Recently I got into one of those Facebook debates with someone I didn’t know. I wanted to assume the other person was a decent human being because of our shared acquaintance. But, as it happens with most social media debates, I walked away feeling more frustrated and disappointed in the state of our current social climate than anything else. It seems as though we say things on the internet that we wouldn’t say to someone’s face. It also feels as though our sense of common decency is slipping, and that we are no longer willing to hold each other accountable.
The aforementioned debate began over a BBC article about Gillette’s recent video…
My cousin shared this article asking for thoughts. I read it and watched the video and thought it had a good message. I didn’t QUITE see why there was so much outrage, but that didn’t mean others weren’t justified in their feelings. This led me back to my cousins thread, where a couple thoughts had been shared.
I took a moment to pause and wondered if it was worth responding.
I had to decide if I was going to engage in an internet debate. After wrestling with whether or not to respond, I felt like couldn’t let this sexism slide and responded. But before I knew it, my mother joined the conversation too.
Hours passed before my cousin’s friend responded…
I chewed on his words, and made one last response…
I never received a response to my comment, and I’m not all that surprised.
What has surprised me most about this, has been the resistance to being held accountable in this #MeToo world we live in. What is wrong with other men holding other men accountable for bad behavior? This video by Gillette says that some men are ALREADY holding other men accountable, but what’s wrong with more doing this? Women aren’t the ones (typically) teaching boys to beat each other up, to say inappropriate things to women, nor are they the ones (typically) silencing other women in meetings. We as women cannot fix what men are doing, but other men can (and should) speak up to one another.
Now, don’t get me wrong, women should be holding other women accountable too.
We should not excuse women being bitchy because it’s “that time of the month.” When our friends start gossiping about another woman, we have to stop the conversation in its tracks. BTW, Erica, did just this not too long ago while out with a group of her girlfriends. Want to know the best thing about this? No one got mad, the gossip stopped, and everyone STILL had a great time. We can take this even further though! When women hear that a another woman has been the victim of sexual assault or violence, we can stop the conversation from going down the “she deserved it route.” Instead we can empower the victim to speak up, or say that we hear your story, and we can that we’re sorry for their awful experience. We can sit alongside someone in their pain, and we can point out negative behavior even when we’re having fun.
Regardless of our gender, we shouldn’t make excuses for bad behavior.
I think some of the outrage over this Gillette video has to do with the fact that something has struck a nerve for a lot of people. Many of us want to say or do whatever it is that we want, but holding each other accountable makes us uncomfortable. Being held accountable means we have to make changes, and that the way we’ve always done it isn’t the way to move forward.
I hope we can be unafraid of being challenged to be better and do better.
Even if it’s difficult, I believe we need accountability. We are society that can make progress, but only if we are willing to make that progress forward. Society improves when more us improve. There was a time when segregation was acceptable, but it no longer is. There was a time when voting rights were only for white men, but it no longer is. There was a time when child labor was acceptable, but it no longer is. We still have a lot of work to do as a collective society, but if we all do our part, I’m optimistic we will become greater.
Growing with you,