Saturday, December 19, 2015

Waking the men.

The few blogs I have posted have been written quickly, at least as quick as someone who types 3 words a minute can write "quickly". They have been full of typos and well dodgy grammar. They have meandered and must have given my writer friends ( or anyone with an adequate education ) heartburn , at the least. 
But I've struggled to write about this pressing issue regarding Waking The Feminists.
Why have the men in Irish Theatre remained publicly silent ( for the most part)? 
Why have men ( for the most part)  not joined in calling for their female colleagues to be afforded the same chances and work conditions  as they do ?
If you agree with WTF, have you told them that? Have you told your female work colleagues that you support them? Have you? 
If you haven't , why not?
 Does the word Feminists confuse or annoy you?
Do you disagree with them?  Why? Have you discussed with your female colleagues why? 
Or are you afraid to raise your head in their defense ?  
Are you keeping your head down and looking after yourself? You may have a mortgage and a family, I get it. Maybe you think its not your fight. I think you're wrong on a basic level. Theatre needs an injection of  creative energy. Imagine the energy if the Abbey announced 50% female playwrights for the next 5 years. Imagine the great parts written for a handsome talented man like yourself?    
Are you hoping it will go away and you can get back on with how things were/are ? I don't thing that will work. Actually I'm sure it won't. Sorry.
Have you pulled a female colleague aside and perhaps said you are uncomfortable? That you're unsure how to work with women  now? Have you gotten annoyed that you feel uncomfortable? Have you spoken to other men about being uncomfortable with these feminists ? Have they thrown their eyes to heaven and shook their heads and laughed ? Have you been in a group of men that wished WTF went away? Did that make you feel good? 
Or have you talked with other men and said you support WTF? Have you told them why? 
Have you realized you have lived in a privileged work environment skewed in your way? In a society that is skewed your way. Just because of your genitals. 
This may get uncomfortable for a while. Particularly if you are a man who disagrees with what WTF are asking for. Equality. Simple. 
And particularly if you are a man who have bullied or sexually harassed women in the work place, and since Ireland has  bars for after show drinks in the Theatres , if you have bullied or sexually harassed women there too. I hope this gets uncomfortable for you. At the least.
And I encourage all the women who participated in the Abbey  WTFem  gathering to ask your male colleagues over Christmas ; Do you support WTF? And if they say no ask them why. And more importantly if they say yes, ask them why. And ask them to talk with their friends. Tell them to. 
Because we men have to tell our male colleagues this all stops now. That we want equality. 
So my male colleagues, can we not go all Irish on this and remain silent because of discomfort ( my poor wife has to deal with me expecting her to be a mindreader when I'm angry at her.  Yes it's embarrassing, I know ) 
Speak up men! Show your support for your friends. Because if you don't it will be noticed. 
And women of  WTF if you notice your partner is silent on the issue, may I suggest that you reread Lysistrata to help deal with the issue ( maybe the Abbey could produce it ! There's a thought.)
Lets get talking. Together we can make change simply.
Or else we should really make people uncomfortable.

My last blog about bullying and sexual harassment provoked a large response. I have been contacted by many people. Not just from Ireland. Although this is not a uniquely Irish problem, because the number of work opportunities is much smaller, the impact is felt much stronger. 
I am still gathering information and have had initial contact with some companies and agencies about best way to go forward. I will write something when I get a fuller picture. 
Suffice to say, it's shocking. Shocking. 
The bullying and harassment ( not just the domain of men btw), while jaw dropping , is matched by the total fear to speak out (AGAIN DO NOT SPEAK OUT AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL OR COMPANY WITHOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION ) 
It was also pointed out to me, that people who have suffered will commonly not speak even to friends because of the psychological impact of reopening those memories.
I hope I did not unwittingly trigger anything for  you my colleagues. 

Please share this if you feel inclined. 


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