Thursday, March 8, 2018

Me too much on International Women's Day 2018

On our publicly-funded commercial free Radio New Zealand channel yesterday one of the male guest speakers expressed his frustration with the prevalence of #MeToo messages in the media and entertainment industry and reckoned that this possibly explained why fewer people watched the Oscars this year as had done in previous years.

He was on the programme with a female host, who was standing in for the usual male host, and another female guest. These women then both tried to respond to his frustrations.

The female guest said that 'maybe the women involved are pretty sick of having to talk about the abuse they have suffered, and sick of the abuse itself,' or words to that effect, spoken with admirable restraint and minimal exasperation, although she made it clear that her frustration and disappointment with this guest's decision to blame women for talking too much about their abuse was greater than his, and justifiably so.

But then the host kind of tried to find a compromise position by saying that it is exhausting having to listen to so many stories of abuse, which was a little disappointing to hear, as really we have only been talking openly and at any length about the sexual abuse of women (and some men) in the entertainment industry and beyond since October, which is barely six months.

They're all men, right?
Hollywood women were reportedly advised to 'tone down' their #MeToo and #TimesUp protests at this year's Oscars.
So in a world where historically, for hundreds if not thousands of years (never mind six measly months) women have been made to listen to men talk about their shit and to shut up about the shit that men put them through, this man's complaint about six months of push back from women, the kind of push back that might help to not only stop the endemic culture of sexist abuse, but the above stats on the systemic gender bias in the film industry and awards system, is a pathetic reflection of the very attitude that allows such abuse and bias to continue unchecked.

Most men, those who don't abuse women directly, just don't want to know about those men that do, and so it continues to be up to women to stop abusive men, even when men have the vast majority of the power in all industries of cultural and political influence. That's the problem in a nutshell and the sooner we own it and speak out about it, women and men alike, the better we will all be.

Stand up for women, men, or stand against us, that's the message I want to put out there for International Women's Day 2018.

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