On the Good Men Project’s #StopSexism Social Interest Group’s weekly calls, moderated by Kara Post-Kennedy, we discussed the Foreign Press Golden Globe awards. In particular, why men didn’t speak out in support of the women…other than Seth Meyers in his opening monologue.
It felt like the women had exposed the secret and all the men were guilty one way or another. So if they kept quiet, they could ignore the elephant in the room. In fact, on our Facebook social interest group, one of our GMP writers, Paul Hartzer said it best: “Men always knew. We always. F%^&ING. knew.”
Why did/do men continue to remain silent? Allow sexism that regards women as abusable or invisible but never equal? Disregard their innate humanity? Not stand up to call out abuse? In a word, fear.
GMP writer Thaddeus Howze named it: A Society of Abuse
The truth is that we all live in a society of abuse, bullying, and manipulation. This probably not news to anyone. However, when we speak of allies in a cause, we don’t seem to see that the allies are under the same abuse system. “My way or the highway” is one of the dominant management theories in the workplace. For every person who needs a job to support their family, there is a line of toleration. Stay above it, and your job is secure. Go below it, and your out on the street.
Greater good vs your own good
This workplace reality causes onlookers to evaluate their participation, silence, or denial. If they speak up the chances are that both the abused and the ally will get fired. If the situation gets reported to Human Services, rather than an outright confrontation, there is still no guarantee. It all depends on the company’s philosophy and the power of the abuser.
Abusers and bullies have their own personal issues and pain centers that they take out on others – to prove their worth, release their internal pressure, or deaden the pain. These opiates, among men, appear more acceptable than therapies. Because…? Because addressing one’s feeling is feminine.
Duality is a real
Humans, and that means everybody, of every gender, has a masculine and feminine side. It is time we as a society get over it. Everyone carries the “x” gene. Everyone has the dual hormones in their system. Compassion is not a gender issue. Neither is empathy.
Dominance is learned
Dominance is assumed competitive leadership without compassion or empathy or collaboration. It is toxic and vigilantly guarded. It is a fear based leadership model and through the threat of firing, throwing your ass out on the street without income, health insurance, or stability, is huge.
Still, there is strength in community. Change is made when the whole group registers a complaint, choses not to support degrading conversations, not to laugh at inappropriate remarks – or make them. This creates a culture shift.
Workplace and social change
The Golden Globes address the workplace. The is country is not far different and we have to address the same issues of male silence. Socially, we can support each other, changing beliefs and behavior that will carry over into the workplace. It is the responsibility of everyone to educate themselves and end abusive bullying behavior where it appears.
We want to hear your point of view. Have you remained quiet and watched while a colleague is abused, diminished, and dismissed? How did you feel? What would you do differently now that you’re more “awake?” Or would you still find yourself at risk and change nothing?
It is very hard to stand up for “right” when your actions impact you and your family. When do you do it anyway? What is so important that speaking out is a must not an option?
What kind of fear renders silence and denial? Lossing your job? Violent retribution? Verbal dressing down? Rejection by your social group? By your family? By your church?
When you have stood up to right a wrong, how did you feel? What was the outcome? How did your family and peer group react? Did change follow?
Please share your story and help our readers have the conversations we need to have to build community and make changes that support equality for all and individual authenticity.
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