Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Women Must Be Wary, Lest they Tempt Men.

Sitting down to write this week, my thought are turned to a good friend of mine who was cat-called and then assaulted by someone in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. What was she wearing that provoked such a display?

If you can actually ask that question, and be completely serious about questioning her wardrobes' involvement in the incident, please send me your name, telephone number, address and and a photograph, and I will personally save you the effort and forward this information to the police. If you can fail to see what is wrong with the above situation, you are, in fact, part of the problem.

I am aware that as a white, heterosexual male, I am at the height of privilege. I am rarely followed by police, and can walk down the streets of Pittsburgh, and indeed most cities, free of harassment. My paychecks are higher than women and those of various ethnic descents for exactly the same jobs, and when I am out and about, I can loiter about to my heart's content without suspicion or making someone nervous.

I know this is due to my privilege, and that is why I talk about it. No one should be set on a higher pedestal than anyone else. That is why the best thing someone in my position can do is to become an ally. It is only when those with the advantages realize that those situations are in place around them will changes actually be made to level the playing field.

To that end, I admit I am not sure if it has become more prevalent throughout the city, or if in fact I am merely more attuned to it, but I think that the systematic repression of females has come back with harder force. In between the "harsh" punishment being faced by a few football players for beating the women they are with, and watching and hearing about the comments that are being directed towards women on a daily basis for only walking down the street, I am ashamed of my fellow man. This is not what men do.

Much of this seems to be rooted in the idea of the "Real" Man, the uber-masculine figure that centers on the idea of respect and saving face. Aside from the obvious comments to be made about such clowns compensating for a natural lack of manhood, let's take a moment to discuss the history that led up to it being "acceptable" and "commonplace" for cat-calling and similar actions to take place.

Men have always been combative, and the contemporary urban aspect of calling out to women has its roots in early Victorian society. In that time, a woman was considered a man's property (born as property of her father and brothers, and then after, belonging to her husband.) If a man were to make such comments that are made now in that time period, it would have been completely acceptable for the woman's father, brother, or husband to call him out and kill him in a duel.

Advancing this argument further, the idea of a woman (or indeed any person) being property went out completely in the 1860's.  I am not necessarily suggesting that men should be maimed for catcalling, but the mental image that the idea invokes is fairly pleasing.

My suggestion is that men in contemporary society should instead evoke an even earlier time period, that of the caveman. In that way, the woman was the nurturing role, while the man was the hunter. Now, these gender roles are antiquated, except in one aspect.

As a physically stronger body, it was considered the man's job TO PROTECT. I am not saying to dress in a costume and become a caped crusader, but when you see something occurring on the street, step up. Let the offending party know that isn't acceptable behavior. It is only by others stepping up and standing with those already struggling will any change take place.

One final closing thought: Many of these men who commit these offenses say that they love women. To this I reply: When you love something, you nurture, cherish, and protect it. You know no love.