by Norm Wilson
Women have only had the right to vote for 100 years, While white men have been in control of the US government since its inception. With this in mind, it is no surprise that men have trouble understanding the emotional toll sexism has. Even if the women’s suffrage movement ended 100 years ago, echoes of pre-suffrage America can still be felt today. An example of this can be found with how quickly men will write off women in politics as unqualified. This is the result of the 72 years women were not even allowed to vote. The real reason we don’t have a female president is because many in this country still feel women should not be able to vote. This is why so many political institutions are complete boys clubs.
There are many men who try to deny the problem exists. You often hear, “Women can already vote, what are you whining about?” This is the common mauntra of the alt-right sexism denier. These people have no experience with oppression of hardship first hand, so they are unable to empathise with the long lasting effects that these can have. Problems don’t stop just because they have been solved. In order to fully understand this, alt-right trolls need exposure therapy to the effects of oppression.
The fact is men are experiential learners. As a result, if they don’t have hands-on experience with something, they can have trouble empathising. For example, you often see men greatly underestimate how painful giving birth is. However to better understand the pain of labour, many men have used TENS simulators. These devices use electric pulses to reproduce the pain of childbirth. Fathers who go through this experience have shown a greater empathy and bond with their partner. Is it possible to devise a similar tactic to help alleviate sexism?
We will never have true equality until men know what inequality feels like. This is why all men of good moral character should abstain from voting this year. By not voting they will be able to better understand the struggles that the suffragettes had to overcome. Being able to step into these womens shoes will be a powerful teaching tool for young men. This is a form of exposure therapy that will help men empathize with women in politics. It will also allow them to be better allies, friends, and partners. Boys, taking the year off is a small price to pay for a better world. Also compared to electroshock, it does not really seem like a hard sell.
Some may argue that it is unreasonable to ask men not to vote this year. Those people are wrong. If a person seems hesitant about abstaining it means they are deeply misogynistic. An ally would understand they have to do whatever is necessary to reach equality. Even if it means temporarily giving up personal freedoms. An insecure man’s unwillingness to give up their say in the political process shows that the same sexism that stopped women from voting is still alive today. Men are so self centered that they believe their vote matters more than the millions of women who could not vote 100 years ago. Stop resisting progress, stop voting.
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