Recently, in the mainstream media, there have been reports of several men abusing their power within their prominent industry or workforce to take advantage of women and exercise their undeniable privilege.
The President of The United States is a sexual predator. Harvey Weinstein, who was once a leader in Hollywood, is a sexual predator. The man who runs your country and the man who created the art you love are the men who think it’s okay to abuse their power and touch women without their consent.
That Ripe Patriarchy
Men and their abuse of power stem from ingrained notes of patriarchy and the deeply rooted misogyny that exists in our society. It’s in the way we tell men that sexual conquests equal power, fame, and respect. We teach them that when they’re powerful, they can get away with anything, like Brett Kavanaugh. We show them that the world is theirs for the taking, more specifically, women are theirs for the taking.
As most of us know, none of this is new. Let’s revisit the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. Clinton, 43 and Lewinsky, 22, both engaged in consensual sexual acts. Bill Clinton was the President, and Monica Lewinsky was an intern. Is there a more high profile example of the abuse of power? Not to mention Lewinsky was only 22 while Clinton was 43. All sexual acts as far as we know were consensual, but we can’t help but look at the extreme age difference and shifts in power when viewing the scandal. Side note, Lewinsky’s life was ruined, made a joke of and shunned from the world.
What abuse of power teaches our daughters
Abuse of power explains to our daughters that they are less significant and less important than men. Since men have the upper hand, they can use it or distort it in a way they choose. Abuse of power shows our daughters that violence and harassment is just something we have to deal with and that it is inevitable in our lives. It leaves confident women feeling they were born guilty, deserving of inexcusable treatment.
How can women feel equal within a society if abuse of their bodies and their lives are tolerated? How can we have people in power who knowingly and unknowingly treat people second class making the laws and judiciary rulings and important, influential decisions if they don’t recognize the imbalance?
The Final Truth
My exercise for everyone is to look for the abuse of power within the relationships in your life, examine them, and see the detrimental effects of imbalance. See if you can call out imbalances in society as well, and don’t be afraid to notice them. Abuse of power lives everywhere and the more we stay silent about it whether he sits in the white house or he sits next to you, the effects are real and true.