International Day Against Violence against Women: Men, Get Together

Tuesday, 26.11.2019

  Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Often on such days – commemorative or action days dealing with women's rights – the reporting from the feminist point of view is rather disappointing: Here are a few numbers, a few facts, but little questioning of structural problems, little evidence of larger relationships , That was partly true yesterday, but not only. Frankly speaking, I was completely touched when I just wanted to check the press situation for that day, landing on the page of the women's magazine "Jolie".


The "Jolie" is a magazine that I have ever criticized for this and that, including blow-job guides from hell. Yesterday there was a text on the international day against violence against women, including the question: "What must change fundamentally?" Often such questions are answered with advice for women. So, beware, if something happens, the culprit indicates, does not go alone through dark streets, watching better. The Jolie, however, wrote, "There are three things that need to change:" Offenders must be given more appropriate punishment, and boys must be educated to resist any form of female devaluation, women's violence, and hatred of women. "Patriarchy must be fought." Good to-do list!

Women, do not be so stressful

This women's magazine is thus a big step further than many conservative media. The "FAZ" recently reported on an interesting new study: Economist Joanna Syrda has investigated how the composition of household income affects the stress level of men in heterosexual couples. It turns out that men are most relaxed when the woman contributes 40 percent to the common income. When the woman earns less, it makes men more stressful to be the primary provider, and when the woman earns more, the men stress because their ego disintegrates into dust. The "FAZ" wrote about this finding, and chose online for the headline: "Why women should not earn too much". Okay, wow. Now one could think that this is the title of a satire, but unfortunately no, the text actually summarized only the contents of the study together. One could have chosen so many other headings for a comment on this study: "Science proves: male egos fragile without end" or "why men should finally get along".

  It is always remarkable when the solution to patriarchal problems lies in the fact that only women change their behavior. Suspicious, if you ask me – especially if the tips are then to cement inequalities: Women, do not be so stressful. There are these supposed solutions for everything. It is often said that women do not progress professionally because they tend to compete too much and are so mean to other women. Supposedly the hardest things that are said about women come from women themselves. I do not believe that, I just believe that unfortunately men are so lacking in solidarity and empathy that many people notice less when they treat women badly, while at the same time women expect a kind of natural solidarity – which does not exist, especially in capitalism.

Too bad, too shy, too lazy


Or it is said that women could accomplish so much more today if only they were more courageous. Recently there was a contribution by Tanja Dückers in the Deutschlandfunk Kultur, which was about "more women to the microphones": in public debates, talk shows, podiums, and so on. The author noted that only a third of all reviews published in German-speaking countries refer to books by women. And that 87 percent of companies in Germany are founded by men. Why is that? She asked, directly answering: self-confidence. "Nobody prevents women from starting a business." They just are not brave enough. Yes, interesting. It is unclear whether one is more likely to be discussed in the features section, if one is a particularly courageous author; I do not think so. Tanja Dückers, on the other hand, wrote in her article: "Women have to use the free spaces that open up to them today rather than before. (…) A bit of comfort is already behind the noble restraint."

  That is, the honorable intention to write about the visibility of women ends up being saying that women are also a bit lazy. Especially since these "open spaces that open today" just do not "open up", like a flower or something, but they are spaces that women have fought for. But always refreshing when explanations for patriarchy get along saying that the character of women is unfortunately too much and so: too hateful, too shy, too lazy, and so on.

  Or too stingy. In "Zeit Magazin" one author wrote that women should stop inviting men in and even pay for themselves, "with a good tip on top". Of course, women should pay bills sometimes, ideally about half. But the problem is that they earn less than men. Why not simply pay the person who earns more, or both together or in turns, when both have about the same amount? Left-wing proposal, yes, but what do you want to do?

Start with the men

  Why not turn everything around? Why not give advice to men instead of women? Couple of Ideas: Men can continue to pay as many bills as they want, but they should not derive any goddamn claims from them. Men should not go to events where only men are invited to speak. Men should not shit if a woman earns more than she does. Men should not drink so much that they can no longer handle themselves. They should stop murdering their partners and ex-partners. And so on. Think outside the box.


Of course, somebody always says, if you give these kinds of tips, that this is ridiculous. It makes no sense to give such tips because men do not change that anyway, especially when it comes to money, power and violence. But seriously, how useful is it to keep giving tips to women in the hope that one day men will adjust their behavior with happiness? The things that women down patriarchy do not happen to them simply because of natural phenomena, but because people behave badly, and these people are often men. On the one hand, of course one needs laws and other structural measures, but not only.

  Why not start with men who behave badly? In France, it has just been announced that there will soon be facilities to welcome men who have been violent against their partner so that the woman can stay in the home. Thanks, France! And the affected women a relaxed time at the flea market, if they sell the left behind stuff.

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