We live and we learn

11 August 2019 | Columns

Iréne-Mari van der Walt



The great irony attached to most social movements of the 21st century is that, despite being aimed at pushing and broadening labels which they represent, they merely shift it.

Feminism is one such movement being criticised as hypocritical in demonizing men's rights activism and treating it as an enemy.

Cassie Jaye explained that she, as a feminist filmmaker, went about making a documentary named The Red Pill. She set out to expose men's rights activism for the demon she thought it was until she realized that it was in no way a threat to feminism, but rather an ally.

Both these movements are aimed at equality and social justice, but Jaye discovered that the jabs the feminist movement takes at men and men's rights activism was negatively affecting the male struggle for equality.

Females labelling men as 'dogs' and running through the streets of Windhoek chanting “men are trash” fuel the stereotype that men are rapists, domestic abusers and many other horrid things by playing the stereotype.

Men are not trash. Rapists are trash, people who harm their families are trash!

If you don't call it what it is, a vicious cycle continues.

Women can keep making false rape or domestic violence allegations, and as long as there are women who cry wolf, real victims live in fear of ostracism.

We do not live in equality, because our definition of it is warped. So many social movements operate under the pretences of equality, and they may have the most noble of intentions. Their work however seems to be aimed at elevating them above their counterparts.

The LGBTQ+ and the Black Lives Matter movements are vital to equality. Nobody deserves to be nullified for their sexuality or their skin colour. Black truly is beautiful and gay is really okay, but what is not okay are minor episodes where terms such as 'white' and 'het' (short for heterosexual) are being used as derogatory. That's not equality.

I like lurking in the comments on social media and I've often seen that the opinions of white individuals are countered with comments on their lack of melanin. That's not equality - have we not learnt?

Equality is a balanced scale. Taking whatever was on the one side of the balance and transferring it to the other side will not give us balance. It results in an imbalance to the opposite side.

I am passionate about a world where we can live together, laugh together and love together – but we must learn the fine art of balance.

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