By Lori Day – We need to talk about Sam Rockwell at the Golden Globes.
In an opinion piece for NBC News, Sady Doyle writes, “Sam Rockwell, one of the few men pressed to talk about #MeToo on the red carpet who stars in a movie about the aftermath of a brutal rape in a small town, stammered out a vague answer about the movement that said nothing about sexism: ‘I don’t really know the answer to that. But I suppose the issue is bullying.’ The issue, as a matter of fact, is men — male power, male predators and the men who cover for the predators in their midst or turn a blind eye to the damage they cause.”
Raise your hand if you are sick of men gender-washing abuse. (It’s hard to type with my hand up.)
Consider how often you hear the following:
- She’s a battered woman. (WHO batters her?)
- More men are murdered each year than women. (WHO is doing the murdering?)
- Men get sexually harassed/raped/beaten too. (WHO perpetrates the majority of those crimes?)
When men perpetrate sexual harassment or violence against women, it reinforces a pattern and culture of systemic oppression that is rooted in sexism. It constitutes discrimination (based on sex.) But it is not about sex. It is about power and control, and “keeping women in their place.” It deprives women of their access to basic rights like physical safety, equal economic opportunity, and sexual agency.
Women as a class have not systemically created a society that denies men anything. Women were not the architects of society, period. When men experience systemic abuse by other men, it may be because they are gay or black or Muslim or disabled or an immigrant. Otherwise, it is either random or personal. It is not an act against the male population, it is an act against Kevin or John or Alexander. In other words, it is not because they are men. And when men experience abuse at the hands of women, it is anecdotal, not an integral part of—or reflection on—the very foundations of human society.
This is why #notallmen makes women so angry. No one denies that all men are not abusive, or that no men are victims, but men have a luxury that women do not. It’s the same luxury that whites have and people of color don’t. It’s the same luxury that straight people have and LGBTQ people don’t.
So wake up, guys. What is done to keep women down is not “bullying.” It is oppression. And we can’t stop it—only you can. Your obligation goes well beyond not personally perpetrating crimes against women. As the beneficiaries of male privilege, your responsibility is to speak up on behalf of women and call out male abuse of women. TIME’S UP.
About The Author
Lori Day is an educational psychologist and consultant with Lori Day Consulting in Newburyport, MA. She is the author of Her Next Chapter, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center. She is also a regular contributor to Women You Should Know.