Brett Kavanaugh Case

Toxic Masculinity Is Leading To Casualties, Both At Home And Abroad

Enough is enough.

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This past week has consisted of multiple accounts of reported violence and brutality against women across the globe. In the United States, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, has opened up about her devastating high school encounter during the 1980s with attorney Brett Kavanaugh, who is currently being nominated by President Trump to replace the retiring Attorney Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

In her testimony, Dr. Ford went into explicit detail regarding the night in which she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh and the repercussions of the incident that have reverberated throughout her life following such a harrowing trial. Kavanaugh unequivocally denied that such an event occurred, and went on to claim that this accusation at a stage so close to his confirmation was nothing less than a smear campaign launched by Democrats to deny him of what he assumed to be his rightful seat, despite two other women coming forward to testify against him. His violent reactions to these proceedings, highlighted by his improper conduct, has various erstwhile Republicans wondering whether or not he's fit to assume the position of a Supreme Court Justice.

Despite the horrors of the current trial in the United States, it's important to note that women are being persecuted by men, regardless of cultural or religious adherence, throughout the world. On the other side of the planet, several high-profile Iraqi women have been killed in what appears to be a witch hunt against those who would dare oppose the conservative culture of the Middle East.

Most recently, Tara al-Fares was killed in broad daylight in Baghdad for choosing to disavow the traditional lifestyle expected of Iraqi women, in addition to three others — women's rights activist Suad al-Ali, and beauty clinic workers Rasha al-Hassan and Rafifi al-Yasiri. All four of the victims had been prominent on social media and had held a public presence that had unsettled the mainstream Iraqi society with their nerve to choose the lives that they wanted to live instead of ones that would typically be expected of them.

The link between the Dr. Ford case and these recent murders reveals a clear domination of toxic masculinity in societies worldwide, regardless of the difference in cultural context and religious justification. The very notion that men are the only ones who hold natural dominance and that women should automatically submit to this dominance without restraint is one factor responsible for why women choose to not report crimes of sexual violence, both in the United States and abroad.

The same anger and pent-up rage that Brett Kavanaugh, a self-proclaimed Christian, spews at his accuser is the same type of frustration that led to the deaths of these four women in a Muslim-majority country. In both cases, men believe that they have the right to control what a woman should do and that those women should not be allowed to rebel against the cultural stigmas and expectations of their people, lest they face dire consequences.

I'm no expert in social conflict or the history of oppression that women have faced throughout millennia of subjugation by men, and nor would I even begin to presume how women face misogyny on a daily basis in both professional and personal environments. But as a man, I find it infuriating that women in any country have to live in an environment where they are told to discard their ambitions for the sake of men and brush aside violence against them for the sake of men.

Instead of simply arguing that it's not all men, we must do better to eradicate our social stigma against women and their capabilities by calling out misogyny when we see it from other men (yes, including at your own expense, because it's better for us to be embarrassed than it is for a woman to face such discrimination), and also by denouncing sexual violence in whatever manner we see possible. For the sake of women worldwide, we must do better to destroy the toxic masculinity that attributes to these horrible instances of violence against women.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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In Case You Haven't Heard, My Body Means My Choice, So Deal With It

With all the political differences and laws trying to be passed, based on what a woman can do with her body, demonstrates how the United States decides to use their power and control others by the means of it.

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Since the beginning of America, there have always been minority groups, which include African American, Hispanics, the disabled, homosexuals, and women. Such minority groups have made it their responsibility to fight for their rights and earn justice for it. However, there has recently sprung up a debate on abortion policies, attempting to alter and re-write the rules on Roe vs Wade per state to pursue when or if abortion is illegal based on certain circumstances.

Now, I am not writing this in any means to deter you from your individual opinion on this situation or your perspective, but I do believe that I have a voice in this situation since I am a woman and this situation affects me if any of you individuals like that or not. And most of all, I deserve to be heard.

Starting off, in no means should a man, government officials, or anyone for that matter be able to decide what is acceptable to do with my own individual body, EVER. How have we become a country that thinks it is more than okay to tell what others can do based on the decision of another person. See, we have this thing called bodily autonomy which means we have independence over our own body, or at least we should. A prime example of this is when an individual dies, a surgeon can not remove the person's organs (if they were an organ donor) until the designated power of attorney says it is okay to do so. However, it is apparently acceptable and illegal for someone who has become pregnant through rape or in general is unable to care for a child to receive an abortion and loses their bodily autonomy for the following 9 months. How does a corpse have more rights and bodily autonomy than a pregnant woman does today?

Currently, the state of Alabama has passed a bill that makes abortion illegal under any circumstances and committing this now known felony, can lead to a very long jail sentence. In fact, committing abortion in Alabama (for the woman or the doctor) can lead to a longer jail sentence than someone who raped another individual. Wow. How is that acceptable????

Many states are following in Alabama's lead and we need to put a stop to it before it becomes too far. We women, need to fight for achieving our bodily autonomy and band together and show America that we are a force to be reckoned with.

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