“…a lot of us just don’t want to be associated with a supposed movement that has no unifying theme except for seeming both anti-man and against any woman who disagrees on the topic of what feminism means.”
~ Salma Heyak

“I am not a feminist,” Hayek told People magazine before accepting an award from Equality Now, an organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights for women and girls. “If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.”

This infuriated some who thought Hayek’s comment indicated that she sees feminism not as pro-women but anti-men. This is a viewpoint that many other women and men hold as well.

Salma HeyakI have a bit of a confession… I’m not really a feminist either. HeForShe is the first movement I’ve encountered where I believed effort was not only acceptable, but valuable.

Since diving in feet first though, I’ve run into topics like “Safe Events” and “Safe Places”  which seemed like benign terms to me at first, after all, I’m not someone nefarious. And then I understood that these “Safe Places” were “Safe” from “Me.”

First off, I didn’t realize that fem-events had become so unwelcoming.  I’ve no previous experience with the culture. I always assumed that it was only a fringe element which was so… unwelcoming of males. I didn’t consider that such… separateness was prevalent.  When Emma brought up the “man-hating” during her speech, I naively believed she was more pointed about it than the subject required.. now I’m left with the feeling that maybe she wasn’t strong enough.

It really does sound like just being a man is threatening to feminist – which feels not only odd, but on a professional level, detached from personal ideas or needs, it is a self-destructive stance. I believe my emotional response would be a little deeper than merely feeling unwelcome. I can easily empathize a resentful response — even deeper feeling of betrayal.

Equal but separate?

Such a social separateness can’t possibly cultivate anything but stronger wells of fear, and deeper streams of mistrust. If someone is in an unstable emotional state from brutalization, rape or other injury — a safe place would be advised, even required to allow the injured psyche to become stable again, but to live, or rather insist on keeping that bubble around them… sounds very unhealthy. When a whole population projects this kind of emotional vulnerability it goes beyond separation into exclusion — which could only result in propagating the injury — like encouraging a phantom event to germinate — akin to growing a phantom limb on purpose. Jung talks about our shadows. He describes them as alternate personalities which are bred within us, and whose purpose is to explore variations of ourselves. This sounds like the victim shadow has not only grown into maturity, but has actually become dominate.

What it doesn’t sound like is something to do on purpose, with friends, as an activity whose ultimate goal is proclaimed to be a life free of fear. I could even go so far as to suggest that this is a culture of phobia with peer group support.

I don’t, personally care to address such separation, nor do I condone such cultish hatred. I’m not sure of everything that HeForShe is gearing up to do in the near or long term future, but I’m quite sure that Safe Places will not be in most of the pamphlets. This, is about Equality, and Equality is like Freedom — it’s not safe.


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