Why Women Smile at Men Who Sexually Harass Us
Hanna Brooks Olsen

This is an excellent piece you’ve written that truly highlights the root issue to this problem. This is exactly why it is so vital for men to be active in supporting feminism and promotes why they need to do so through voice and action - not just on occasion, but consistently until it becomes the new norm. It’s time for society to stop expecting women to mitigate everything on behalf of everyone else, to be the emotional dumping grounds for those who have not been taught to be responsible for themselves wholly (physically and emotionally), but who instead were taught harmful gender roles that cut women and men in half and do not permit us to be whole on our own as we were meant to be. Not only are the emotional expectations impossible for women to live up to, but this along with the imposed gender roles are extremely unhealthy and oppressive. Societal imposed gender roles are oppressive to both genders. Women and men must work together to banish the problem. You targeted the issue of men feeling invisible and not heard. You’ve also targeted how women are held accountable for this and are expected to fix it for men. In my own experience (and quite possibly the experience of all women), I have found myself being held accountable for all of my male partners feelings and emotions… even years after no longer being in a relationship with that person… just blamed for everything and why am I not fixing it for him?? What is the matter with me?? Where is my compassion?? I’m so selfish?? I’m such a fucking cunt (is what it usually leads to, right?). And yes, I too, have been out with a boyfriend and had a man or several men verbally come at me with negative slurs, and the man next to me falls silent and does nothing, and I of course, am left to handle it on my own and do what is necessary. I then have to extend compassion towards my male friend/partner for his silence and lack of action. And thus there I am, carrying all of the weight for both of us… and if I don’t, I’m a heartless bitch. Men need to participate in feminism just as much, if not more than women, as it will greatly improve their lives as well. I hope more men see and understand this. Women and men need to work together. Everyone deserves to feel visible, appreciated and heard in life, but expecting women alone to make it happen for everyone is abusive and oppressive to women in general because it hinders our ability to live to our lives to our full potential… but then, that’s what gender roles do to both genders… it hinders both women and men’s ability to live their lives to their full potential by inflicting restrictions and limitations on them. To effect the necessary change required to put a stop to the damage already done, men must participate in feminism alongside women. They must end their silence and take action, alongside women.

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