(This is my heart-felt opinion. I don’t pretend to represent anyone else through this blog post. So, if you’re going to hate, direct it at me. I will just return your hate with kindness and gratitude.)
Whatever you think about the 2016 presidential race, it has awakened a feminist revolution in America. For those of you who thought the revolution was won long ago, clearly that is not the case. Today, misogyny is rampant in our country and is even celebrated, as is currently being demonstrated by the “#Repealthe19th” Amendment movement on Twitter. Just look at the stats for the #Repealthe19th hashtag over a recent 24 hour period on Twitter. People really believe in and support this barbaric thinking.
Here are a few sample Tweets from the #Repealthe19th movement:
If that’s not enough, check out this offensive promotional video supporting the #Repealthe19th movement. It is insane, and voiced by a woman. (I’m a firm believer in giving people with offensive perspectives the opportunity to show their stupidity. Until recently, I thought that was an effective strategy. After witnessing the last few months of election coverage, I’m beginning to rethink that.)
I have had enough. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or Independent, this is not okay. Everyone should be put off by this kind of sexist and misogynistic thinking. That includes single guys, single women, married people, parents of boys, parents of girls and grandparents. Having a daughter or a wife should not be a prerequisite to being offended by offensive behavior and perspectives that marginalize women.
I am a feminist and was raised as a feminist by a powerful woman, Patsy Dunlop. I have four powerful sisters and I’m fortunate enough to be married to a strong (actually fierce) woman, Scotti Harwood. Yes, she has her own last name. Imagine that. I’m also proud to have helped raise an amazing daughter who is a feminist in her own right. This will be her first time voting in a presidential election! My business partner is a kick-ass female business owner who takes no prisoners. Finally, I’m fortunate enough to work in the healthcare industry where strong female role models are abundant – CEOs, Chief Nursing Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, VPs of Marketing and more. But none of that matters when I talk about my intolerance of misogyny. What matters is that I am a human being and, as such, I find this patently misogynistic behavior and rhetoric to be offensive and dangerous. The male chauvinist pig is alive and well in 2016. Although I rarely, if ever, write about politics, I could no longer remain silent.
Right now, thanks to early voting, Americans are casting their votes for the next President of the United States. As I voted last week, I did it with a spirit of hope, gratitude and humility. It occurred to me that as Americans, we should be better than this. We have to rise above this hateful, mean spirited rhetoric and the vilification of people who are different than us. The answer to our problems is not to limit anyone’s freedom or to marginalize entire populations (women, ethnic groups, immigrants, LGBT). As a nation, we fought hard to secure the freedoms we now enjoy. All of us, with the exception of Native Americans, are descended from immigrants. We gain nothing by tearing down one another or by fear-mongering. By the way, I believe that misogyny is a response to feeling powerless. People are lashing out. They feel powerful being part of a movement, albeit a hate movement, whether that’s directed at women, immigrants or people of other races.
Why is misogyny dangerous? The misogyny that is rampant during this presidential race is the kind of thinking that leads men to feel that it is okay to objectify, discriminate against, verbally abuse, sexually assault and rape women. Remember, there are young women and boys who are now growing up listening to this nonsense. Some of their parents are espousing these views. What are those young people to think? What lessons are they being taught?
The one positive result of this resurgence of misogynistic views has been the reawakening of feminist voices. Some call it a new feminist revolution. Whatever it is, we should all be a part of it. I celebrate it! A revolution is far better than sitting on our hands and quietly allowing the voices of hate and bigotry to tyrannize and marginalize women, entire ethnic groups and other individuals they target.
I am one man and I have one voice. While I have that voice, I am going to take the opportunity to promote values of kindness, caring, compassion and gratitude. And I am going to speak out against hate-mongering, divisiveness, misogyny, objectification and the vilification of “others” who may be different because of their ethnic background, appearance, sexual preference or language. Adolf Hitler employed many of the same tactics currently being used by the hate-mongers, racists and misogynists running rampant in America. The evil that ensued in Germany happened, in part, because so many people acted out of simple bureaucratic obedience. This is what Hannah Arendt referred to as the Banality of Evil – where evil acts become routine and are therefore normalized. The doing of evil can take on a mindless quality. It can become routine. It can become normalized.
What are you willing to accept as normal? That’s my question to you. Are you willing to accept these vulgar attacks on human beings? I’m not.