Monday, November 19, 2012

what has to happen, seriously

We've heard a lot of disrespect towards women, and, frankly, a lot of sexist stupidity, this election season. I think the fact that there isn't a serious discussion about gender equality on the national level in United States is going to set the country back. How? According to my colleague Barbara Kelley, who, with her daughter Shannon, has written extensively about young women entering the workplace, young women are being disenfranchised. Women do really well in school, but see themselves be bypassed in professional settings that generally are more conservative than higher education.

It's embarrassing to hear and read how American men talk about women, and it's an embarrassment to the country that the drive and skills of young women are going to waste.

Of course, not all men are sexist pigs. But, never do we hear the decent respectful men who are out there speak up against their sexist pig brothers.

The truth is that we won't see any real change until men speak up, publicly as well as privately. We won't see any real change until men are willing to do the work of changing attitudes and behaviors in others. People of color can't fix racism, they're just at the receiving end of it. White people have to fix racism, because they are the ones to perpetuate it.

We will have to get used to the idea that women can't fix the inequality that is based on gender. Men will have to do it. They're the ones to perpetuate it, and they're the ones who benefit from it.

In doing this work men will free women as well as themselves. Because equality isn't just about lifting up the group that has been kept down. It's about creating a world that is just, and a world that allows everyone to make choices based on who they are, not based on what others expect of them.

We're waiting, guys. See you outside the box, yeah?