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On harassment

This TED talk is making the rounds on Facebook, getting lots of acclaim for its powerful message. It’s a strongly feminist story, told in a way that brings the focus for violence back to the perpetrators.((The presenter also brings up the bystanders dilemma, but makes no reference to the murder of Kitty Genovese.)) I really enjoyed the presentation. I mean, there was a man talking about perpetrators taking responsibility for their actions and creating a culture where it’s no longer acceptable to behave that way. Watching a man adopt and teach other men these core feminist concepts was liberating and validating at the same time. Especially in a period when all of these things happen so close to one another:

But as I continued to think about it, the more it felt like the talk was missing the point. In his intro, the speaker talks about how folks in power tune out when they hear about issues that they feel they can safely ignore because they aren’t directly impacted. This, right here, is the core of all the hateful -isms that keep rearing their ugly heads. It makes me sad that we, as humans, block some of these things out as background noise. I understand that it’s a coping mechanism, that if we all took all the bad things to heart every day we would quickly be overwhelmed and non-functional, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it. At least there are some people speaking out and a bit of positive change. But this is really starting to feel like the 1950′s all over again.

A few links to people who make me feel like all is not lost. They are a start on making spaces physically safe for women, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I will be asking my favorite local Cons about their harassment policies. Every little bit helps.

Crossposted from Journey to the Center, comment here or there with OpenID.