First off, I am a man. A 100% heterosexual man. A man who will likely be ignored for the most part, mainly because aside from some of my friends and family, I am a virtual nobody. I’m not a celebrity who has thousands upon thousands or hell, even millions of people following him on social media. For many who read if that does happen, this will likely be viewed as nothing more than “another one of Robert’s long ass blog posts.”
Knowing this, I still did want to put the effort into sharing my thoughts on gender equality, or the lack thereof. Even if absolutely no one reads this, that doesn’t change how I feel about it and have felt for a very long time.
The reason I began this to say that I’m a man is because many feel that only women would or should support gender equality. I also mentioned being heterosexual (as I am also a tremendous supporter of the LGBT community) because it is also believed that if I’m a man who supports gender equality, then I’m either “trying to be a white knight,” that I am “hoping to get laid,” or even that I “must be gay.” These are the ignorant and ridiculous responses that come with a man who wants to support a cause that frankly, in 2016, shouldn’t even exist or be a problem anymore.
As for me, I am an Army soldier (19 years in July) who is also hoping to become a screenwriter upon my retirement in the next few years. A few years ago, when doing some research on a project I was working on, I actually wondered how we have progressed as far as gender equality was concerned. Now don’t get me wrong; I am a very intelligent man and far from naive. But I just wanted to see specifically as to where we were.
It didn’t take long before I realized it. I never mentioned to anyone that this is what I was trying to find out, but it seemed that the conversations I heard in that time period told me everything I needed to know. Here are some of the things men were saying:
“Women do not belong in the Army.”
“When women can do as good a job as us, that’s when they should get paid the same.”
“Women are fine until they start having babies. Then they’re pretty much worthless.”
“A woman will never be successful without a man helping her somewhere along the way.”
“This is a man’s job. We can’t afford to keep changing all the rules to cater to women.”
“Men should always be paid more than women. We’re better than them at damn near everything.”
You get the idea. And those were the ones being nice about it. As much as this may sound like an exaggeration, very sadly it was not. Between elevators, locker rooms, all-male physical training sessions and so on, these were some of the things I heard. At one point before all this, I thought to myself: Do men really still talk like this? Nahhhh…it’s 2014 (at the time I was working on my project). Surely they can’t still be in that primitive mindset.
But oh…was I wrong about that.
As a man, this really bothers me. I mean, seriously bothers me. I understand that not everyone is mature enough to grow as times change, but the mindset that women are not our equals, now that one…I was certain we’d be a little further along than we are. I honestly believe that for the most part, as with many things, at this period in time, it is learned behavior. I can’t imagine little boys figuring on their own without someone putting the idea in their heads that girls are somehow “beneath” them in some way. I feel it is mostly the older generation(s), but it could really come from anywhere.
As an aspiring screenwriter, I follow a lot of folks on social media who obviously talk about screenwriting. Very often on Twitter, I see tweets where women speak of gender equality in Hollywood. Not to say that is the only place this issue exists because it most certainly is not, but as someone who may be working for people there one day, this is something that has really jumped out at me.
Some people feel that because many of these women are celebrities and some are very rich and famous indeed, that gender equality is “not really an issue.” After all, it’s Hollywood, right? How could anyone there have the same issues and problems as those of us who are not there? Once they reach a certain point, all problems just disappear, right? Because of course, once money and fame are involved, then there’s no such thing as gender inequality or other problems.
What many out there need to realize is that gender equality is not about how famous you are, how much money you make, or where you live. If women are not being treated equally to men, then that is wrong. Plain and simple. Case closed. There is no good reason that in 2016, or hell, even in the last 10-20 years that women still have to fight so hard just to be treated equally. I don’t even see a ton of women trying to have better than their male counterparts. Just equal. The same.
I really don’t see a problem with that. Why should I? Why should anyone?
It really isn’t that complicated to me. If a man and woman are doing the same job, they should be paid the same. Aside from years of experience (which would be the same if it were all males), I don’t see a good reason for things to be so different. I’ve heard and read so many stories where women (not just in Hollywood) are not getting paid the same amounts as their male counterparts and they have either the same experience or more. There’s only explanation for that as far as I’m concerned, and that’s that a lot of men out there, no matter where they are in life or how successful they are, simply don’t feel women are equal to them.
