Annie Tayleur

One for the Men…

I work a lot with women these days. Birth work and positive body-awareness and now moving into sexuality education… it sort of lends itself to a female-identifying crowd in our society.

But every now and then- usually as part of a couple- I get to work with men.

And generally it’s great.

They’re always lovely guys who care about their partners and do their best to be open to the information I’m pedalling for their benefit.

And you know- I grew up with nice boys. Honestly, I didn’t even realise the depth and breadth of total assholes that were truly out there until well into my adulthood. For no other reason than that the boys I knew were generally funny, sweet, caring kids who in some instances were quite intimidated by the idea of female wrath.

But today I feel like I just need to say a little something to the lovely, nice guys out there. The ones I know and love personally, and the ones I don’t.

I really hope you actually read this and not just tell your wife/ girlfriend/ sister/ friend that you will.

And I must say, having seen the mud SOME self-professed good blokes have slung at the Instagram-based walls of the likes of the much more sought after Clementine Ford, Constance Hall, Em Rusciano and various others- I’ve been hesitant to write this for some time.

However, I feel like maybe this needs to be said.

Even with my quiet little bloggy voice, I think it does.

So here it is-

It’s time to get uncomfortable fellas.

Things have got to a point where you need to get… uncomfortable.

And truly, even with my dearest male friends and family, I’m so tired of tiptoeing around this issue. You don’t need to be treated with kid gloves any longer. The gloves are off.

I get it- you’ve never raised your hand in anger to a woman. You’ve perhaps barely even raised your voice to one. You’re as upset as the next person that women seem to keep turning up assaulted or injured or dead. By and large, you’re not the problem here.

But things run so much deeper than that.

In a culture that allows for more than 20 women to die (like- actually DIE- take a beat to think about that fact) at the hands of men within barely a 6 month time frame… In a country where as women we don’t feel safe getting out of the car in our own damn driveway let alone walking anywhere on our own, particularly after sundown… In a society where we are only safe within the four walls of our own home- oh wait- no we’re not… In a time and place in history where we can expect- not just worry that but EXPECT to be: cat-called, verbally or physically abused, sexually assaulted, followed home AND repeatedly condescended before we’re even in our mid-teens. If you’re a good guy- being simply ‘not part of the problem’ is just not bloody good enough. You’ve just got to be part of the solution.

Well, what the hell does that mean?

I’m glad you asked…

It means it’s time to get UNCOMFORTABLE!

I see you there at the barbeque when a female friend brings up one of these ‘feminist issues’. Where she burdens the room with the seriously un-fun issue of violence against women. Sorry, but you’ve got to start entering into that discussion.

I notice the way you go quiet when there’s mention of women’s rights on the news or the public domain. Sorry mate, I know it’s not a super cozy place to be- but every voice belonging to a male with a conscience needs to be raised in protest, alarm and- dare I say it- rage at the current circumstances we’re faced with.

I’m aware of you keeping your head firmly down whenever you hear a sly sexist or downright derogatory comment or joke out of the mouth of another guy. Sorry again, but if you don’t tell him he’s a dickhead- who will?

I’ve read your ‘not all men’ comments and I’ve seen this idea float along behind your eyes when I’m speaking. And frankly, SORRY but it’s not about you mate. Stop taking the fact that women are angry as some sort of personal attack on you. Stop worrying about your fragile ego and get on bloody board! Why aren’t you out in the street demanding justice instead of reflecting inward all the damn time? Women aren’t pissed off with YOU. But we are pissed off with the culture that allows you to think your hurt feelings are more important for discussion than our dignity and our lives.

This whole thing is not a men versus women situation.

It’s a shitty cultural norm situation.

It’s a good versus evil situation.

You know what they say is the only thing evil needs to thrive…

So PLEASE- as a woman and as a mother of tiny women- I implore you, get OUT of your fucking comfort zone.

Sit down and actually watch Nanette.

Drop the ‘not all men’ jingle playing in your head and start wondering about the state of all women instead.

When you hear someone say something that’s total sexist crap or even just a bit suss, make sure they know about it!

Talk to your sisters, realise your privilege, open your hearts and meet us where we are at.

I realise that to some extent our societal bubble has made you believe that if something is not strictly business or politics, light-hearted, crass, gory, funny or purely logical, then it is no business of men. But this is your business. Beyond that, it’s actually your problem. It’s a men’s issue. Seriously, there’s literally nothing we as women haven’t tried to stop this shit. It’s time for you lot to quite aggressively step up.

You are our counterpart on this Earth. I realise it’s not easy and it’s not comfortable. But this is actually a problem only you can fix. And women are not comfortable either. We are figuratively and sometimes literally battered and bruised by the way things are. We are broken-hearted and we are livid but we are still standing.

So please stand with us.

Better yet, please stand for us.

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