Lately, I have noticed a really disturbing trend in the belief system of some men – young and old. There is a consistent theme of entitlement and the corresponding message that women must be owned and controlled. One would think that in a progressive world shared by men and women, each individual (man or woman) should reserve the right to the freedom of their own expression so that they may reach their full potential.
We cannot understand another’s position because we each perceive a situation through the lens of our own experience
~ Martial Devotee
These experiences can be vastly different depending on where you grew up, your gender, your social background and the number of factors is limitless.
As you read this, I challenge you to let go of these perceptions, keep an open mind and put yourself in the shoes of those that you may be opposing.
This is empathy and, it is my guarantee, that you will begin to understand the position and plight of others more effectively.
A Lack of Respect for Women
Now, I know that we do not live in an ideal world where one has absolute freedom. Men and women, alike, are not free to roam as they would like to, because they are susceptible to certain dangers. I also know that much about this type of idea of policing women, stems from care and protection. We want to prevent anything untoward from occurring to the women that we love. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it paves the way for vile demons to capitalise on this way of thinking. They use this idea to tighten the chains of abuse that they have over the women in their lives. They claim absolute power over another human being which generally leads to severe abuse and femicide. If the woman no longer complies, she is often subjected to the same dangers that she would otherwise face at the hands of outsiders.
Is this what a society is supposed to be made up of? Should a woman be seen as a part of a man’s wealth, as a mere belonging? I don’t think so! How about a world where man and woman walk the path together, where their attributes and strengths are celebrated and combined to form a solid partnership? Many relationships end up in a power struggle for dominance, this in turn leads to the loss of respect and finally the degeneration and breakdown of the relationship itself.
Here are my fears about this type of thinking that is being perpetuated in society and through social media:
- Acid attacks on women that have rejected the advances and proposals of men. A woman has the right to say “No!”
- The punishment of women who do not comply with a set of prescribed behaviours for women by society. This was the mentality of the perpetrators of the infamous Delhi crime of 2012 who victimised Jyoti Singh, “Nirbhaya”. “How dare a woman be out with her boyfriend at night?” Does that not sound like a preposterous question? Who were these people to concern themselves with the goings on of complete strangers? It did not concern them! Yet they felt the need to police this young woman and brutalise her for not complying with their warped values.
- A decay in the moral fibre of society due to a general lack of respect. It is an inevitable consequence that women will lose respect for their male counterparts if men continue to behave in this appalling manner.
A Lack of Respect for Men
The other side of the coin is a fallible one too. Historically, men have been the breadwinners of their families which has provided them with a degree of power within the family unit. This is now changing with women becoming more educated and taking up a more significant part of the workforce than ever before. This, however, does not mean that women should strive for the same type of power thereby emasculating men. This only serves to set one partner against the other in a competition for power. Instead of working together, the couple now begins to work against each other.
As a newer and more progressive generation, we (men and women) should adapt to these changing times. Each relationship is unique because the individuals in the relationship are unique and have their own aspirations and needs. There is, therefore, no winning formula to successful relationships, only individuals that are tolerant, respectful and compassionate to one another.
Respect starts with yourself
Ultimately, respect must begin with yourself. If you want to be respected, you need to carry yourself in a respectful manner and be respectful to everyone, whether they are younger or older than you. Even if they are of a different gender to you or their religious beliefs or sexual orientation is different from yours. Even if you find yourself in a position of power over them, you still need to afford every single individual the respect they deserve.
As a Martial Artist, respect is paramount, and so too, is the ability for an individual to strive for and reach their highest potential. Do not rob others of their opportunity to improve and better themselves. Uplift others and you uplift yourself.
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