I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. A few things happening in the world have sort of catalyzed this in my head.I have found myself arguing for things I don’t really like very much. What I am saying is logical perhaps, but still wrong. I will give you an example…
Ray Rice is/was and NFL player who in February punched his pregnant, then fiance, now wife in an elevator, knocking her unconscious. There is a video. The NFL at first did nothing and now he is indefinitely suspended and the team he played for (The Baltimore Ravens) have terminated his contract. These are the brief and rough facts. Here is what I have been saying about that. The NFL is sort of stuck, either they are a business run for the profit of their shareholders, or they are not. If they are, then they should take care to put the best product forward, and that would include Ray Rice. If they are somehow more than just a business, should they not, keep Ray Rice around, suspend him from playing for sure, but get him help. Get him into treatment, anger management and counselling. You see on one side, they have no obligation, on the other they do. I have further argued that the NFL, wants to appear to be option number 2, while really being only option number 1.
This is all true in so far as it goes. My problem is this, we have a problem in our society. Men have created it, the media have encouraged it, and all of us have allowed it. The problem is we treat women and their bodies like commodities. They don’t belong to the women who inhabit them, they are ours to look at, to touch, to take when we want. It is crap, it is insipid and insidious and it needs to stop. Ray Rice is not the problem, but he has shown us clearly that the problem exists.
The media portray men as stupid, but worse they portray women as objects. We live in a culture where rape jokes are laughed at, where there is an epidemic of date rape and ignoring the issue of treating women in this way. It has to stop. I don’t know how to stop it, it is so prevalent that I am not sure where to even begin, but the situation is bad. I used to think it would improve over time, but I don’t think that anymore.
Thinking like mine, was and is, part of the problem. I didn’t defend Ray Rice, but somehow was mitigating his actions, actually, I was simply ignoring his actions. I doubt Ray is a bad man, but he needs help. Vilifying him doesn’t help, but neither does pushing him off the shelf and turning to the next player, who has his own issues that we just aren’t aware of.
None of us, not one, is flawless, we all have stuff, we all have areas we aren’t proud of, are in fact ashamed of. I don’t want mine on the front cover of everything, any more than Ray Rice did. The media built him up and now eagerly tear him down. The media doesn’t actually care about Ray, or his wife, or any other women who are molested, abused, murdered, or objectified. They only care about selling their website, or tv show, or magazine (does anyone still buy those?). They only care about making money and since this has captured attention, they are totally in.
We need to change our culture. We need men to stand alongside women and say, ok this is enough now. Oh I get that there will be some glass house people throwing things, but we have to start somewhere. Women need to be seen as equals, all the way. We need to say, they can act how they want, dress how they want, do what they want and none of it gives men permission for anything. We are not entitled to anything, we are not owed anything.
The time has come, are you with me? I hope so.