I read with great interest a blog post entitled ‘Men Should STFU.‘ In fact it wasn’t just interest, it prompted a great deal of personal reflection. I do encourage you to read the original article as it covers a wider range of topics than the forthcoming text!
The blog post really did make me look inward, and I realised that I have fallen short of being the person I thought I truly was in terms of having a strong moral compass. I do consider myself to be courteous to all people regardless of gender, race or religion whilst at the same time being aware that danger hides in the most friendly of places sometimes.
So where have I lost my way? Well like a lot of people I am surrounded by those who do not have the same morals or standards as me. The odd remark about a woman’s body, a gay man’s dress sense, the colour of a person’s skin and more recently a third hand report of women not being recruited because they are just too difficult! I recently left a group chat that started to post very sexist memes (that’s the first time I have use that word in print and known what it meant!). It actually started to royally piss me off and get under my skin. So I left the group. And that’s all I did. I stayed quiet and left. No challenge to behaviours, just left.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to free speech as long as it does not single out an individual or group that would make them feel threatened in any way shape or form. I should be entitled to say that I do not like something or someone as long as it is not an attack on them personally. In 1943 Winston Churchill was quoted to say, ‘Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.’
Which returns me nicely back to my group chat that I walked out of. On reflection I should have said something and in doing so made those consider how their remarks would measure up against the virtues of their mothers, sisters or wives. It is likely that this particular group would have laughed it off, however, more than a few more mature ones would have reflected and considered their behaviour I’m sure. AND that dear reader is HOW changes in culture are made. One person at a time, inch by inch and step by step. Most of my children will grow up with an honest respect for their opposite sex and anything that lands in between. They are educated, coached and provided examples of what is socially acceptable, something that I was not growing up in the 1970’s. Just look at popular TV from 1975, it’s hardly an advert for social inclusion.
So thank you PainasPleasure for raising your own internal battle and the measures you have put in place to correct the balance in your life. Rather than just getting my own house in order, I do need to help others question their motives, not just open doors for my wife and think the world is a good place because she smiles at me when I do it. The slogan should not have been #notallmen but rather #onepersonatatime.