Yes’, I can hear you thinking, ‘just what we need – another 511 word article about gender equality’.
Complaining about gender issues on the internet is the bread and butter of legions of bloggers, vloggers, and YouTube celebrities. Feminism, meninism, and other –isms now carry and almost automatic visceral kneejerk reaction of instant outrage. This is great news for those who make their living from internet ad revenue, but what does this mean for the rest of us?
In order to pre-empt any of the above-mentioned kneejerk reactions to the title of this blog, let me clarify my own position. My personal belief is that achieving equitable economic, political, and social outcomes for half of the population of planet Earth is a no-brainer. My rights as a man is in no way threatened or diminished by someone else having the same rights.
Think of it this way – say a man and a woman have identical sandwiches. Not supporting gender equality can be said to be the equivalent of the man’s enjoyment and utility of his sandwich reducing in negative proportion to how much the woman enjoys her own sandwich. Taking the woman’s salami away does not benefit either party.
What I want to talk about in this blog, and what I tried to convey through the title, is the growing sense of apathy when being confronted with more and more daily content, outrage, and banality surrounding gender issues.
As a diehard liberal digital native I naturally spend large swathes of time on the internet in places where gender discussions take place. I’ve recently been catching myself eye-rolling and sighing when headlines of the latest infractions of the patriarchy are scrolling past my vision.
A woman makes a liberal comment about gender equity on Twitter, a man threatens her life, and an international hashtag war ensues. Welcome to the internet, a wonderful and magical place of tolerance and understanding.
So how much noise is too much noise? After all, it took a Vietnamese monk setting himself on fire to make the world sit up and take notice of human rights. It took a photograph of a little Vietnamese covered in napalm for people to further awaken to the human suffering. In hindsight, no amount of media coverage would have been enough. The extremity of the events served as catalysts for intervention and a raising of consciousness around the issues.
I feel a shifting worldwide zeitgeist in the treatment of and affairs of women. While we may still be some time away from achieving meaningful and lasting progress, making loud and frequent noises over the internet are the only way for some of the worst affected to make themselves heard.
Enduring a seemingly never-ending cascade of gender-orientated articles, if it is at the benefit of a real person, is justified. Our apathy becomes the greatest barrier to advancing the dialogue.
Before you automatically scroll past the next piece of content about gender issues, consider if your own apathy is playing a role in preventing progress of the issues.
Let’s make a better world for everyone.