In recent Australian media, there was a story about a right-wing group harassing a street performer in Melbourne. I watched a few clips of the well-known, right-wing hate group leader verbally harassing and intimidating a street performer in front of concerned onlookers. The online social and mainstream media response over the following days was that the perpetrator was a vile representation of the angry white male, so threatened by a world he doesn’t understand or tolerate that he resorts to animalistic aggression supported by a gang of hate filled men rallying behind him. So much hate, surely it can't be healthy.
In late June Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered by a man while walking through a park in the evening. The horrible senseless murder shocked the Melbourne community. The norm of the era is to take to social media to share grief, find consolation and meaning. I happened to post something about how the culture of men needs to change, how we need to find respect by teaching our sons at an early age to respect women. A simple ideal. Interestingly though I had some bloke online arguing that it's not a problem with men. He then presented a bunch of arguments that woman could also (potentially have the ability) to hurt men and that there is evidence female on male violence. He's argument was fairly lose and I asked him politely to step back and take stock of the situation (an innocent female had just been raped and murdered) and to examine the bigger picture reality that it is in fact men that cause the majority of the pain against women. There is no government funded public awareness campaign raising the issue of female on male domestic violence. He didn't comply so I had no choice but to block him. I am pretty tolerant but I have no time for male anger that's typically a response to feeling threatened.
I'm sure most people reading this post have studied some level of history at school. If you didn't pay attention then maybe spend some time and google 'history of war' and sift through well documented battles where millions of humans, both soldiers and civilians have been killed, lives ended, immense pain and suffering for generations. Battles fought over land, pride, religious beliefs, cultural differences, natural resources, fear and political ideologies. Then take time to consider who are our 'great' leaders that took us into battle. Consider how many of those are women.
One day as a child in primary school I was walking down a side lane on school grounds minding my own business. Three boys my age came up to me, two grabbed an arm each, the third 'Travis' punched me repeatedly in the guts. They left me on the ground winded and crying as they walked off not saying a thing. There was no verbal confrontation, no communication, just violence.
In early high school the class bully taunted me relentlessly during the first few months of year 7. One day in Italian class he gave me the regular bulling treatment. He spit-balled me from behind, poked me with a ruler and generally hassled me while other male students laughed but did nothing. Something inside me reached breaking point and I somehow managed to grab him and pin him against a wall then I started strangling him with every intention of killing him. The teacher screamed as the bully's face when blue and panic and fear set into his eyes. I was subsequently reprimanded by the headmaster and told to cool down, even though for so long I had been the victim. What surprised me was how violent I could be when provoked. Innate violent behaviour. I am a man. I have been learning to control that anger all my adult life.
My partner told me to watch a new comedy stage show called 'Nannette' by Hannah Gadsby. I've seen it promoted and recommended many times by females I follow on social media. I've not seen one male promote it. Hannah is an intelligent human, she raises some pretty good points, some very challenging points too. There was a moment in her show where she poked fun at how white males are the worlds problem and how they must be struggling now that that the tide is turning. I actually felt threatened, not by the fact the tide of power and control is turning, but I felt like I had been bundled in with the bad white males. The fact that I felt threatened has bothered me for the last few days.
A lady recently thanked me on social media for saying something about male on female violence. The sentiment was something along the lines of "thanks for saying something, hopefully things will change". I am sorry, but they won't change. As depressing as the thought is, men have been arseholes throughout history and will continue to be. From school bullies to mass murderers on an international scale. When we face conflict, we should be sitting down at the table and talk through it to reach compromise without battle using things like empathy and compassion instead of resorting to airstrikes and collateral damage. But this will never happen. Putin gets what he wants, Trump does what he wants, men that rape get what they want, men that hate get what they want, men that feel threatened get what they want. The only way our future will change is when men really start to look at themselves and be prepared to make change. Most men feel threatened and challenged by this, like it's some sort of emasculating process. It's not. It's liberating.
I know I'm not perfect. I have flaws, both as a male and a human. I also know that I'm constantly changing. I value self- evolution. I value being challenged. I want to be a better human. I guess I felt threatened by Hannah's white male jokes because I think I'm an 'ok male' I felt wrongly accused. But Hannah wasn't talking to me. She was talking to the men that don't ask questions of themselves. The men that feel so threatened that they behave like men.
I'd like to see a better future, one where men are not in power and women are not in power. Where power isn't something we fight and harm each other for.
Where power is shared so much so that it almost doesn’t mean anything of value anymore.
Then no one would want it so badly that they'd feel the need to fight for it. On any level, at home or on the battlefield.
There is no need for men to feel threatened. Nothing is actually being taken away. All we need is to change how we behave and how we think. That is actually achievable.
I wish the world had more men like Atticus Finch.
*There will be males that read this that will get annoyed. They may respond by poking fun, attacking and defending. It's the male response. I am guilty of it. I am trying my best to change.