First allow me to make some statements from the viewpoint of my beliefs.
All violence is wrong.
Violence against women is abominable and should be eradicated.
Most men are not violent.
The minority who are violent either have reasons for their violence (psychological damage, upbringing, street culture) or are rewarded for their behaviour.
We live in a sexualised society where women are demeaned through pornography (I have nothing against eroticism or graphic sexual imagery – sex is normal – but most pornography depicts women as sluts being bebased and abused).
Sexism is as bad as racism and leads to misogyny.
Women should be free to go where they like, wear what they like and act what they like without fear of violence, rape or murder.
Many men feel the same fear. They too are preyed on by these violent individuals.
Minority groups and gay men are also victimised.
How To Deal with this culture.
The main problem is that this attitude is firmly entrenched in most human societies.
In many parts of the world women are treated as second-class citizens, possessions or chattels. They are controlled by men, made to dress in certain ways, have FGM performed on them, have subservient roles, are kept from power and kept in the home performing menial tasks and producing babies.
Female education is a battle. Equality is a dream.
Even in liberated western countries there is little equality. Our CEOs, Politicians and Religious leaders are predominantly men. Women only recently were given the vote. Their status is still lower than that of men.
We still, as a culture, value macho male decisiveness and posturing over female intellect. Hence we elect macho fools with abusive misogynistic attitudes over sensible women and excuse their sexism and abuse of women. So Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Erdogan and Modi are elected.
The performance of these macho men is lamentable – one only has to look at the pandemic and compare the death-rates with that of female leaders such as Jacinda Ardhern.
Yet still we take macho sexist arrogant males over sensible females.
I spent thirty-six years in education, including head of the pastoral system and as headteacher, attemping to eradicate bullying, sexism, racism and macho culture (with great success).
It is not easy and cannot be achieved by tagging on a few lessons into a crowded curriculum. It has to be a pervasive culture.
The trouble is that many boys come from backgrounds and cultures which are sexist and misogynistic. They are brought up without respect for women. Women must be masked, covered up, consigned to cooking, housework and babies, have no power, are segregated and given secondary roles. They already have a negative view of women and do not see them as equal. Many cultures – particularly the Abrahamic ones – Islam, Judaism and Christianity, subjugate women.
Many boys come from streets where if you do not fight and stand up for yourself you become bullied, beaten up and ostracised. Gang culture values macho posturing and misogyny.
Some females encourage misogyny. They call each other sluts. They bully and they deliberately incite violence against other women.
Macho boys are rewarded with respect from their peers for their ripped bodies and violent ways. They gain status from being tough, rough, violent and sexist.
Macho boys are rewarded with sex. It is the tough hardnuts who get the girlfriends and sex while the kind, considerate boys are considered geeks and given low status.
Time and again I have had to deal with violent incidents and watched videos of these tough kids beating someone to a pulp. Very often the incident was incited by a girl and has a bunch of baying girls demanding even greater violence.
Our justice system and policing are sexist. Girls who dress immodestly or get drunk are said to be asking for it and are not taken seriously. Girls who are walking alone at night or going through dangerous areas are considered foolhardy and asking for it. In rape cases, girls who are sexually active are considered almost as if they can’t be raped and it is no big deal.
How to deal with it.
I do not think it is as simple as education or even getting males to take responsibility. Most males do. Most males are victims of this macho culture themselves. They do not support sexism or misogyny but if they stand up against the macho minority they become victimised, labelled as weak and bullied.
- We educate boys not to be macho
- We change cultures that peripheralise or subjugate women
- We bring women into positions of power
- We educate girls not to support macho culture
- We eradicate bullying
- We stop electing macho leaders and start appreciating the ‘softer’ skills
- We eradicate violence
- We strongly penalise bullying in all forms and violence in all forms, racism, sexism and misogyny
- We update our policing and legal systems
- We create real equality
I really do not think this is easy to solve. I think that Trump and Brexit have given power to violent groups of macho fascists, racists and misogynists. It has put back the climate of racial and sexual harmony a few decades. We were making good progress but the condoning of Trump’s misogyny, Johnson’s philandering and the open racism that underlies both leaders is all part of the same problem.
Until we change our culture, systems and voting patterns we are stuck with endemic racism, sexism and misogyny. It comes from both the top and the bottom.
Time for radical change!!
There should be no place for violence against women!!