She for He – #hecancry

#mencancryMan crying. Source – guardian.ng

I just had a huge epiphany: That we, as feminists, may have been missing a trick.

I think one of the largest problems with feminism today (as in, its efficacy), is that the word often, without meaning to, creates estrangement. Men can feel isolated and like it isn’t something for them to be involved with…

I happen to believe that the missing piece is connection. Women and men need to see each other as individual people, that is the only way these barriers can be broken.

I was recently talking to a friend, who told me that I was more than the colour of my skin or the gender of the body I am in. That was a huge compliment, as I believe all great people can be defined by who they are, and not where they were born, their parents, their upbringing etc. At a certain point, a person surpasses their physical boundaries: Maya Angelou. Martin Luther King. Lana Wachowski. John Lennon. Prince.

Maya Angelou. Source – quote ambition

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

Men go through crippling difficulties with not being able to express emotion in a world that is too busy to hear. Many men die because of this lack of support, and connection.

sad man.jpgMan in pain. Source – blocksoflife

I am not saying women don’t have it hard. There are many problems for women to deal with in this modern age, too. Many that it may be hard for men to understand. In the same way women may never fully understand the difficulties they face. If you’re feeling a resistance to helping men, I get it. We feel unheard, often unseen. Surely the first step, again, is connection.

We are not so different. We are all human. And just because we have not experienced their problems, and vice versa, it does not mean we can’t help each other out. We need unity more than ever now.

emma-watson-cares-and-so-should-you__1500x670_q85_crop_subsampling-2Emma Watson. Source – globalcitizen

“Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”

As Emma Watson said so eloquently in her speech, men have problems, too. Helping men to express their feelings and to connect, in my mind, can only help women… and men.

So here’s my proposal… to post the hashtags #hecancry #warriorscry #sheforhe along with a supportive message to all men.

This is a way of showing that feminists can support men. I believe that men and women supporting each other is crucial if we are to work together in the future.

Men play a large role in helping us to reach equality, and being kind is always a good thing. I believe it is time to show that while we need men’s help (#heforshe), men can be just as benefited and lifted up as we can. It’s also time for #sheforhe #strongmencry #warriorscry #hecancry

As always, thanks in advance for any gifts ❤

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In response to… James Damore’s Echo Chamber

echo chamber damore echo bilnEcho. Source: bilan

Welcome to my echo. It’s funny, because this guy without meaning to, created his own sound in a cave, which is now reverberating about the internet.

Basically, this dude working for Google as a software engineer was asked to give some feedback on their diversity programs. Without any response he tried sharing his ideas with other employees. His memo then leaked and went viral.

When I first heard about this, I got a brief account of the story – ‘guy says that there are less women in tech because they are biologically less suited to it’.

Without more understanding, there’s a shock factor. I can feel my metaphorical cat hunching up it’s back and getting defensive. ‘Women too stupid to do tech!’ … But I don’t like to jump on a bandwagon without a bit of further information.

giraffe catCats love giraffes. Source: reddit

By coincidence I came across him speaking in an empathy circle in an NVC video. I was still cagey, but interested in how he might not be a total dickhead! It took me a while, and I eventually managed to find the original document. Having read it, I could see the clear intention of the author – to increase inclusion and diversity.

It is not so dissimilar from the advice given in this TED talk by Linda Salane, talking about how women are different from men in certain ways, (for cultural or biological reasons) and knowing this can be used to our advantage. She encourages women to improve their bartering skills for pay and to care less what people think about them so they do what they want/take promotions despite any negative judgements that may be made.

Damore doesn’t make any suggestions for women to change themselves, he does, however, suggest ways tech companies could improve upon their inclusion of women and general diversity in the workplace.

He made many points about this and how political views/biases may be affecting the company. These included the idea that google’s diversity programs singling out one type of person from another is possibly adding to the problem. A catch 22. Damore implies that by including everyone’s opinions, by not labelling people as minorities, we begin a new path of egalitarianism.

Balance-scalesScales. Source: super metal recyclers

This is a similar point to a woman I find truly inspiring, Caroline McHugh – who said that she is a feminist, but she is mostly a ‘womanist’, i.e. proudly a woman. This does not mean feminism is not needed. It just acknowledges the unfortunate catch 22 feminism brings to the table. In an odd way it backs up the idea that it is needed.

(nb I am not saying that feminism is not needed! But, I can see the progression in moving towards what we would like to happen.)

The ideas and strategies suggested in this memo are inspiring to me. He even goes as far as referencing feminists in the memo, arguing we have made great leaps in freeing women of their gender roles.

He makes the argument for men also to be heard, and that giving people jobs simply because of their gender is not helping the problem. But jobs can be made more, ‘female-friendly’ so that women want to work in tech more organically.

 3045915-poster-p-1-how-do-i-get-long-winded-job-candidates-to-stop-talking-during-interviewsTalk. Source: kingston muslim association

If not judged so quickly as an ‘anti-diversity’ statement, these possible findings could be used to help more women in many different sectors. If correct, they could be the key to getting more women into management positions, or more men interested in more social /people-based jobs.

I can understand why some women do not want to hear what he has to say. Perhaps there is too much pain from past experience. The way they have been treated may seem so unfair and, yes, sexist, that they are not willing to hear his ideas. I get it. It is hard to not feel heard or understood.

At face judgement, what he appears to be saying is shocking. But that’s ironically because of the echo chamber of fake news implying he thinks women are not biologically up to becoming techies. -It is easy to say that he is a ‘white male’, so he can never understand. But, what if he’s willing to try to understand? And what if we were willing to hear his perspective, not just dehumanise him because of his skin colour or sex?

Then, maybe, just maybe, we could all hear each other, and we could work something out. And the world could get just a little more diverse.

#strongertogether #hairypitstogether

 

What do you think? Is this guy onto something? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, thank you for your gifts ❤