I’d prefer to change the dialogue from ‘war on women’ and ‘war on men’, to ‘conversation for peace’. War means one side loses, and that’s not right. We all can win. We all need to win.
The dialogue coming out of social media lately is full of ‘men vs. women‘, when the core issues are actually ‘misogyny vs. respect’ and ‘compliance vs. integrity’. It seems the struggle to see women’s rights from a perspective of respect and love is one that applies to women and men alike.
Part 2: Respect and Integrity
“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.” (wikipedia)
Feminism does not equate to women behaving any way they want without consequences. Taking responsibility for my actions is part of growing up… as a feminist I am responsible for what I do, say, and think. I still need to consider how I affect people around me. If I say that I deserve to be treated with respect, then I must treat people with respect, in order to live with integrity.
To be responsible human beings, in touch with nature and the way human beings function, women must understand that men become sexually aroused sometimes. For women to insist that we ‘ought’ to be able to dress in very little clothing and never receive undesired attention from men is ignorant. I’m not preaching morality nor laying blame; I’m mentioning the irrationality of the concept that all men would consistently and perfectly override their biological impulses. It’s statistically improbable. Besides which, what is the point of wearing skimpy clothing? Competition? To get attention? There are sports to play for competition, or talents to nurture. If you want attention, ask someone who cares about you. All men and women can attempt to live with integrity, and learn to accept that no one will do so perfectly.
Accepting biology and imperfection is Not a free pass for men to disregard social mores. I hope that in our culture it is increasingly viewed as repulsive and inappropriate, even embarrassing, to make even slight suggestions of sexual advances toward women who are unknown to you. To act with integrity, men must treat women with kindness, if they expect women to treat them with kindness. Part of that kindness is helping women feel safe. Hollering and whistling at women makes many of us feel unsafe. Giving us plenty of space in line or on the bus, not asking our name or where we live, and helping us if someone is bothering us all can help women feel safe.
What does it mean to be a person of integrity? If you are a woman or a man who wishes to support women (our mental, physical, and spiritual health; our rights, privileges, and freedoms; our souls and expression of self), then you will refrain from making comments which are insulting to any woman, and you will speak out against comments which are made about women in your presence. “Please don’t say that,” or “I find that disrespectful” are enough.
You will respect women you meet, honor that we have interesting life stories, power, and capability to create wonderful things (architecture, art, systems, mathematical concepts, fantastic inventions, marketing strategies, dreams and visions) and treat us as such. Picture how you’d treat the person whom you hold in the highest respect and treat all women that way.
Whether you’re male or female, dating a male or female, please treat your partner or girlfriend/boyfriend with love and respect. It’s not ok for women to treat men badly ‘because they’ve done it to us!’ and it’s not ok for women to treat women badly because ‘Of course I love women, I’m dating one’, just as it’s not ok for men to treat women badly.
I’m feeling good about feminist integrity and respect.