Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Offensive Advocating: Why it doesn't make sense

Sitting through the Crisis Training classes has highlighted just how vulnerable women still are. It's disheartening to learn the number of crimes that are committed against us every year. While men are victimized by the same crimes, women are targeted by a much higher percentage than men. It's difficult to understand why some women find our gender empowerment campaigns so offensive.

The argument is that if women want to compete fairly with men, then we should not expect any privileges. These come in the form of laws and programs that advocate women's agendas or give us special protections. If we want to be equal, then we should learn to give a good fight and compete on even ground. Many men agree with these sentiments, although the rise of political correctness in recent years has made it difficult to openly express them.

But the truth is that men have had an advantage over women for sometime now. They've been in the workforce longer, have historically been the dominant gender, and they're also physically stronger. These benefits gave them a leading edge in learning to master social, employment and survivial skills long before we ever did. While they are prone to the same crimes as we are, including domestic and sexual abuse, men are usually the attackers and women the victims.

But these advantages have not quieted the growing debate of an anti-male fear that is gaining momentum. From grade school to the workforce, advocates are worried that the campaign for women's rights is coming at the expense of men. Boys at the grade school level complain about girls getting more attention and professional males are uneasy with the special treatment their female peers receive from upper management. These claims have raised the possibility of passing pro-male laws.

But statistics show that this would be unwarranted. Whether at work or at the hands of a controlling spouse, research has revealed that it is women who are more vulnerable and in need of extra protections. Of course, vigilance should be maintained to ensure that these protections don't reverse gender inequalities. But that possibility is highly unlikely. Today's discussions regarding gender equality places particular emphasis on inclusion of both men and women. Since women are taking up their own cause, many are making it a point to include men in the struggle. Many times during the course of the Crisis Training course I sat through, every female presenter made it a point to comfort the male participants by reminding them that the statistics they quoted were not against them.

There is nothing wrong with holding intelligent debates that expose different perspectives. In fact, it should be welcomed. Equality should never come at the expense of any group or individual, but advocating for the disadvantaged is not offensive. It is a right.

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