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Most men I introduce to the concept of internalized misogyny – usually while having to explain the need for a boundary I am enforcing – usually come back all proud that they are hiring more women.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a woman’s world, but I also fear it. I have gone through many extremes in my own life trying to find the holy grail solution, but the anti-climactic resolution of it all has always been: “balance.” Observing the world experiencing this shift of extremes – even though History has repeatedly shown us that a group of men’s unregulated emotions leads to reactionary abuse – is terrifying because it condemns us all to more isolation and fear.
What I have found is that men find it easier to overcorrect with actions that will earn them quick praise from the public instead of truly doing the work; emotional work that would bring them closer to the educated women in their lives. A phenomenon so prevalent it has been coined “performative feminism.” This results in men hiring less qualified and often more naive women over men for certain positions because they know that those women will be grateful enough to allow exploitation and abuse. It breeds hate towards those women from other men and doesn’t create equity. This is equivalent to putting a bandaid over an infected cut in need of stitches and antibiotics. This is hiding behind numbers so business owners can claim “equality”, regardless of equity, to shareholders and anyone else they’re trying to impress or manipulate.
Equity is finding women that are at least twice as qualified and experienced as the men currently in top positions, but who still haven’t gotten their “lucky” breaks. It’s empowering women to bring in new ideas and challenge their male counterparts without being shut down, talked over, brain-picked or automatically challenged. Women mature enough to know themselves and to communicate and uphold healthy boundaries. It’s SAHM (stay-at-home mothers) coming back into the workforce, it’s experienced freelancers and strategists, and womxn (non-binary, trans, and in-betweens) business owners. It’s women who have known abuse and somehow managed to come back kinder from it – except this time around, they didn’t forget to include kindness towards themselves.
Equity is men allowing themselves to express and process their feelings outside of the women in their lives. Meaning, with other men they can trust, in a safe space free of the shame of being called “gay”, “weak”, or “pussy” by others. The patriarchy has forbidden men from making close male friendships, women are overwhelmingly paying the price, and we’re collectively tired now. If there was only one step to take, men taking the time to create their own safe spaces to explore their emotions and internalized misogyny would be the single greatest act of rebellion against a deeply-flawed system that hurts everyone. Men only sharing the challenges they face in their personal lives with women, including within professional settings, should not be seen as normal.
For women, the greatest act of rebellion would be to respect themselves like women have been taught to respect others. A plethora of the external advice women will receive will tell them to like themselves first, but in a society that profits off self-doubt, there are too few models to aspire to and follow. Allowing yourself the bare minimum respect of honoring your feelings and needs for safety and sanity is more in line with our reality. Fundamentally, what we all need to heal is that men have been taught to unconsciously hate women, while women have been conditioned to hate themselves so they would never wake up to their potential and thus be easier to control.
Equity is also more men needing to be aware that women do not have the privilege of “shitting where they eat.” An expression often used to describe attempts to engage in a romantic affair with a co-worker; a privilege too many men still feel entitled to cross today, with too many financial and psychological consequences for the women targeted if they dare to say “No.” The more seasoned of us will know that if a person has displayed disrespect towards your boundaries, this means they are still victims of their patriarchal conditioning and have unconsciously categorized you as worth less than a genderless human with basic needs. Wisdom will teach you the hard way that you are not safe to enable any requests for friendship or empathy in these work relationships. Dear women, the signs are there, and they are constantly shown to you; learn to believe them. Otherwise, you will be enabling them. Unfortunately, in this society, that also means having to be ok with being painted by those who feel entitled to their misplaced rejection by all the potential insults of our vernacular.
Yet we hear mentor-like figures such as parents and teachers shame little boys of the future generation with those exact words, “it’s a woman’s world now,” when a quick look at the news or in comments on videos made by some of the brave men who are showing the courage of facing their demons, will reveal that it is the exact opposite of that. Women are burning out from bearing the full weight of the emotional burden and there aren’t enough men to pick up the torch.
Societal patterns have consistently shown us that whenever a system starts to be dismantled, it fights back using dangerous dogmas. After all, separated people cannot unite to create a system sturdy enough to topple over what’s in place. The good news is that while it may seem that women have gone back over 100 years in terms of true equity – regardless of the easily manipulated and superficial numbers claiming “equality” to fuel male hate and pacify women, and regardless of equity now being predicted to be another 300 years away by the U.N. Chief – if the system is fighting back, it means that we have found its weakness and that we’re doing something right; leveraging education and platforms where we can speak up and reach millions.
It is of no surprise that platforms such as Twitter and TikTok are constantly under attack or in danger of failing. It is no surprise that over 1200 Iranian girls were recently poisoned at school in less than two weeks. It is no surprise that Roe-vs-Wade was overturned using false information about the actual gestational stages of a fetus, to the point of SEO (Search Engine Optimization to influence Search Engine Rankings) being funded to erase real images from online searches, a feat that would have cost millions of dollars.
See the pattern, and understand that these are not signs to get discouraged. That’s exactly what the system is trying to achieve in its final struggling breaths. These are signs that we need to double down, and most importantly, speak up. Women are not alone in their collective generational sacred anger. The bottling over has been long overdue. Use it as fuel to bring in balance by closing the equity gap the way women do best; with education, logic, careful planning, rational research, fact-based decisions, over-preparation, and attention to both details and the greater good.
[BeeVibrand SNC is a creative marketing collective focused on strong branding and sustainable growth through strategies to diversify passive and active revenue channels. We free up your time while increasing your resources for success. We help turn ideas that you are passionate about, into products and services that people love. Find out more about our team and the shared vision, mission and values that fuel our drive to close the gender equity gap here.]
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