Emptied of expectation. Relax. (tinyjo) wrote,
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

In lieu of a twitter thread

Bizarrely, I have been finding the current hoo-hah about sexual harassment in Parliament has been oddly reassuring because I have been reminded that, for a change, I don't have to feel quite so much that I'm a hundred miles away from where the rest of society is. I have heard Theresa May say things that I actually agreed with and female MPs from all sides of the house get together to point out that this sort of thing is unacceptable.

Sadly, the response from some male MPs has been quite telling. Roger Gale was quoted in a BBC article as saying "We're in danger of getting into a situation where nobody half bright, half sensible, half decent, will want to go into the House of Commons", which made me think two things.

1) At the moment, bright, sensible decent women make the choice not to enter politics because of the environment that's currently prevalent. Now that's not just about handsy idiots in Westminster; it's also about the abuse of idiots on social media and the constant pressure to look and speak a certain way if you're a woman in the public eye. Still, I have definitely considered getting into politics in the past and decided against it partly for these reasons.

2) I don't think that half decent is the best we should be able to expect from men, in public life or elsewhere. And in fact, there are plenty of fully decent men around who don't behaved like entitled tossers but men like Gale have a vested interest in pretending, both to themselves and to wider society, that it really is *all* men. It isn't. There are plenty of men who are able to behave like decent human beings around women, and I think there is also a group who only engage in this type of behaviour as a type of performative masculinity that they feel obliged to participate in. I remember when I was training at the bank, we went for a drink at the pub and some of the other trainees proposed moving on to a strip club. I declined to join them and one of the other male trainees commented to me in an undertone "You're so lucky!". In that culture, he felt that he had to go along. The problem is the proportion and I hope that we're embarked on a process of changing things so that men who don't feel confident, who feel the need to herd, will start to feel safer herding with the decent men than with the assholes.
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