26 February 2014

French feminist role reversal movie

Overall, this was great.  I love that it was made, and I hope some of the guys who treat women so disrespectfully see it, and it gets through.

As a guy, I actually have been harassed on occasion - by a co-worker (about 20 years my senior) who made suggestive comments regularly, by a gay guy who, when I was at a bus stop (shirtless, because it was a really hot day) pulled up in his car and proceeded to jack off while staring at me, by a homeless women who followed me around insisting I get a hotel room for us to share - but these were all rare, isolated incidents.
So I can sympathize with the general discomfort, but I can't really even imagine what it would be like to experience on a regular ongoing basis.

There is one problem I have with this video though - the last scene perpetuates a belief, shared by almost everyone, which is based more on misogyny than fact.
The guy really was "asking for it" when he yelled back at the gang members.  Not because of how he was dressed or any signals he gave off, but because he YELLED BACK AT GANG MEMBERS! 
In the real world, in the poor neighborhoods I have lived in, I started to notice several years ago that women regularly yell at people they are having arguments with on the street, but men rarely do.  Why? 
Because every male above about the age of 13 who lives in an area with street crime knows that doing that will get the shit beat out of you. 
Because the reality is that men are the victims of violent crime by strangers over 1/3 more often (down from twice as often a couple decades ago).  What any male with even an ounce of street smarts does when a group of 4 dangerous looking teens starts harassing him verbally is ignore it, let it go, and continue with his life.  Sometimes women yell or insult them back - and the reason they think this is ok is because most of the time they can get away with it - almost all men, even the low life scum who look for excuses to attack strangers, have internalized the (sexist) rule of "never hit a woman". 
But then, in the few instances where it does escalate to violence - and despite the fact that it escalates to violence more often with men - we take those examples and pretend it proves that women are disproportionately victims.  It isn't because the statistics actually support it.  Its because our misogynist society starts out with the premise that women are victims as a given, and then looks for the evidence to support it.

None of this is to suggest that harassment or assault (when it does actually happen) are ok.  They aren't.  But please please stop perpetuating the myth that women are the victims of assault more often than men.  It falsely paints women as weak and helpless, and does not advance the cause of equality.  Besides, its just plain wrong.

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