What are the benefits of respecting someone
I don't really want to be respected as a woman
As I passed my timeline, I saw a preview of a comic that appealed to me immediately. Two pictures from a comic by Lunarbaboon, in which a father promises to explain to his little son what a "real man" is. And the explanation begins with, "Do you see those girls over there?"
I was instantly electrified because it's rare that boys are taught to follow girls' examples. And spontaneously, I thought the comic boiled down to it - Wow! I thought that the father pointing to the two girls was because they were doing something great that the boy could learn from. And that a real man is one who is curious about the world, continues to develop, explores things, has adventures.
But no, after I clicked on the story, I unfortunately had to realize that the comic didn't go on as I had thought and hoped, but in a completely different way.
Problem gentleman patriarchy
So the father tells the son to treat the girls "with great respect". Obviously, that's all boys need to know when dealing with girls. Because in the next picture the father thinks his job is done. And the boy explains to the girls that they are great at building something. Sand castles, I suppose.
Ultimately, that's just a modernized version of the old gentlemanly patriarchy. Sure, that's always better than today's fratriarchy, the rule of the brothers who irresponsibly act out their egoism and walk over corpses, including the corpses of women.
But I also don't want to live in a world in which my safety, my freedom, my worth depend on men being kind enough to show me respect "as a woman". I don't want to live in a world where men believe the value of my work depends on telling me I'm good.
Any man's opinion
A real man, as I imagine it to be, is not someone who respects women on principle or who praises and recognizes them, but only if he has the individual special Anna, Lisa or Susanne with whom or whose work he is currently dealing , actually respected and praised and recognized as a person. For all other women it is enough if he leaves her alone. If he does not threaten, harass or discriminate against her.
In a world as I imagine it, women don't care at all whether any man respects them or not. Because disrespecting women has such social consequences for the men in question that they are not aggressive or violent or discriminatory anyway. Even those who didn't happen to have a nice woman-friendly feminist father.
In a world as I imagine it, women do not care whether any man thinks their job is good or bad, unless it is their great professional role model in terms of building sandcastles or whatever they are just doing. Of course, they care about his judgment.
But the opinion of any man is simply irrelevant in the world as I imagine it, because it is nothing different than that: the opinion of any man. In my ideal world, women don't need the approval of any men who just happen to pass their sandpit to know whether their job is good or not.
The father in this comic is by no means teaching his son something feminist, but something typically patriarchal. Something that girls are seldom or never taught: He teaches them that in this world it is about him, the man. That what he does is extremely important.
Of course, it is better if this masculine self-importance is combined with being nice to women than when it is combined with contempt for women and the permission to violence. And I don't even want to devalue the commitment of those men who try in this way to soften the worst excesses of a toxic image of masculinity a bit - I already know that they mean well, and by the way, not all of this illustrator's stories are bad as an article in the Huffington Post shows
But recognizing women as free subjects - which is a task not only for men, but perhaps even more so for women themselves - does not mean praising and "respecting" them. It means taking your judgment seriously and seriously. (Antje Schrupp, December 8th, 2017)
Antje Schrupp represents theStandard.at makes posts on their blog available for publication at regular intervals.
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