Why do some men sexually harass women
Dear men, you will never understand what it means to be sexually molested as a woman
The #MeToo debate shows that many men obviously don't know how to deal with women talking about sexual harassment.
The author Tomasz Kurianowicz asks himself in his articleThe insecure manFor TIME ONLINEwhether men are able to understand what harassment means to women. He describes his own confusion and uncertainty about how he might be part of the debate. In the end, he argues that it is not the gender but the essence that should be perceived and that gender differences must be left behind.
I recognize this as a noble thought - but one that has little to do with the current situation in society. In my opinion, the discussion should not be about putting women in a victim role, leaning against all men, but rather saying clearly: Men will never know what it means to be a woman. Even less what it means to be sexually molested as a woman.
To be a woman means that professors at university are staring at your breasts
It's not just about sexual harassment, but more generally about how women and men are viewed and treated differently. And that's exactly where we have to start if we want to change something.
Even as a child I was constantly told that certain things were too dangerous as a girl, such as being part of the fire service or playing football. As a teenager, the boys were allowed to go out long ago, when it was supposedly too early for me as a girl. Even while studying journalism, I still had to listen to stupid, sexist comments from professors and colleagues. Professors staring at my breasts during conversations. Colleagues who reduced every success to my gender: More followers on Twitter - because of my profile picture. Collected a lot of statements in a street survey - because of my appearance. Got a one at a presentation - because of my outfit. Some of these statements may not even be meant badly in and of themselves. And yet they invariably reduce me to my appearance and hurt me.
[Also on ze.tt: Even girls believe that sexual harassment is quite normal]
Anna Sauerbrey describes similar experiences in her essay It felt like we were preparing for war for the Daily mirror. “Every sexist remark, however banal, reminds us that we are first of all bodies (...). They remind us of all the small and large violations of self-determination about this body, of the special socialization of this body and its special vulnerability. "
Sexuality as a weapon
The best way to see the sexism that is rampant in our society is the way women are talked about in public. If people don't like what women say or think, their sexuality will be attacked: their style, their figure, their age. Even when it comes to journalism: While my male colleagues criticize their style, spelling or simply their opinion, critics often attack my age or my appearance. This creates comments that journalists have been fucked too little or too much, depending on the topic, or that they are too ugly or too beautiful for journalism.
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I honestly think it sucks that some people believe they can use sexuality as a kind of weapon to attack women.
[Also on ze.tt: And what about the men?]
In my experience, there are men who either don't understand what sexism is or who trivialize it. According to the motto: Was meant nice, take it as a compliment. And then there is the breed of self-proclaimed understanding of women: They may wear feminism shirts or stand up for tough women, but when discussions are about understanding, then they lack it. You think you've seen it all yourself. But they rarely get a rape appeal or a derogatory comment about their sexuality. They don't know what it means to worry all the time about which man is dangerous and which is not.
That doesn't mean men can't do anything
While men can never really understand what it means to be exposed to constant sexual degradation, they can still listen and try to understand first.
The author Patrick Catuz describes onpurpurr.at, what else men can do: “It is not our place to sit back and say that you haven't done anything wrong. It is our responsibility to change that. With our behavior towards women, but above all towards other men. (...) I hope that this will also attract more men to take action against it openly and directly. We are in the best position to do that. Exactly where the problem has its root. Among men. "
Regardless of whether sexism is currently being discussed in the media discourse or not, we all have to work to keep our society moving. In fact, where the sexists have no room to express or implement their thoughts. That has to become a constant, regardless of whether there are debates about Harvey Weinstein, Taylor Swift's groper or Kesha's producers.
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