I must take issue with a post by local blogger and radio host Mariane McLeod. She published it a couple of days ago on her McLeod’s Musings blog below:
I am a bit disturbed by its content. I’m disturbed because I thought in 2014 we were beyond this type of gender baiting. Please indulge me for a second. Go back to Mariane’s blog and where she references men or males substitute one of the following words: Gays, Woman, Muslims, Blacks or Jews. Puts a bit of a different spin on it doesn’t it? Would a post like that still be acceptable? But the subject matter is about men and every time we read the news these days there is yet another story about men behaving badly. So I guess we are fair game, keep our heads down, our mouths shut and take our lumps. Well not on my watch ladies and gentleman!!!
You need to read Mariane’s blog to make sense of this post. I will assume you now have, so let’s take a closer look at Mariane’s encounter with “Bike riding dog walker man”. For convenience I will call him BRDWM.
Firstly, in the #yesallwomen hashtag climate that we live in these days. If I were out walking my dog and found myself on a quiet trail and a lone lady approached from the opposite direction with a dog. I would pull my dogs leash a little tighter and avoid contact, with the exception of a polite nod. Sad but otherwise you could end up on the receiving end of a social network rant. BRDWM changed his direction and started walking along the trail, lock step with Mariane. Don’t get me wrong I think this was completely inappropriate and wrong, but misogynous entitlement? The poor schmuck maybe (wrongly) thought he saw a connection between the two of them. She excused herself and went home, unfortunate that her walk was ruined, end of story. If it is exactly how Mariane described this, it merely seems like an unfortunate encounter with a person with bad social graces. It doesn’t sound like BRDWM propositioned Mariane, nor did he comment on her appearance, he did not ask for her phone number, he didn’t follow her to her house. He simply walked along side her on a trail uninvited. Bad manners certainly and it did not sound like Mariane was scared, just annoyed at the intrusion and BRDWM’s sense that he was “entitled” to walk with her along the trail. What disturbs me is how quickly the dinner conversation about this incident, got to a place they were using words like “assaulted, attacker and change your usual walking route”. Am I missing something here? Is this where we are at as a society? A women finds herself alone in the company of a man and he is to be immediately treated with distrust or as a potential abuser. Surely not?
A few men behave badly. In fact some men still think it appropriate to pass a comment on a woman’s appearance. Even if he does not know the woman or the woman is a work colleague. I do not do these things, so please stop lumping me in with Jian Ghomeshi, Ray Rice and Bill Cosby. Because I find it quite offensive. I also believe that because of the well-publicised accounts of these men and other infamous woman abusers, everyone seems to be getting a little hysterical about the subject. In my network of male friends and acquaintances, I can actually only think of one person that would be capable of the boorish type of behaviour (inappropriate comments, not rape) that Mariane seems to think is rampant amongst the male gender of our society. In fact who the hell are these guys she talks about that constantly say it’s a woman’s fault if she gets raped or attacked? Because I have never heard it from any of my male friends. It also sounds like the two fellas that were at Mariane’s dinner party, were so surprised by her aggressive attitude on the subject, they got themselves painted into a corner from which there was no return. Nothing they could say would be right or correct. We should all collectively take a deep breath and try to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour in men and women’s interactions with each other. Both genders.
As usual I would like to hear your (especially women) views on this post and Mariane’s blog. Am I off base? Am I living in a bubble? And yes the world is in fact a sexist hell hole for you ladies out there? Or is Mariane being overly sensitive on the subject? Also if we are fortunate enough that BRDWM reads this or Marian’s blog. Maybe he could take a little time away from trolling the local trails and footpaths for unsuspecting radio hosts, and tell us what the hell he was thinking that recent Thursday afternoon.