By Corrine Barraclough
No, I did not post to the #MeToo. Why? While I was pondering an even vaguely socially acceptable response to that, eight little words fluttered into my inbox that summed up my thoughts on this hashtag.
If you’ve missed it, the hashtag was launched following harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. It’s been flooded with an outpouring of emotional testimonials.
Yes, they are moving.
But, this is not a movement.
This is not a cause.
It is an airing of grievance.
Why do I say that?
In a piece about the “movement”, supposed feminist leader Clementine Ford writes, “None of this was surprising to me, because the knowledge that women hold an ocean’s worth of pain inflicted by men is well known to those who swim in it.”
Then come the crucially important eight important words; “I don’t know where we go from here,” she writes. Well, that is clear from the first sentence because, frankly, there is no way forward from that thinking. Feminism or gender division is a dead end.
Word to the wise, before you rally a gender army it may be wise to know what your purpose is.
You have no answers?
You don’t know where we go from here?
I have 33 suggestions for you:
1) I believe we are stronger united than divided.
2) I do not believe fixating on “pain inflicted by men” is helpful to progress.
3) I believe women are equal to men.
4) I believe men are equal to women.
5) I do not believe children automatically belong with one parent over the other.
6) I do not believe that female life is disposable.
7) I do not believe that male life is disposable.
8) I do not have preconceived judgements based on someone’s gender.
9) I believe we should judge every human being on their own merit.
10) I do not believe we have any control over which body we are born into; therefore it is up to us all to make good choices.
11) I believe every human being is responsible for their own happiness.
12) I believe hope trumps revenge.
13) I do not believe women are victims at birth.
14) I do not believe men are born with gender original sin.
15) I believe every human being is capable of achieving anything they set their mind too.
16) I believe real compassion knows no gender because suffering certainly doesn’t.
17) I judge people on the way they treat me, not on the behaviour of others.
18) I believe there are good men.
19) I believe there are bad men.
20) I believe there are good women.
21) I believe there are bad women.
22) I believe every human being is accountable for their choices and actions.
23) It is up to every person to give meaning to their life - pursuing revenge is a choice.
24) Every person is responsible for steering their own life in the right direction.
25) Every man should live with integrity.
26) Every woman should live with integrity.
27) The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility – starting with our response to that statement.
28) I believe anger is a valid human emotion, what is important is not letting that emotion shape our response to others.
29) I believe the world would be a better place if every individual started working on the man in the mirror.
30) We should consider the notion that society is not guilty, that sits with the individual lawbreaker.
31) Negative thought patterns do not pave the way to a fruitful future.
32) Stable society is not achieved by balancing opposing forces, the key to that is in self.
33) I believe men and woman deserve compassion, equally.
I chose the number 33 because in yoga this morning I drew the card 66 while I was pondering how many to write. That is the card for ‘Coming Together’ – and as men and women are equally responsible for that, I settled on 33. It made sense at the time.