28 Sep Cultural Wars and Wet Groins
If you are reading this sitting in an office somewhere in the East then what is happening right now in the USA regards Kavanaugh v Ford may seem far away. Believe me, it is much closer to home than you imagine.
Or to put it another way, what is the link between Brett Kavanaugh and a woman squirting liquid on the groins of males sitting on public transport in St. Petersburg?
Answer: The #MeToo Movement
It was October 2017 when the #MeToo Movement took off and began to shake up male (and female) complacency over men’s toxic behaviour. A year on and we have a better appreciation that what is happening in Washington DC today is merely the latest episode in a series that is just getting warmed up and definitely going to last longer than Dallas. As far as Brett Kavanaugh is concerned, Dr Christine Blasey Ford is merely his first accuser. Waiting in the wings, for their turn to speak against the man President Trump has nominated for the Supreme Court, are Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
But this is not just about Trump’s failure as a President, Kavanaugh’s increasingly uncertain future, or an historic US Senate Hearing; this is a battle for the very soul of the USA. What we are witnessing is a sudden war, only 12 months old, though in truth centuries in the making. It is a war which has women signing up in droves; deciding enough is enough and taking direct action to challenge the patriarchs and their patriarchy. The increasing number of women now getting involved in US politics for first time in their lives are highly motivated, and very angry. They recognise this to be an historic moment, one which rightly requires answers to some big questions, such as; “What will I tell my kids in 30 years? Will I be able to tell them I did something?”
That is one question to answer. Here is another: Will the cultural war now being fought out on the streets and in the homes and offices of the USA, spread East?
Which brings me back to that woman doing something to men’s groins on the St. Petersburg subway system.
But first, ask yourself why so many women in the USA are angry. Are they angry with Trump, the ROP, men such as Kavanaugh?
Yes, they are. But more than that, growing numbers of American women are angry with themselves. They are angry and embarrassed that they put up with this toxic male behaviour for so long but did nothing. They now have to face a harsh self-judgement: that by being passive in the face of male predation, they were complicit in it.
That complicity is now ending, and fast. The decision to never again be passive and acquiescent in the face of male dominance and abuse is driving women to act.
And so, to St Petersburg.
Manspreading may not seem to you to be the greatest threat to humankind, indeed you may not even know what the term means, but as a symbol of the same virus that infects men such as Kavanaugh, Trump, Weinstein, Crosby, and possibly the office you are working in, it is over-flowing with meaning.
Anna Dovgalyuk is an unknown, or was: just another ordinary millennial young woman living in Russia. But like a growing number of her generation she is making a personal statement against male power, against masculinism (the cultural assumption of male dominance), and against hegemonic (toxic) masculinity in whatever guise it manifests itself, even manspreading.
Manspreading may be how you ‘naturally’ sit; perhaps merely an irritation you put up with; or something you’ve been conditioned not to notice, but for Anna Dovgalyuk it is far more than that. And by acting against it, she has politicised herself. Dangerous thing for a woman to do in Putin’s Russia.
As it is in China.
And this is where I can answer my own question posed above: “Yes, the cultural war has now spread to the East”.
Like every other major American cultural export, from fast food to movies, the Pink Wave cannot be stopped in the mid-Atlantic.
A year on from October 2017, and China too is now inexorably caught up in the #MeToo Movement. The Pink Wave is sweeping up the Yangtze river and no man-made barrier is going to stop it. Accusations of men’s sexual misconduct, ranging from rape to groping, in locations as diverse as temples, universities and TV talk shows, are fast multiplying.
It may not be at the level of the current US Senate Hearings, but very shortly China too will have its first public, and legal, #MeToo confrontation; this one being ‘Xianzi’ versus Zhu Jun, a famous Chinese television celebrity.
There is a lesson here for all of us. Which is that we are not just entering a new century, we are entering a very new cultural, political and social age. Your grandchildren will look back on this era in the way that you look back on the first part of the 20th century: a mix of familiarity and strangeness. A lot of what you see in the movies and photos of that time you recognise, you just cannot get your head around many of the curious social practices.
Future generations will likewise look back on the curious but highly toxic male practices now being dragged out screaming to full exposure in the glaring light of the global media. And they will recognise what was happening. Hopefully, however, they will not recognise, nor accept, such practices in their everyday lives.
If we are to reach that desirable state then you too must ask yourself ‘what did I do to help bring that about?”