“Ask 10 men what they do to keep safe. Now ask 10 women what they have to do to be safe.”
~ Jeremy Meltzer
While I’m on holiday, I want to share with you things to ponder by Australians speaking at the last TedX Melbourne. Jeremy Meltzer’s words need to be repeated, shared, and OWNED by everyone – men and women alike.
I think of what my normal is to be a woman. Since I was young, I have known how dangerous it can be to be a woman. Whether it was how short my skirts were because it would be too dangerous to dress a certain way. How to carry keys in my hand so I could gauge the eyes out of a male attacker. How never to drink too much with a man I’ve just met because it’s never guaranteed that a man won’t force himself upon your more vulnerable self. How I had to practice my loudest yelling voice to holler to the world (in hopes it might help) when there will always be men who, as long as I can remember, will follow me down the street in their car, or freely say offensive things to me as I walk past them down the street. How the women in our families are as likely to blame us, to not fight for us, when we ourselves are abused, because that’s just the way men are, that’s how they’ve been treated, because our honor is not worth defending.
“Where are the angry men? Where is so-called men’s strength…when it is so dearly needed?”
I think of how I received this month’s issue of Real Simple, a magazine one might assume supports feminism, and yet the top story was “back to basics beauty – easy steps to looking great” – meaning, here are the COSMETICS you must war in order to be beautiful. That you as a woman are not beautiful just as you are. Imagine if a men’s magazine featured the same story. I can hear the guffaws from here. Men are ridiculed for that which women are impressed upon from a young age is a “rite of passage” – rather than decorative, which is how I believe cosmetics should be treated, we are told that we are incomplete. How many times have you heard a woman say “she’d be really pretty IF she wore a little mascara/lipstick/etc”. Christ. We do this to ourselves.
The mentality that we are not enough has got to end. The mentality that “this is just how things are” has got to stop. It’s up to each one of us.