"It is important here to differentiate between an assail upon men and a presentation of the facts"pxhere.com

A boy is born and cared for by a doting mother. She holds him when he cries, feeds him when he is hungry, smiles at him for nothing more than being. He will grow up in her company and become her best friend, as she becomes his most treasured companion. The father will come home late, fussed over like a child, looked at with affection; idealised as a god. The boy will look to him, see the short hair on his head that looks like his very own, notice the clothes that he wears that do also – the same shoes. He will grow to look like him; he will grow to be like him. He will play sports; he will get taller, stronger. He will notice girls. They will stay inside when he plays. They will sit quietly whilst he roars with his boys. The latter will joke about the former, as they will for the rest of their lives, disregarding their disposition, ignoring their equivalence. There will breed an atmosphere of superiority and objectification that will penetrate into their very character until it is a part of their self over which their control is not absolute.

This was the reality for many men growing up not fifty years ago. It is easy to forget how much has changed in such a short period of time, how different the childhood of a millennial is to that of their parents and grandparents.

“But this does not mean that there is nothing society can do”

Or perhaps it is impossible to ignore. Society must confront the problem of toxic masculinity in mainstream media – a sexual entitlement bred from generations of discrimination, sexism, and degradation of the female as inferior and submissive.

But this is no excuse. Tom Hanks in speaking about Harvey Weinstein and his notorious acts notes that the claim ‘Oh, well, I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s and so therefore...’ is not one that can possibility be given buoyancy in an educated society; an individual must take responsibility for their actions.

But this does not mean that there is nothing society can do. I do not believe there to be a biological difference in men that is the fundamental reason why one in six women will be the victim of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime – this compared to the one in 33 men.

“Children grew up, saw the behaviour of their parents and the society around them and reflected it”

It is important here to differentiate between an assail upon men and a presentation of the facts. Just as the excuse of growing up in a different culture is not viable, the accusation of all men is incorrect. It is however a numerical fact that men are more likely than women to commit sexual abuse.

But, once more, this is not due to their simply being men. Women and men of the 18th century were not born racists. Children grew up, saw the behaviour of their parents and the society around them and reflected it – as all humankind is built to do.

It is society that must change. Thanks to the bravery of the women who have come out in recent months, this issue has been brought to the fore. The President of the United States of America can be heard spewing ‘locker-room’ talk and yet remains in power – it sometimes takes an abhorrence such as this to elicit change in our civilisation.

But this is a process that must filter through generations as society removes the weight of years of gender imbalance. As said above, it can be easy to forget how far we have come as a community in the last century and to let setbacks we are experiencing today blind us from the progress we have made.

It is equally important to present opinions to one other about such inequality. In writing this, I feel markedly ill-informed and uneducated about the issue at hand, and this led to some apprehension of even typing my thoughts. But to progress we must talk. Even if this means getting it wrong, we must converse with increasing volume until we are too loud to be ignored.

For, one can imagine the following scenario: 


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A boy is born and cared for by his doting mother and father. She holds him when he cries, he feeds him when he is hungry, she smiles at him for nothing more than being, he smiles at her for much the same. He will grow up in their company, become their best friend, they his most treasured companions. The father will come home late some days , fuss over his family, look at them with affection. The mother will work late other days, coming home to a husband and son who care for her and respect her. The boy will look to his father, see the short hair on his head that looks like his very own, notice the clothes that he wears that look like his, the same shoes. He will grow to look like him, he will grow to be like him. He will play sports, he will get taller, faster, stronger. He will notice girls. They will play with the boys, joking with them. They will sit together and share together those irritations of homely life and of the parents they so love. There will breed an atmosphere of respect, of equality, an atmosphere that will facilitate the existence of a society that provides a fair and equal ground for all. Harassment will no longer be a hazy issue but an empirically defined crime against the very character of humanity and the freedom with which this is imbued

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