Yesterday. I’m in class when my instructor — a woman about my own age with a Ph.D. in education — says that this is a dangerous time to be a man, that we should fear for our sons.
The statement hit home for me, but not because I agree with her. Because it’s complete, utter bullshit.
“Now” is only dangerous for males who should have been stopped long ago.
My 16 year old son agrees. He’s not scared. He’s smart — and he knows that assault isn’t “poor judgment.” If you have the ability to assault someone, regardless of your degree of inebriation, there’s something much bigger wrong with you.
My guess is your son and most sons feel this way, too. Ask around. Almost every one of the men you talk to will say they’ve had a few too many beers, eaten too many wrong things at Taco Bell, taken too many wrong busses or told too many Uber drivers the wrong address. But they still made it home with their clothes in place and intact. What they haven’t done is assaulted someone along the way.
We women have been there too. I remember waking up one morning in high school after having too many drinks to see my parents leaning over my bed asking where my car was. I had forgotten the night before that I had one somewhere with me (yeah, I like beer, too, Brett), so I caught a ride home. It was probably one of the smartest things I’d ever done.
We women have also taken wrong turns, gone on the wrong dates, packed the wrong shoes, chosen the wrong door on Let’s Make a Deal, invested in scams, bought the wrong wine — all lapses in judgement.
What most of us haven’t done is try to force someone into a sexual situation. Because most of us understand, regardless of how much beer we’ve had, that you really want two for the tango — two people willing to take the dance wherever it goes.
If we’re looking for dangerous times, let’s fear for women. It’s always been a dangerous time for us, but not because of most men — only because of the ones who can find ways to justify assault. Oh, and because of attitudes that say the woman has to be making this shit up because that confident little powerful man must be telling the truth. He’s likeable, right? (That, btw, is surely open to debate).
I’d like to think “now” is a dangerous time for attitudes we’ve perpetuated, like the one from my all-male senators who are sure that nice, upstanding Yale grad who refused to answer simple questions and got really angry when a mean lady lawmaker asked him, well, anything, is the perfect person to rot on a bench in a judicial robe and forever remind me that our society believes the memory of a man who admits to heavy drinking over a highly educated woman’s. Maybe now is when we finally obtain and accept that we all have equal rights AND deserve equal respect and ask ourselves why we didn’t demand this long ago, like in the 1960s and 1970s when the U.S. society couldn’t pull its collective head from its asses long enough to adopt the metric system. Or ratify the ERA.
I’d like to think now is when both men and women do something about EVERYTHING, when we stop making excuses, stop sitting back and playing nice. When we take the Colin Kaepernick approach and make the sacrifice, if needed. And fight to ensure it’s never a sacrifice again.
Maybe now is when WE, as women, stop enabling a society that doesn’t value our contributions and intellect, and start calling bullshit on men who play the victim card (nope, don’t deal me in). Maybe now is when we stop defending men with tender feelings, because from what I’m seeing, no one gets to have those any more.
And maybe now is when we start questioning other women — our sisters — who still don’t get it. Who make matters worse by stating that other women are full of shit when they come forward with deeply personal accusations against a male. These are the same women who think their sons could be at risk of a false accusal or think it’s okay to support someone who wants to turn back the clock on women’s rights and everyone else’s too. These are women who accept things as they are, who won’t rock the boat. If we don’t confront them, it’s not just their sons we’ll need to worry about — it’s their daughters, too, — because their generation won’t speak up either.