When does it become obvious you are part of the problem? With the extensive and ongoing revelations surrounding Weinstein, and other men in positions of power, we’ve had countless commentary pieces and even a viral social media campaign, #MeToo. But what’s become most obvious to me is not these horrendous acts of sexual abuse, it’s the middle men: the ones who either don’t stand up to oppression or – even worse – don’t realise they are part of the problem.
If you’re finding yourself about to exit this article, or are just kind of bored of the seemingly endless stream of women writing articles or posts on social media about their abuse then, yes, you are part of the problem. This isn’t directed at Hollywood media moguls, or even men in positions of professional power: this is directed at the average Joe. The one who rolls his eyes when he hears the word feminist, the one who makes the sly jokes about women, the one who – worst of all – would say the words “I love women! All my best friends are girls” while they continue to knock them down at every available turn. They are completely ignorant of the reality women live in, and how their tepid in-between perpetuates this misogynistic culture, and it’s damaging. Ultimately, isn’t it the sign of true privilege when you can be bored of another person’s suffering?
The most worrying part of the Weinstein revelations is not the scandal itself, it is the myriad of defensive responses by men, and some women. It is the comment sections under articles that are choc-a-bloc full of men asking why didn’t the women speak up sooner? Ironically questioning the validity of their claims. The #MeToo social media campaign was an attempt to show them that sexual assault is far too common, that you would be hard pressed to find a single female (and some male) friend who had not been subjected to it. It is almost a fact of life that you will be assaulted in some form, and yet some men are completely oblivious.
Ultimately, isn’t it the sign of true privilege when you can be bored of another person’s suffering?
I remember explaining the fear to a past boyfriend who said he believed in equal rights, but wouldn’t call himself a feminist. Explaining to him the internal checklist you run through every time you walk down a street, assessing the risk of every situation you find yourself in, knowing that, even if you are as careful as possible, the risk of assault is always on the cards – any time of day or night. And he was shocked, terrified both for me and the possibility that he had ever done anything against my will. Him asking me, point blank, if that was the case was an awkward but surprisingly necessary question that every couple should be able to ask. The #MeToo campaign is trying to bring that same shock to every man across social media channels, hoping that they too will scrutinise their behaviour in the same way women are forced to do every day.
However, some men find this all very boring. A tedious topic for conversation, even when they can just scroll past it without typing up a comment or making a throwaway statement. But what if I’m bored? Bored of having to teach men what feminism is or – more importantly – that women are humans deserving of equal respect, opportunity, and pay. Bored of having to alter my behaviour to ensure that assault doesn’t happen (because it’s the victim’s fault, right?) Ultimately, I’m just bored of men thinking they are not a part of this debate, because whether they know it or not they are part of the problem. And if you’re bored of women talking about assault, then you’re supporting the system in which men get away with it.