Saturday, 10 March 2018

#metoo v International Women's Day

My survey overwhelmingly indicated little or no correlation between International Women’s Day and #metoo.

These are viewed as mutually exclusive.

Certainly, there were a significant number of respondents saying #metoo is far more meaningful or relevant than IWD.

There were examples provided of career progression being stalled as roles were given to Men who played a game Women were welcome to play but felt uncomfortable playing.

There were also stories relayed about the role alcohol plays in poor workplace behaviour towards women.

Further, it was felt that #metoo would prove to have a positive and lasting impact for Women to no longer be expected to “put up with it without comment or question in order to get ahead”.

I sense there is great hope for what the #metoo movement will do for women and career progression being achieved without the need to compromise a sense of values.

It was also felt that #metoo empowered Men to speak up more easily about inappropriate behaviour by other Men and great positive hope at the impact this could have.

However, there were also several specific and quite unexpected references to #metoo.

One respondent said:

I’m fast reaching a point I don’t know how to act around women I’m attracted too anymore...for fear of an inappropriate approach”

This came as a shock. I know this person well and I know of no male less likely to behave in an inappropriate way.

And in a different but similar (verbal) reply, a female lamented that as a single 40 something year old female, she is frustrated by men seemingly not knowing how to behave on a date citing they seem to be in fear of doing something wrong.

She went on to say that if she was to go on a Tinder date, there is a pre-agreed expectation as to where that will end up and that is fine.

But her frustration is on what she called a “real date”. She talked about being of a dating upbringing where the she expects a male to take her hand, initiate the first kiss but now, this is a rarity. She joked that if all goes really well, he might kiss her on the cheek goodnight on the third date.

It seems both males and females are having some similar frustrations in light of #metoo.

Interestingly, I had breakfast with a female friend yesterday and I raised this issue with her.

I commented that surely common decency and manners just need to apply and the fear would be overcome.

She agreed but only partly and very strongly referenced the need for two adults to have a conversation and to raise their concerns.

I asked if such a conversation was practical over dinner on a first date. Her response was we are talking about adults over 40 years of age so of course it is.

The analogy we discussed was the HIV fears of 18 or 20 years ago when the issue of safe sex was openly discussed as a normal topic of conversation and #metoo should be treated the same way.

Perhaps #metoo should be viewed as a conversation catalyst rather than something that makes a date or dating uncomfortable.

The interesting and unexpected aspect of this is the fear of behaving in a way that could be perceived as inappropriate is impacting interactions for Men and Women alike.
Or, is it unexpected?

The final finding of my survey will be addressed in the next post.

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