Amidst the furore and the frenzy.
Somewhere amidst the furore and the frenzy, It seems as if people are losing sight of a few things along the way as the revelations of sexual misconduct, sexual abuse and sexual harassment continues to make headlines. I’ve spent the last week and a half ripping apart my thoughts, ideas and responses and reactions to the barrage of stories detailing accounts of sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct and one thing that I can say for certainty is they are not all the same. Yet they all stem from sexual stereotypes and endemic sexism. A sexism that is insidious, complex and deeply embedded in our culture.
It’s a virus. There isn’t a vaccine.
Every story and complaint published is merely a symptom of the disease. It’s like a virus that has embedded itself in women’s daily lives, in their homes and offices everywhere. Reporting and tallying the symptoms, might call our attention to the disease, but can it cure it?
This is a not an either or issue. We cannot ignore the subtleties and nuance.
Journalists can report the ‘facts’ of an event but that doesn’t eliminate the need for discussion, real statistical data, solutions, analysis and critical thinking.
The wolf wears sheep’s clothing too.
The public court of the press is the very same court that accepts advertising dollars and promotes the culture including sexism simultaneously.
We also cannot ignore the fact that the people in all of these stories – the innocent and the guilty – all the characters in every story, in every drama, in every interaction are simply human beings. For the most part, something that seems to be missing from the conversation is our humanity.
It’s not an excuse for anyone’s actions but it is a consideration. We’re human, we are not invincible. We succumb to addictions that range from drugs to our own sadness. We teach children gender stereotypes and behaviour both consciously and unconsciously.
It’s not them or they. It’s we. We are complicit and often complacent and an unfortunate truth is that instead of cooperation we enter into competition with one another. We are not all devils and angels. We’re both at different times and in different situations depending not necessarily on the action itself but the intention behind it.
We are human beings and we are mammals & primates – it’s science, human beings are animals with thoughts, feelings, emotions, hormones and biological drives (even for things like power.) We aren’t exactly the nicest species on the planet and can be downright cruel and insensitive. From grown-ups torture, war and mass shootings to team initiations to children’s playground violence.
Even the perpetrators with all their varying degrees of the offence are human beings.
Even when a society deems someone to be the vilest offender, they are after all a human being. Once upon a time, there was an idea that people who committed crimes could and should be rehabilitated. In all the stories, not everyone who acted inappropriately committed a crime.
After reading many articles, studies, and hundreds of people’s comments on stories and articles, what has troubled me the most is the realisation that the knee-jerk reactions to the stories are muddying the waters, they are also punishing people who had nothing to do with the offences, particularly in the case of people who worked with Louis CK. (upcoming article in this series – stay tuned)
Rape culture, victim blaming, inequality, slut-shaming, etc. They exist, I do not deny them and they deserve attention, a radical paradigm shift needs to take place, but the mob mentality, the public shaming, it might feel good for a moment but it is only a temporary salve for a wound caused by this insidious virus. If we don’t search for a cure, it will continue to spread.
Remember that some patients don’t show any symptoms.
This is the first of a series of articles on this topic over the next 7 days. This topic is just too large to address in just one article. Each day also includes a vlog, here is today’s vlog-
Please start or join the conversation in the comments here and on the vlog. If you find this information useful, please share with your friends and colleagues.