Calling All Men
I wrote a piece on Face book recently, in response to the terrible murder of 23 year old Celeste Manno, killed in her family home in Melbourne by a man who had been stalking her for months. I expressed that it was high time many more men shouted out loud their protest at male violence towards women.
I shared my writing on a few other social media sites as well.
I was encouraged at the number of women and a few men who responded and commented, understanding my point of view that men needed to get more involved in protesting about acts of violence towards women perpetrated by men. I wrote that women like me had talked and protested about male violence for decades and we were tired of talking about it all the time.
However I was also disturbed that some men responded to my post and chose to accuse me of not liking men and that I was accusing all men of being misogynist abusers of women. Big sigh!
And I was even more disappointed that these were younger men who said this.
When will this conversation ever change?
Men of my generation would say such things, get very upset at the word ‘feminist’ and say that we were all man- hating lesbians and we just needed a good ‘f……. ! Somehow I felt hopeful that such conversations had moved on by now and that younger generations of men at least, would understand these issues differently. That they would not instantly go on the attack and get defensive as soon as women began talking about male violence. Statistics don’t lie and they clearly show that the numbers of male perpetrators committing acts of violence towards women far outweighs any female violence towards men, whether that violence be sexual, psychological, emotional or physical.
In his talk on ‘toxic masculinity’ Tim Winton speaks of being shocked at the misogynist attitudes of the younger men he goes surfing with, as he shares conversations with them while waiting for the next big wave.
“These boys in the surf. The things they say to me! The stuff I hear them saying to their mates! Some of it makes you want to hug them. Some of it makes you want to cry. Some of it makes you ashamed to be a male. Especially the stuff they feel entitled or obliged to say about girls and women.”
And he goes on to say,
“Toxic masculinity is a burden to men. I’m not for a moment suggesting men and women suffer equally from misogyny, because that’s clearly and fundamentally not true. And nobody needs to hear me mansplaining on the subject of the patriarchy. But I think we forget or simply don’t notice the ways in which men, too, are shackled by misogyny. It narrows their lives. Distorts them. And that sort of damage radiates; it travels, just as trauma is embedded and travels and metastasizes in families. Slavery should have taught us that. The Stolen Generations are still teaching us. Misogyny, like racism, is one of the great engines of intergenerational trauma.”
Good on Tim Winton for using his fame as a well-known male Australian writer to speak on toxic masculinity, misogyny and its disservice to men as well as to women.
I wait in hope for many more men to shout out loud from the rooftops ….
“Men, stop being violent. If you can’t stop ……get help.”