Author: Karen Banting
Karen Banting is a pilates instructor with a background in psychology, and is endlessly fascinated by how powerful our minds are in shaping our external environments. She is passionate about social justice, personal growth, and using physical challenge as a means of developing mental and emotional strength.
I wrote a blog post recently about a man getting in my space and creeping me out in an elevator, and posted the link to my Facebook page. I couldn’t believe the chorus of voices that rose up in the comments to defend him, and defend men in general, as though I had somehow accused them all. There were even comments about how my fearful attitude is partly responsible for “attracting these types of situations”.
It blew my mind how quickly people jumped to the man’s defense, and also questioned my read of the situation, as though they, people who were not present, somehow understood what happened better than I did.
It seems to me that as feminists we often shy away from any suggestions of what women can do to improve our circumstances, as though conversations of that nature are tantamount to victim blaming. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is dismissed as “faux feminism”, and even beloved Jennifer Lawrence caught heat for acknowledging the role she feels she played in the wage gap between herself and her male counterparts.
I get where this resistance comes from, and I know it’s ultimately a good place. As women we’ve spent so much of our lives being defined as an ‘other’ and told that the injustices of the world stem from our inherent inferiority, rather than the flawed world we live in. The suggestion that we are holding ourselves back is uncomfortable, to say the least, but I think it is important to consider.