CYCLOPS: Men and women must resist wrongs in status quo

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.

The only thing more dangerous than being even slightly critical of Donald Trump is barging into the issue of gender equality.  As a male, I’m neither part Harvey Weinstein nor part Mr. Rogers.  Most of us have made stupid, insensitive comments about women sometime in our lives, and were met with either a chuckle, a sneer, or a scowl.

I’m the first to admit I don’t have a clue what it is like to be a woman. My wife is smarter than I am and I have enjoyed working for female bosses, but that doesn’t give me entry into the world of childbirth, high heels, or mascara.  For that reason, I have refrained from writing any column about the re-energized women’s movement.

But I was moved by the thousands of women who braved the January cold to attend women’s rights and equality rallies in Utah and major cities across the nation.  I’m not sure many men would get off the sofa and put on snow gear to voice their opinion.

A few observations from this “trying to be a better human being” male:

The women’s rallies included ample criticism of Pres. Trump.  Considering his sordid history with women, this is not surprising.  But we must acknowledge that the speakers and rally participants certainly don’t speak for all women. Remember that Trump won a majority of the votes from married, white women and uneducated women in the 2016 election, and many females are content with their lives and the direction of the country.  Still, polls suggest Trump would have to do even better with women voters if he is successful in retaining his seat in 2020.  At this stage, women are leaning toward Democrat candidates and policies.

The avalanche of personal stories about women being sexually assaulted or harassed is a long overdue breakthrough moment.  It’s shock therapy for men long comfortable with so-called “locker room talk” or “boys will be boys” behavior.  It’s also letting women know that they need not be silent.  The only problem I have with the #MeToo movement is that we must see a difference between a clueless (and even well meaning) remark and a sexual advance.  Rape, unwelcome touching, verbal intimidation and innuendo or telling a women she looks “sexy in red” in one thing; simply telling a women her dress is attractive is not necessarily condescending. 

The push for equality in pay seems like a no-brainer.  A male bank teller should not earn more than a female bank teller and in typically male-dominated industries (financials, medical, scientific, etc.) there is little excuse for women doing the same job and earning less.  The difficulty, however, is that in some professions women earn less for explainable reasons.  Male and female teachers, for instance, should earn the same, except often the man has taught for 20 consecutive years while the woman left the profession for 12 years to raise children.  The disparity in their pay has nothing to do with gender, but on a pay system that rewards longevity on the job.

Of course, nothing I write or any of the speeches at the national and Utah rallies will have any impact unless women and men resist the wrongs in the status quo and demand change.

And, most importantly, vote in the primary and general elections.  Heading to the ballot box is more meaningful than a celebrity speech in Park City. 


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