Mary Wollencraft once said about ‘empowerment’,
“I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves”
The year of 2018 has seen the scalping of many big names of the patriarchal system. The hegemonic rule of men and the overpowering impact of entitlement is being slowly dismembered. Men around the world have become wary of abuse of power, something that seldom came with the package not too long ago. The #MeToo movement is a necessary vehicle of that conversation. The idea that there were many instances where the power of men went unchecked is appalling. Most of these cases have had disturbing manifestations. The fact that women have finally found a medium to voice their grievances openly is worth fighting for. The movement has helped garner the courage to speak up without fear and panic. The illusion of a somewhat “inferior gender” is being thwarted at its very core and that is something we as a society need to fight for. The status quo of gender roles and the complacency that breeds within masculinity need to change.
However, in this era of being “woke”, there is something sinister that has come to light. Something that many do not necessarily talk about for not wanting to sound misogynistic. Though the recent years have brought a lot of cases of abuse and assault into the foray, there have also been many times where the message and the idea of the movement have been altogether misinterpreted. This may have been the result of the oppression through generations, or simply a vindictive misrepresentation of the select few; regardless, it has had far reaching impact on many. This seemingly unwarranted social guillotine has become a part and parcel of this movement. On many accounts women have been found to have completely misinterpreted the idea of empowerment. The idea that “all men are pigs” does not necessarily warrant their skewering into crispy bacon.
The idea of empowerment calls for social equality, justice and representation in all walks of life. It calls for an equal status of women across race, creed and religion. This should be an important aspect of the movement, it was the prime motive at the beginning. This movement is slowly and surely shaping to be something it wasn’t before, something more vengeful and spiteful of men. The idea of the movement was to bring forth a medium to voice the opinions of women who has categorically abused owing to their supposed inferiority. In the process, it has taken the heads of many important people along the way and paved the path for checks and balances of the power system that exists within the society. But what it has also birthed is the idea that men are innately perverse, and their complete social scapegoating has become the call of the hour. The instances are aplenty. Take the case of Aziz Ansari, who was accused of “sexual harassment,” then all it turned out to be was nothing but a disgruntled date. The accusation was particularly surprising considering he has been one of the premier voices to shed light on the undervaluation of women in the comedic world and the workplace in general.
The noose that hangs on every man’s shoulder is the possibility that one step in the wrong direction shall lead to a lifetime of name-calling and unwarranted mud-slinging. This is not the way women empowerment is achieved. Not every man on this planet seeks to overpower and abuse; not every man agrees to the patriarchal system that exists within society. Not every man rebukes and misuses authority and power. Though reality and history has been unkind towards women and dare I say it still is, things have been changing and women have made large strides towards shifting the status quo. The #MeToo Movement is a step in the right direction to bring about social justice. Yet unwarranted and unchecked statements that use the excuse of free speech,have a real impact on lives. The case of one 16-year-old boy who was accused of sexual abuse by some of his female friends on the account that “they did not like him” is something that needs to be stopped in its tracks.
The movement was built on legitimate grounds and it can only stay that way if it remains loyal to the essence of its existence. The realization of a world where men recognize that power does not allow for abuse and women empowerment is no vacant statement on paper, but a reality that needs to be recognized. Women empowerment does not validate the disempowering of men. If anything it should be the duty of the man to realise early in life that the gender should never be a pedestal for authority or an entitled vehicle of abuse. The worth of women is just as important, and society can no longer withstand the burden of “mankind”.
But society can surely thrive in the potent spirit of humankind.