I’m remembering sometime in the late 60s or very early 70s when I gave a talk at Grace Episcopal Church in College Hill on some neighborhood movement topic or other – this was early days in the movement. Matter of fact, we didn’t know it was a movement.
An older white woman came up to me after the talk and said – quite seriously – “How can you talk to men that way?” I’m sure I had just been my straight-up clear and direct self, talking the way I always talk. She had obviously been raised, as we all were, to believe men were smart and we were not. I had by that time – late 20s or early 30s – thought my way out of that set of beliefs.
Many of today’s women of every age are in a much different place. Our statements to each other are along the lines of ‘How can men persist in being so un-smart, so easily guided by their hormonal brains, blinded by their macho needs to prove whatever it is they think is proved through what they see as sexual prowess?’ Lots of jokes and laughing along these lines about guys.
I bring this up because of yet another story in the news today – this time another story about sexual assault in the air force. That story, in different locations, has been playing out for years hasn’t it? Add in Steubenville, Delhi, the ultra-Orthodox counselor in Brooklyn still in denial.
I really see much of this as the last patriarchal gasp of fear at losing their privileges in this society. But at the individual level, these guys have choices, and many are making the wrong ones, choosing the wrong values, losing their own humanity in the process.
And injuring, abusing, murdering us, from their horror at their own female energy. It’s time for a big shift in this behavior.