Men have been marginalizing, dominating and taking advantage of women for much of our human history. While some of this feeds a need for sexual gratification, more often it is about a need for power and control.
It should be noted that such abuses are not limited to male abuses of females. Nor is it always sexual. Women are "kept in their place" and marginalized in many ways. So are others who fall victim to the abuses of power and control so prevalent in our workplace and our society.
The late Dr. Marshall Rosenberg has referred to this pervasive behavior as the culture of dominance. I think we all can relate to the "pack" mentality that makes us acutely aware of the established pecking order and our place in it. Many are busy climbing to a higher position, even if only in their own mind, and it is almost always at the expense of the status of another.
This is apparent in our relationships, our styles of communication and how we treat those around us. Interestingly, this culture has its own way self perpetuating. Not only do some choose to treat others as lesser than themselves, some also choose to be subservient.
Unfortunately, the subservient role of women has been accepted and enabled for a very long time by both genders. The #MeToo movement demonstrates an awakening to the need for change. But just as waking up in the morning is the beginning of a new day, this, too, is only the beginning of a needed evolution in human behavior.
If we are going to make a difference in our workplaces and in our society, we need to consider a different approach. Each of us has a role in perpetuating the problem or encouraging change. Bringing all this out in the light is a start. But if we do so with our typical blame, shame and guilt all the typical defenses of denial, excuses and blame shifting will impede progress and any meaningful change.
We need to be able to talk about this issue openly with a greater interest in seeking solutions than assigning blame. This starts with each of us admitting we are humans who have made, and are making, choices that may not serve the greater good. How we look at those behaviors, what we learn from them, and what we do in the future to improve is much more important than anything done in the past.
I fully recognize, and readily admit, that I have objectified and marginalized women. For that I am truly sorry and apologize. I believe that I have grown to the point where I can recognize past mistakes and improve my behavior. I also recognize that there is much I can still improve.
As I watched the drip, drip, drip of accusations and admissions, I longed for one person of prominence to step up and lead us to the future. Most deny, deny in part, or admit, and withdraw to the shadows of guilt avoiding the public view. So much more could be gained by simply admitting poor choices in the past, being open to discussing ways to improve, and leading the way to greater understanding and the search for real solutions that will benefit our society as a whole.
This awakening is wonderful to see but it is only the beginning.