Last week on our Tuesday night Disposability of Men Convocast, we started our discussion with the breaking news sexual abuse scandal: the sentencing of serial sexual abuser and Olympic gymnastics team trainer Larry Nassar.
What does that have to do with our topic? A lot! The culture we live in allows the abuse, in effect, the commoditization of men and woman, rendering them disposable, in different ways.
Read this statement by the head of the Board of Trustees who—at the time—continued to support the President of Michigan State:
Here’s what @michiganstateu trustee and vice chairman Joel Ferguson said regarding the board’s support for president Lou Anna Simon in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal. https://t.co/nHcs6vV8mz pic.twitter.com/cbyQCCCfVc
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) January 23, 2018
In sum, “Well, the Nasser thing is just one piece of it and she’s a really good fundraiser,” so nothing happens. In other words, the President’s ability to raise money is more important than the welfare of the students and athletes in her sports programs.
That is precisely how disposability happens.
The end result is that the doctor’s sexual abuse of the women is swept under the rug. A complete acknowledgement of the myth that “women are just supposed to take it and shut up.”
Our group also fights against the normalization of abuse and the enabling of abusers. Whether it is football or soccer or boxing or hockey, money is NOT an excuse or reason for putting the lives of athletes at risk. Money is no excuse for allowing abuse/sexual assault on women. People are not disposable.
We see the very same thing with the disposability of men and the football. And it’s not just that. This is also how institutional sexism and racism works. It relies on people valuing their own needs and entertainment above others, even if the others are in harm’s way.
You don’t need everyone to actively hate black people or hate women. You just need people to not care. Or to not care enough.
It’s the same thinking that motivates a lot of people to continue to support Trump even though he espouses racist misogynist views. At least they got a tax cut.
It’s really important to understand how these issues are interconnected and how all these abuses are extensions of the same common philosophy—“good” people doing nothing.
On our ConvoCast, we discuss how difficult it is to change or address issues such as the disposability of men, women, and kids. And, you know what, we try anyway. At the Good Men Project, we realize that abuse is too huge an issue to be dealt with on one call, so there are calls all week including: #DisposibilityofMen, #StopSexism, #StopRacism, #ConsciousIntersectionality, #SexandRelationships, #MensMentalHealth, and #PoliticalActivism.
Each group talks about a piece of the puzzle, shares ideas, and works out ways to combat the issues.
Be a “do something” person. You can make a difference.
Photo credit: AP