I even had a conversation with someone a few weeks ago in which we were talking about scripts and he said, to the effect, “You shouldn’t work with this company. The person in charge there (a woman) likes scripts that talk about racism, gender equality and you know…shit like that.” Shit like that, huh? That’s what gender equality is to you? “Shit like that”? But this is a very common mindset. Gender equality is viewed by many to be a “trendy” thing that will soon go away.
That is, if we try our best to ignore it long enough. If we don’t talk about it, then it will just disappear.
Over the course of my almost 37 years alive, I have come across many, many, MANY women who were just as good as, if not better than males who did the same exact things. Whether we’re talking jobs in the Army, Hollywood or elsewhere, again…MANY times I’ve seen this. So it’s not even considered to be rare as it once was. Yet, the fight for gender equality still seems very similar to the way it was back in the old days. Women are being treated as though they don’t deserve to do this or that because, well…they’re women. Of course, it will be disguised behind something else, you know, for those who think we’re stupid. For example, gender equality in Hollywood shouldn’t be an issue because every single female celebrity is rich. They are all famous. Every last one. Some people really believe that. So because they may have a lot of money, that means they don’t deserve equal treatment. Makes sense to me. It couldn’t be about principle or anything like that. Of course not.
Same for the Army. Women are allowed to participate in combat arms jobs now. The argument against this is things like, “What if we’re deployed in the field and they have their periods?” or “The standards are going to be changed to cater to them because they’re built differently than men” and shit like that.
Basically, there is always an excuse some feel that women don’t have to be treated the same as men.
Earlier on Twitter, I saw a retweet of a woman who posted a pic of text in which a man tried to flirt with her, but when the flirting fell flat, he attempted to put her in a position to “care” for him. In other words, he came on to her and when he received no response, he responded, to the effect, “I’ll see myself out and hide under a rock now.” My guess is that he was attempting to make her feel sorry for him or give him a “That’s okay.” or “Aww, don’t do that!” Who knows. He was also “day-drinking” (as he put it), so I suppose it should be excused for that reason also. Lovely.
Some of the replies for this were excuses being made for the man’s behavior, which was sadly no surprise to me. But this is part of it as well. Some men who feel they can say and do whatever they want to a woman and she is supposed to just accept it. I especially despise when people say that the flirting was “harmless.” Harmless to who? The person who was doing it? Okay, but what about the one receiving it? Do her feelings not matter in this? So, because the man “didn’t mean any harm in the flirting,” that means she’s supposed to just shut up and accept it?
Again, don’t beat up on the men too much, because some women were making excuses as well. There are unfortunately quite a few women out there who would prefer that their fellow sisters just “shut up” about gender equality. I’ve seen several say that these women “need to stop making a big deal out of nothing.”
Once more, I understand that for the most part (as I’m writing this on a Sunday night), very few will likely read this. But this doesn’t change how I feel about the lack of gender equality that exists throughout our society. The saddest part of all is that in so many ways, this has become acceptable. It’s “the way it has always been,” so how dare anyone speak up and have a problem with it. But we really have to do better. This shouldn’t be a damn fight anymore. Basic human rights shouldn’t have to be a fight in 2016. Same for women’s rights. This mindset from men that women are beneath us in some way is just appalling.
Ladies, for those of you who are reading this, whether you are the biggest-name celebrity in Hollywood or that unknown girl who feels you are a “nobody,” PLEASE don’t give up. EVERY ONE OF YOU deserves to be treated the same as your male counterparts. Don’t stop fighting. Sad that it has to happen, but keep making your voices heard. They deserve to be. I know I’m not really someone who can reach a ton of people, but as a man, I am doing the best I can in about the best way I know how. I have no problem writing about this and much of the scripts I’ve worked on involve this as well. So for the most part, even if I’m not heard right now, that will change very soon. But please…hang in there. A lot of us do care and would love to fight with you. You are certainly not alone.
Guys…we can do better. We need to do better. That’s the bottom line. Many of you are old enough to know right from wrong and you’re still playing ignorance. That is not acceptable anymore. A lot of us have daughters. Sad that they have to be brought into this nonsense for gender equality to matter. But keep in mind that every single woman out there is someone’s daughter. Now if you can be ready to raise all kinds of hell when your daughter is mistreated in some way or not treated equally to males, then you should feel about the same way when it happens to other women. Women work just as hard, if not harder, then we do in a LOT of areas and ways.
They deserve just as much…if not more…as us. I would say it’s about time they got it, but I would be wrong. They should have gotten this a LONG TIME AGO.