• Henrietta

Men and women, a difference in life experience

A LinkedIn post yesterday really made me think so I thought I’d share. Whether we agree or disagree with some of the responses, they all demonstrate that women and men have very different life experiences. Maybe knowing that can help understand what’s happening at the moment.


According to the post, Jackson Katz has done this with many audiences.


"I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other.


Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?

At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they've been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, 'I stay out of prison.' This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, 'Nothing. I don't think about it.'


Then I ask the women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.


Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don't go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don't put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man's voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don't use parking garages. Don't get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don't use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don't wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don't take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don't make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.”


― Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help


(Jackson is a social researcher. He was the first man to minor in women's studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, holds a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies and education from UCLA.)

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Henrietta Geary is an Accredited Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy , No 349256

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