Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Exclusionary Approach

Responding to the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Quartz "reporter" Leah Fessler recently posted a message on Facebook for "men and male-identifying friends." She demanded "if you are an ally, now is the time to sit down, educate yourself, and speak up, not sure what to say? Worried you'll say the wrong thing? too bad, that's the risk women take every damn day." She charges "your silence is complicit; yes, it's hard to speak up," adding "but by not trying... you are part of the problem, and because of your, and other powerful men's silence, women will continue to be victims, and survivors, of horrendous abuse. It's time to wake the fuck up, and ensure all of your male friends do, too, please."

So classy. A far more credible individual, Senator Jeanne Shaheen

is calling for a comprehensive legislative strategy around the issue of sexual assault, while also acknowledging Congress can only do so much in the wake of extensive harassment and rape allegations against Hollywood mogul and Democratic megadonor Harvey Weinstein.

“I do think we ought to look at every legislative remedy that might be available,” the New Hampshire senator told POLITICO’s Carrie Budoff Brown in the latest episode of Women Rule.

But Shaheen warned that Congress alone can’t provide the “one silver bullet fix.”

“That’s not going to be enough to change the culture,” she said on the podcast. “It’s important as part of the conversation, but we also need women to come forward, women to speak up. We need men to speak up and say, ‘This is not acceptable. We are not going to allow this in our businesses, in our workplaces, in our sports teams, anywhere.’”

The New Hampshire Democrat recognizes "we need men to speak up and say, 'This is not acceptable... anywhere."  Presumably, then, men will be encouraged to express their outrage at sexual harassment and violence.  Not everywhere, however. In an incident which would delight Trumpist critics of "political correctness," The Washington Post reports

A New Jersey-based magazine owned by women has canceled a women’s empowerment panel following criticism because the participants were all men.

SJ Magazine had titled the panel that was set to include four men as “Women in Business: A man’s point of view.”

The magazine says it believes it is “helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women’s empowerment and feminism.” But the magazine says it was never its intention to offend anyone with the Nov. 6 event.

We would be mistaken to assume the only snowflake is the magazine because

Criticism against the panel was harsh on social media. The magazine explained three other panels were composed of all women and said it wanted to start a discussion with men.

One of the participants, New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, had decided to withdraw because of the panel’s composition. He said he would offer his seat to someone who can “bring a more diverse and inclusive point of view to this critical issue.”

The assemblyman should be old enough and wise enough to realize that men are more likely to "speak up," as Shaheen and Fessler would put it, if they are on an all-male panel.

In canceling the discussion, the magazine stated "we believe it is helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women's empowerment and feminism."  Instead of being disqualified by circumstances of birth from contributing to formation of public policy, men would be part of "everyone," engaging in a dialogue which would give them an opportunity to end the "complicit silence" they're accused of.

The argument that "we're all in this together" would be effective if men were generally included, allowed to speak, and not patronizingly ordered to "sit down (and) educate yourself." Otherwise, victims of sexual assault and activists can talk to each other, curse men for failing to speak up, and accuse them of enabling perpetrators of sexual assault. That would be emotionally satisfying, but little else.

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