder of where our culture used to place its values. How do WE as individuals, as friends and husbands and brothers and members of society help to make all this happen? That’s a great fucking question. And I’m not sure.
We are a morally bankrupt society. There are still a lot of great people in the world and in America doing amazing things for the advancement of every minority. But, at the end of the day, the people making the real decisions that shape this nation are white and they are men (yes I know our president is black). And what matters most to them is not their daughters’ safety or confidence or liberty. It’s the bottom line. I know, super cynical. I know.
I’m not trying to be discouraging. We can, as men and men of faith, boldly join the conversation with vulnerability. We can admit that we don’t get it entirely and that, if we’re being honest, have been infected by the cultural indoctrination of sex and entitlement. We can help by continuing the conversation and helping take it beyond an internet sensation. Enough people getting angry can still influence policy in America. I think that most of the time, we’re just too comfortable to get angry.
Chris // Brooklyn, NY