Something remarkable happened recently. It happened so quietly that I very nearly didn't notice its value but it's important nonetheless.
A metal band I was considering working with sacked their singer. 'So what?' I can hear you saying, 'Bands sack their singers all the time'.
They sacked their singer because he, (a 27 year old man) made a pass at the 12 year old sister of one of the band members. She quite rightly turned him down but he carried on pursuing her. I need to make it clear before I go on, that no violence was involved and he didn't have sex with her.
What I find remarkable here was that, although nothing actually happened and the police were not involved, the (male) band members decided, without any external pressure, that they didn't want to be associated with such a predatory version of masculinity. There was no victim blaming, (yea, but how was xxx to know? She dresses like she's 18), no laddish sniggering, (boys will be boys) they just decided that his behaviour was unacceptable. There's always been a code of honour amongst men that you don't behave in an abusive, especially sexually abusive, manner towards women but I think even five years ago this would have been tempered with the attitude, 'but he's a good singer so we'll keep an eye on him and make sure that he doesn't misbehave'.
It really does feel that the zeitgeist with regards attitudes towards women is changing. Ordinary men are increasingly less likely to put up with their sisters/ daughters/ mothers/ girlfriends/ wives/ colleagues/ friends being treated as second class citizens. The Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal has shown public distaste for the treatment of women and girls as mere objects to have sex with. The No More Page 3 Campaign is about getting The Sun newspaper, allegedly a family newspaper, to stop publishing pictures of topless women. The public prosecutor is aggressively pursuing people who act violently towards women. I even read somewhere that these days men are more likely to choose a partner on the basis of personality rather than looks or a hot bod.
It's a good time to be female. So how are we, as women, going to embrace our new found freedoms? I'd like to make a few suggestions;
Don't fight over who's prettiest or the most popular. Seriously, it's demeaning and embarrassing.
Be nice and non-judgemental towards other women. How another woman chooses to live her life is of no concern to any one else. We have the freedom to be career women or house wives, celibate nuns or sex workers or indeed anything we please. There is no right or wrong so long as we don't break the law or hurt anyone.
Don't blame men for our failings. All men are not bastards. As women, we need to start taking responsibility for our actions.
We and by this I mean society also needs to stop applying stereotypes to men. They too can be breadwinners or house husbands, strong & silent or sensitive new men.
What an exciting new world it's going to be. I can hardly wait.