By Cassandra Twining | United States
Recently Gillette released an ad addressing and highlighting the changes that our society is moving towards when it comes to men. Namely, it addresses how we as a society are starting to hold men accountable for their inappropriate actions.
This ad has been very controversial and has received a lot of backlash from various media outlets and viewers alike. However, I think these critics are missing the main lesson that should be taken away from this video. Men do not understand what it’s like to grow up as a woman.
That seems like a given, right? But it’s not something people are paying enough attention to. Of course, there are differences in how people grow up. That’s obvious, but how blatant are these differences once you start to look closer?
Before I start I want it to be known I recognize while the way I’ve grown up is certainly different from others, but I certainly think there are a lot of similarities between me and most girls my age. Furthermore, these are just my experiences. I would never pretend to speak for women or men as a whole. It’s just not my place.
The main takeaway of this video is that men don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a girl can be narrowed even further. From as young as I can possibly remember I was taught to take responsibility for myself and the situations I’m in. If there was a man staring at me inappropriately it was my job to dress in such a way that eliminated his desire to do that. It was never his job to perhaps, not stare at a young girl in that way. This line of logic can be applied to many situations in my childhood.
I’m not the only one who has dealt with this either. 77% of women report they have experienced some kind of verbal sexual harassment in their life. That’s 3 out of 4 women. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon for women to experience this all throughout their life. It can make them feel very unsafe and scared. This is where I suggest men start to take a stand and attempt to help.
I certainly think people should be responsible for their own safety and should consider situations they’re getting themselves into, no matter their gender. However, we as a society could try to start changing the balance of who holds the responsibility. What if I was not only aware of putting myself in safe situations, but the men around me were also making sure they were doing their part to make sure I wasn’t in a situation I would feel uncomfortable in. If we shared the responsibility you would move towards women being able to feel safer and more accommodated.
Not only that, but men should want to learn how to make situations more comfortable for women. If you purposely try to make situations scary or uncomfortable for women the problem is much deeper than this ad addresses. If that’s not you, be open to learning! Ask the women in your life what are some things you could do to help them feel safer, or ask them things they fear in everyday life that you probably don’t even think twice about and think of ways you could make that a better experience for women all around you.
I’m not asking that men take all the responsibility for ensuring the safety of women everywhere. I think women should still be aware of themselves and their surroundings and be responsible for their own safety. However, if men started to notice things like a creepy man staring at a woman and stepped in to offer support to the woman, this would revolutionize our interactions and the feelings of fear women suffer from on a daily basis.
The fact of the matter is, women fear things men don’t even think to be afraid of. I encourage men everywhere to start a conversation about it. Whether that be with your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, or just a female friend. I can guarantee they will appreciate your proactiveness, and you will also be able to learn ways to make the world safer for the women around you. Why anyone wouldn’t like the idea of doing that is beyond me.
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