A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.
~ Jane Austen
I was involved in two discussions recently that have left my a little gobsmacked and lost for words.
The first was regarding the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Whilst casually enjoying a sunny afternoon drink at the pub, this hot topic came up, and naturally a rather animated discussion followed. Obviously, the consensus was that sexual harassment or assault of any kind is wrong; however, the ideas as to how we should address this as an issue were fairly messed up.
The response that really knocked me for six, was that in certain workplaces (particularly male dominated workplaces), the best course of action would be to discontinue allowing women to work in these workplaces. After all – that would effectively eliminate the risk or incidence of sexual harassment against women.
The comment was intended in jest. But the point is not even whether it was a joke… it was that that is a thought that legitimately crossed the minds of people in 2016. That a way to prevent sexual harassment is to discriminate against the victim.
The second was a comment regarding the current presidential campaign in the US. I was speaking with a friend about Donald Trump and all the colours of crazy that man seems to be. His endless campaign of hate has us all overindulged on discriminatory comments and dangerous ideology.
So, I questioned who in their right mind would vote for him, when Hilary Clinton, who I have no doubt has her own faults – but at least seems to demonstrate some level of sanity, is an option.
His response was that Hilary Clinton was a woman.
He was very quick to add that wasn’t his opinion… possibly a reaction to the murderous look developing in my eyes… no, not his opinion he assured me, but he believed that would be a prevalent opinion in the US. And indeed, I am sure many of you will have had the delight of watching the interviews at the Trump rallies, one of which has supporters openly stating that Clinton is not ‘fit’ for the role, because she is a woman and might ‘have a hot flush’.
Are you kidding me?
I would prefer to have a temperature challenged woman running one of the world’s most powerful countries, than an ignorant clown on steroids.
How is it possible that we have these crazy ideologies running around off the leash? Have we backtracked as a species? Or did we never truly progress?
I had the pleasure recently of watching Constance Hall debut on The Project. She is one voice, that has the same ring to it as so many of the women who follow her as a public figure. She has a voice that questions, quite brashly, the place and position of women in our society – in particular mothers – but it is a question that can indeed to be applied to all women. All minorities. Every single person who has ever fallen victim to white male privilege.
We need these voices. We need voices to counter the ones telling us that Trump is a better option because he is a man. We need voices to counter the idea that the victim is ever at fault. We need voices to counter the idea that someone is more, because they were born white and male.
And we don’t just need them. We need them to be louder. We need them to prevail. We need to not allow the inequality, discrimination and privilege to win.
I think you know you are winning, or at least pushing in the right direction, when you are met with hostility by the opposing party. Hostility means they feel threatened and you are hitting a soft spot.
I received a Snapchat following Constance Hall’s appearance on The Project… a picture of the screen, with “someone needs to shoot her” as the caption.
And you know what…?
That made me smile.
Because it means we are winning.