Bjorn AgainstBjorn Against's Journal
I am a man and I must admit that I really don't understand women very well. I hear a lot of men say they understand women, but the reality is that none of us really understand women because none of us have ever walked a day in their shoes.
When I first saw the swimsuit issue posted here I was not upset about it at all, in fact I fully admit I found the women on the cover attractive. I did not necessarily think it belonged in GD, but I was certainly not bothered by it. I looked at it found it attractive, but still had to shake my head a bit at the oogling over it downthread. I was not upset about about the image at all, these sorts of images are everywhere and I did not think much of it.
But then something happened; I saw women trying to express their views on the photo and I saw the way they were treated for expressing those views. I may not understand women, but I am not completely ignorant either, I know that this country does have an ugly history of misogyny and I saw far too many misogynistic comments posted in response to the swimsuit photo.
I may not understand women and it is difficult to put myself in their shoes. It is difficult for me to imagine that my Great Grandmother would not have even been legally able to vote when she turned of age. I can not imagine what it would be like to be a women with an unwanted pregnancy in the 1950's where the only option for an abortion was a guy with a coat hanger in a back alley. I can not imagine what it would be like to be a housewife living with an abusive husband who controlled her with violence. I can not understand any of this, all I can understand is what it is like to be a man.
As much as some people try to tell me that misandry is just as big of a problem as misogyny, I am looking over my entire life and I just can't think of a time that I faced any sort of oppression because I am male. I may have been called a gendered insult like "Dick" before, but I can't say it really damaged me in any way. I suspect the women who had "Bitch!!!" screamed at her right before she was beaten and raped suffered far worse than I did when I was called a dick.
My fellow men, we may not understand women but we need to try harder to do so. We need to understand that a number of the women objecting to these photos being posted are likely rape victims. I don't know which DUers are victims of rape, I don't know which ones have a mother or daughter who was raped, but I do know that they are here because the stats show us just how many women have been victims of sexual assault. Victims of sexual violence are a part of our community and we need to respect them.
We need to understand that someone who was the victim of a sexual assault may have a very different reaction to a sexualized photo than you or I, they may have been raped by someone who shoved pictures like that in their face. Now you may say that the picture did not cause the rape, and maybe you are right but that does not mean that the woman does not have a valid reason to be seriously bothered by the image.
You may try and dismiss this as a "personal issue", but the fact is when millions of rape victims across the nation have these "personal issues" it is not really a personal issue it is an issue with our society.
If you want to go look at the swimsuit issue go ahead, but when you do so do it in a way that is respectful to others. If others tell you they don't want to see it there is absolutely no reason to show it to them, be respectful of others and recognize that women may have valid reasons for being upset that us men are really unable to fully comprehend.
Do what you want in the privacy of your home, but let's have some basic respect for the women of this site.
After what I have seen the last couple of weeks however I realize that you were all right, there really is an extreme level of disrespect towards women coming from a few people on this site and it sickens me that they are being allowed to get by with it.
I tried to stand up for you and was told I have "personal issues" because I viewed the swimsuit issue cover as a sexual image. I even made it clear that I do not have a problem with people viewing sexual images on their own time, but I do have a problem with pushing these images on people who do not want to see them. If I were to send such an image to a female co-worker I would be fired for sexual harrassment and rightfully so, if it is considered sexual harrassment outside of DU then I don't see why it should not be considered sexual harrassment here.
I used to think that some of the members of this group took things way too far, but now I understand that I was wrong. There really are blatant misogynists on this site who seem to take pleasure in pushing you around, sometimes they may push you over the line and you may react in a way I might find abrasive but I am sure I would act just as abrasive if they treated me the same way they treat you.
At first I thought the problem was coming from both sides, but now I realize that one side has been far worse than the other and we can not pretend that both sides are just as bad because they are clearly not. I should have seen it earlier because I do understand the history of patriarchy and the mistreatment of women in our nation's history, but I wanted to believe that DU was better than that. It turns out there are some on this site that truly are misogynist pigs however, and it is about time that the handful of people who are really pushing this crap are banned.
I am a man and as a man I may not always have a true understanding of the problems women in our society face, but I do make an effort to try to understand and to treat women with respect. We may not always agree on everything, but please know that you have my back on this. I am sick of watching the women on this site be disrespected, it is time to do something about the misogynists here.
I apologize for not recognizing this earlier, I should have listened better when you tried to bring it to my attention in the past. You were right then and you are right now, women are being horribly mistreated and it is time to shut down the Men's Group and make it clear the behavior we have seen from that group and their allies will no longer be tolerated. I may be a man myself, but the Men's Group is not inclusive of men like me or many of the other men on this site who believe women should be respected. If people can't handle treating women with respect then they do not belong on this site. Period.
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