As a woman, I often talk about issues surrounding things that women are generally concerned about, ranging from serious topics to the trivial. In my experience with this, there is one important thing I have learned, and that is the concept of being gender inclusive when discussing sensitive subjects.
Aside from blogging, I am pretty active in commenting on other blogs and contributor communities. I read a lot of content from others and think about the topic matter as well as the delivery from the author. One thing that seems to set readers off more than anything else is when they feel that their gender has not been acknowledged when it comes to certain issues.
For example, there are a lot of women bloggers that often talk about rape and domestic violence and how women are often victims to these crimes. It’s fine to write about these things considering how many women are being affected. However, where they can go wrong is when they talk about them in a way that makes it seem as though men are never victims and women are never perpetrators – like in places where they make a list of warning signs for abusive relationships and every point starts with, “He tries to tell you what to wear” and “He gives you a curfew when you go out with your friends.” There’s no mention there of the idea that a woman could be an abuser.
Ok so let’s take into the account that they might not be doing this on purpose, considering that most people understand that men can be and are in fact victims of rape and domestic violence. I think it’s easy for women get caught up into the discussion from their own points of view and forget to mention how men can be included, and wherever there is a blog post like this, there will be men that will read it and take it at face value. I am even guilty of doing this on my blog, and there have been men that will comment and point it out, and I am glad they did. It made me think and realize that I needed to do a better job of considering the male pov and in some way make a note of it in my writing.
This isn’t just for the sake of being politically correct either. It’s for the sake of respecting the reality for men as well as women. We can’t normalize the idea that men are never victims of rape or domestic violence, and that’s essentially what we are doing when we always fail to mention it in our blogs and discussions with people.
Just something to think about next time.