One Man Addresses the Sexual Harassment & Objectification of #MeToo with THIS Manifesto

Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 1 Comment
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By Tom Green | Uplift Connect

Guys, It’s Our Turn…

“Never contact me again”.

The email was from my friend Jess*. She and I had a sort-of relationship for a few years, a long time ago. It was on and off, mostly off. I was happy to have a good time together when it required little effort, which meant when we were at the same party. We never really talked about how we felt or where it was going, if anywhere. I thought we were both ‘on the same page.’ In more recent years we’d been in touch occasionally, especially when she was going through tough times.

As I read the email, I first felt anger: “I’ve been there for her as a friend for years, and this is how she repays me!” Next, protective: “Her new boyfriend must have put her up to this–she could get dangerously isolated.” Finally, the shame slowly crept in, “I need to look at myself and understand why she doesn’t want me in her life.”

I spoke with Jess’s boyfriend (since she wouldn’t talk to me) and discovered that she felt ashamed; she felt used; she felt bad about herself because of who she had been with me and others. I truly believed that I had been a positive influence in her life, being there for her during difficult times and helping her to navigate through them. What was most shocking to me was that my perception of my impact on her life could be so different from her reality.

Now I see that I didn’t share my feelings or listen to hers. Now I see that I saw sex as a goal, consent something men ask for and women agree to. Now I see that I was guilty of objectifying women rather than seeing them as whole people. I like to think I’ve changed a lot since then, but I know for sure I still have further to go.

I feel ashamed. There’s an unfinished conversation I’ll probably never get to have, which deepens the regret. I hope her current relationship works out and that she leads a joyful, fulfilled life. The uncertainty is hard but I won’t ever contact her unless she contacts me.

Gender balance
The goal of #Ichoose is to accelerate the journey to a society with true gender balance.

I am deeply moved by the #metoo campaign. By the bravery and vulnerability of the women sharing their experiences; by the fact that the sadness that these issues and the deeper pain they cause are far more prevalent than I knew; by the realization that I am part of the problem. I resolve to do something to help myself and other men to do better.

So I am making a public commitment to a manifesto. I call it #Ichoose, and its goal is to accelerate the long, long journey to a society with true gender balance. I invite other men to join me in this set of choices.

#MeToo Led Me to #IChoose

With the #metoo campaign, women have powerfully continued to raise awareness about harassment and abuse. These two issues are just parts of the gender gap facing us today, and I believe that to close the gap we must address all of it, from harassment and abuse to subtle biases. Men must work alongside women to co-create meaningful change. Men are the majority of the problem, so the majority of the work falls to us. As a man, I suggest here only what men can do differently.

To create the #Ichoose manifesto, first I read hundreds of #metoo and #howiwillchangetweets, and some articles on the topic. Second, I wrote a draft after spending time with my wife Roxy, whose love and intelligence encourages and challenges me each day. Third, I shared it with female and male friends and carefully considered their feedback.

Articles like this, and social media posts, solve no problems and heal no pain until they cause us to change our actions. Before you react to the manifesto, please understand that it is not perfect and know that I am trying to help. I seek and welcome constructive criticism. I know that I am writing this from a position of privilege as a straight white cis male. There are many complex and important issues I have left others to address, including matters of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersectionality. I ask for understanding of my omissions and I hope that there is enough to agree with here that you can support it.

To men, if you agree with the spirit of this but not every single word, I urge you to put aside our disagreements in service of the overall goal–and commit to #Ichoose.

Men's role in gender equality
Men are the majority of the problem, so the majority of the work falls to us.

The #Ichoose Manifesto

  1. As a man, I am aware that we live in a society which favors men.
    I am making a set of choices–today and every day–which I believe will help us move toward full gender equality, so women and men can thrive together. I make these choices in the sight of my community. I expect no special recognition if I make a contribution: having an impact is its own reward.
  2. I choose to seek awareness of my own gender bias.
    Every man has some form of gender bias, and I accept that I am part of the problem. I choose to look deeply at myself and ask others to help me do so.
  3. I choose to address gender bias when I see it.
    Women need to be twice as effective as men to get the same credit, so I choose to notice–and to do something–when women are interrupted or ignored and when their ideas are attributed to men. I choose to boost female voices.
  4. I choose to see and admire women as whole people.
    I choose to compliment women and girls first on their character, values, accomplishments, and gifts. I choose to be thoughtful; not to only praise boys for activities and girls for looks. I choose “not to say to a woman in the street what I wouldn’t want a man saying to me in prison”. When I introduce women, I choose to be mindful of how I do it.
  5. I choose an attitude of mutual respect and shared exploration when it comes to physical intimacy.
    Sex isn’t just about consent: my goal is to listen with all my senses and help my partner to have an experience they look back on with fondness and joy. When seeking consent, I’m listening for a “hell yes!” however it is expressed, or I’m not doing it.
  6. I choose to help women feel safe.
    I try to be mindful of when there may be risk to a woman, real or perceived. I go out of my way to address this sensitively, not as a savior but as an ally.
  7. I choose to work towards a safe, equitable work environment for women.
    I stand for zero tolerance for harassment and I seek opportunities to level the playing field.
  8. I choose to hold other men accountable to these standards, even when it’s hard.
    I do this by calling them out: “That’s not cool” or “I feel uncomfortable with that.” At the same time, I recognize that many men are acting from their own wounds and ingrained patterns, or are unaware of their impact. While this doesn’t excuse anything, it calls for compassion in the way I help other men to become aware of, and take accountability for, their actions.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

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  1. crunkinhard@gmail.com' Oliver says:

    I think this stuff is going to far.. heaps of women LOVE sexual attention and garnish it, even if it is on a subconscious level. Putting all this on men and making us fearful is ridiculous. This society doesn’t favour men, that is just an illusion. Go on the streets of LA where homeless are crowded in great numbers and you’ll see the clear majority are men.. The woman in the article choose to lash out and blame the man who wrote it, for behaviours and feelings which she would of contributed too heavily.. now of course its all his fault.. this is mental, disgusting society poison.. and very un natural..

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