2018 will be the Year of the Woman. Women everywhere are rising up, taking the women’s movement into the mainstream. Women are protesting, marching, organizing and building power. From the millions who joined the Women’s March to the survivors who have bravely come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault, to the millions participating in the #MeToo movement, it’s become clear that women are not going to stay silent anymore. And these “silence breakers” — named as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” — are not only speaking out, but are being heard.
The “women’s movement” has been swept into the mainstream and become more diverse, and social media has become increasingly effective at mobilizing younger generations of women and girls.
At the same time, men are becoming more vocal and aware of gender issues and finding ways to be active as allies. #HeForShe Earlier this month, the word “feminism” was named as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: It was the year’s most-searched word on the dictionary’s website.
And men are a part of this cultural revolution. As #MeToo becomes the story of the year, many men are freshly reflecting on their own and their colleagues’ behavior, and our society appears to be in the beginning of a long-overdue global conversation about the abuse of power and privilege, the socialization of men and boys, the objectification of women and a culture of toxic masculinity.
There is an important reframing underway: these are not “women’s issues” — too long misplaced, trivialized and marginalized as such — they are human issues that we need to address together.
Writer Amanda Marcotte defines toxic masculinity as “a specific model of manhood, geared toward dominance and control. It’s a manhood that views women and LGBT people as inferior, sees sex as an act not of affection but domination, and which valorizes violence as the way to prove one’s self to the world.” We are talking here about a strain of behavior, found in some men — and, as we’re learning more and more, shockingly too many — but of course not all.
Although 2017 has been full of obstacles, we can’t deny that it has also emboldened women and girls. This is a potential tipping point, if we constructively use it and harness this energy. It requires that we all stay vigilant and address the issues we care about.
TAGS : Empowering Women respect and workplaces