By Dr. Tiger Devore

Women everywhere, and conscientious men, are realizing just how long the unfairness of women’s place in society has gone unchecked. Suddenly there is a movement to recognize and correct what has been just “boys being boys.” Women are now raising their voices in mutual support of one another. As a result, men are toppling from the very positions of power that once conferred upon them the belief that they had the privilege to mistreat women and expect to get away with it.

This isn’t just about oppression from inappropriate sexualization. It’s clear that the rules of how men treat women around sexuality and sexual interest are changing very quickly. Toleration of inappropriate touch, oppression by sexual innuendo, differentials in hiring and promoting, even gender-based wage differences could all become a shame of our collective past.

So why has this behavior on the part of men and women been accepted for so long? #MeToo makes it very clear that most women have a story where a man in their life has subjugated them. It’s not as if its just one kind of man or one kind of woman; men from every corner of society have been guilty of thinking of women in a stereotypical way that has allowed them to feel falsely superior, even if they spoke publicly to the contrary. Is it instinct? Our ape relatives make it very clear that males enjoy superior status in every aspect of the troop life, and that males fight for supremacy and access to females for mating.

Is it genetic? Maybe. The genetic difference between men and women allows for testosterone to be the dominant hormone in males, and many theorists believe this fact might have the answers.

Since the 1950s, when people born into female bodies choose to live as males, the effect that the testosterone has on them is instructive; they do become more focused, dominant, aggressive, territorial, confident and a bit different emotionally. Since the socialization is different, trans men are (usually) not at risk for being abusive to women.

Is it how men are raised and the mythology of our culture? Is it the sexualization of females to make them into objects and property instead of people? All that is true too, and we must get busy changing how we represent women to girls, boys and men. We need to teach respect and equality for women throughout our culture and must make unacceptable all the traditions that allow for women to be second-class citizens in our times.

We have a chance to make this happen in 2018, but women, and the men who respect them, have to keep this fight up while this issue is so much in the news.

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