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Thinking about the Current “Sexist Explosion”

 Dear Sisters,

The sexist explosion surrounding Hillary Clinton’s run for the U.S. presidency led to challenges and opportunities that moved us forward in our battles against sexism and male domination.

Right now there is an even greater explosion. Every day famous U.S. males are being charged with sexism (most often sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace) and are being asked to step down from their jobs.

How are you working on this in sessions and support groups?

When was the first time you experienced unwanted sexual attention? When was the next time, and so on?

When did you go silent? How are you discharging on that now?

When and how did you stand up for yourself? How did you reach for allies?

What distresses do you need to work on in regard to the present situation?

What is an RC perspective on the present situation?

What are useful ways to protest? What are not useful ways? How do you assist the women around you—inside and outside of RC?

How are you struggling around men in general, and communicating to them?

Diane Balser

International Liberation Reference Person for Women

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

 


 

Dear Diane,

I feel lucky to have been discharging anger about sexism for fourteen years in RC. Many women around me in the wide world are only starting to “allow” themselves to notice the feelings.

Men tend to notice that I have attention for the issue and want to talk (or client) about it with me. Sometimes I have more attention, sometimes less.

Yesterday a high-ranking officer in my company told me, “I don’t know what to do with my feelings.” I gave him your article “Sexism in the Harvey Weinstein Era” and an article by a feminist, Rebecca Traister, “We Are All Implicated in the Post-Weinstein Reckoning.” I don’t think he has ever given any thought to feminism, so it’s a big deal that he is reading these articles.

I told him that I’ve been a feminist for a long time and I’ve been able to work on the anger for a long time and that’s why I have some attention here. I think that was an eye-opener [something new and surprising] for him.

I think it’s important for me to reassure men that it’s very good and hopeful that women are telling their stories, even though sometimes it may not seem like it’s doing any good. It’s good because the women are showing more, which is scary for them.

I try to keep the conversation more about the women telling their stories than about the men getting implicated for their abuse, for two reasons: (a) because it’s within the pattern of sexism to keep the focus on the men, and (b) because the criminal justice system is irrational and men won’t get the actual help they need for their issues.

I’m grateful to have something as convenient as your article to communicate that yes, I do care about the men and understand their predicament but that now is not really the moment to show their victimization.

I need to have a solid sisterhood (in my mind and in my life) in order to counsel men more on their feelings about this issue.

Lori Leifer

New York, New York, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 191, April 2018)


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00