Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. This Ted Talk was published on February 11th, 2013, and in this he talks about sexism, victim blaming, and what we can do to not remain silent and complacent.
“In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
This is what people see as they commute to work in Philly.Hollaback Philly is absolutely doing it right.
The romance industry conflates finding love with looking a certain way, and it’s hard even for the strongest of us not to internalize messages about the way we look. And worse, these messages are normalized. Just think of things people say when they are getting ready to date someone: ‘He’s cute,’ ‘He’s short,’ ‘He’s kind of chubby,’ ‘He’s tall and fine.’ Or men: ‘I prefer slender girls,’ ‘I’m not really into fat girls,’ ‘I prefer Asian chicks,’ and on and on. It is completely acceptable to say the most appalling things about the way people look when it comes to dating, and if someone is called out for it, their opinion becomes a matter of ‘preference.’
What gets ignored in calling this level of categorization ‘just preference’ is a history and culture of mainstream advertising that impacts our psychology, causing us to actually want to respond to certain things over others. It’s hardly a coincidence that people are attracted to images of femininity that have been beaten into their psyches….We are taught to prefer certain things over others, and when we repeatedly see the same exaggerated images of femininity and masculinity, we internalize a specific standard of beauty and begin to strive for it unconsciously. Considering the exaggerated nature of these kinds of images, preference is not really a ‘preference’; it is more like a culturally sanctioned fetish.
|—||Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life|
“The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy. What do I mean by legacy? Well, for the past few centuries we have defined beauty not just as health and youth and symmetry that we’re biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures, and femininity and white skin. And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it’s a legacy that I’ve been cashing in on.”
|—||Elizabeth Cady Stanton|
Men’s Rights Activists, why do you think people are laughing at you?
It’s not because we think you shouldn’t have rights or that your problems don’t matter. I want men to be able to wear pink and drink fruity drinks and wear makeup and engage in other perhaps unfairly stereotypical “feminine” activities without getting harassed. Custody battles should be decided fairly without defaulting to the mother because she’s stereotyped, because of her gender, as a better caregiver. I hate that men are raped and don’t report it because it makes them feel emasculated. I think that the concept of masculinity that’s being pushed by our society is really messed up and extremely harmful to men.
The thing is, instead of spending five minutes researching what feminism is actually about and realizing that it actually would help ALL of the above issues, that we’d actually be on the same side here considering you give a crap about women (which is, well, in question), you’d rather start your own counter-movement (often IN OPPOSITION to feminism) about how your own problems matter more. “Why are we not talking specifically, exclusively about ME, right now?”
Feminism IS NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN about hating men. It’s not about women taking over the world and stripping men of all their rights. If you believe that, you’re operating under a faulty understanding of the issue and should do some research.
When you force your way into this discussion with an intense focus on men’s rights (or rights, as society would call them), you misunderstand the issue at best and belittle the systematic oppression of women around the world. When the issue you bring up is, “But I’M always expected to pay for dates!” then yes, people will laugh at you.