Anne Summers’ address impressed and saddened me. Thank you for sharing it. How proud we can be of the manner in which women in the public eye handle these disgraceful types of behaviours.
That it has been made easier to spread vituperation since the advent of the Social Media is sad. But on the brighter side it should be easier for us to both openly reject these behaviours and support the victims.
I know that Destroy The Joint on Facebook is concerned with the treatment of women in public life but as the furore dies down from the recent comments by Mr Alan Jones it is likely, as always after a particular incident in the feminist movement, that this tide will ebb and that the Facebook page will receive less comments. I am in no way connected to the setting up of this very impressive forum but I would like to make a suggestion.
Obviously attacks on the public face of women should be the priority. But it is from the little seeds that the larger things can grow. How about, as time goes on, if there is no immediate public incident to be noted, we report on this forum each time we hear or see something that poorly reflects on women’s status, even when it is of a more minor nature or very well meant?
I have no real quarrel (as a few still do) with historically gendered language such as “mankind”. I think, just get over it and feel included. But a few very well meaning historic traditions need a second look.
One such that currently worries me and is frequently heard at the moment is in the sad context of boats lost at sea. It is said in many news reports that “there were women and children on board”. Surely the report could be that that there were men, women and children on board. It is just as relevant and sad if men or women are drowned at sea. If the reporter wants to emphasize helplessness and additional sorrow “there were a number of children on board” would highlight this. There was a good historic context to the “women and children” phrase when it was felt that children should be saved with one parent. Surely nowdays this could be either parent, and a member of either gender may be a good sailor or swimmer or just level headed?
A second area that is just as important is that we must feel free criticise other women’s attitudes, not just the attitudes of some men. It is not enough that we ask for freedom without supporting freedom with our choices. If some use this freedom to opt to shackle themselves in some way, that is their right, but expect that others will use their own freedom of speech and may be critical of the chosen shackle. I go further. I think that thinking women have an even stronger duty to point this out to other women because we share a gender.