Breaking the cycle
the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
What is tradition? Why do we have traditional roles? Why do they need to exist?
I have always felt that I do not witness as much unfair treatment as I hear about. I've always felt that I'm a pretty fair person, and treat people with respect. But I've spent a little while reflecting on my own behavior. Looking at my actions and trying to identify whether I may have been a part of the problem. Maybe I've had some serious rose tinted glasses on, because now I look a little deeper, pay a little more attention, I see it. I see the unfair treatment, I see the disgusting disparity with how women are treated compared to their male counterparts. It's not right. We need to be better.
Before writing this today, I saw a Tweet by a female YouTuber who creates content about retro games, electronics and many other topics. She was providing a screenshot of her reply to a toxic comment on one of her latest videos. The commenter asks her to let her husband fix things around the house, because traditionally it's the men that do these things.
This is just one post, today. You do not have to go far each day to find a woman being objectified or belittled and that can't continue.
The reason I focus on the word tradition, is because I feel it is this that has to break first. We have to stop passing on these attitudes that a woman is unable to do something, or that she should do something because that's the way it was. You might hear "traditionally a woman would do" or "that's not a traditional relationship" or in this instance "traditionally, men do this". By it's definition, tradition is something passed down generation to generation. It doesn't mean it's right, it doesn't mean it can't be changed. As human beings we have adapted to our environment, we have built things that make things easier. We have changed our environment to suit our needs. But, when it comes to the role a woman plays in our society, we can't adapt that way of thinking? We can't break that tradition and set new?
I bet that most of the toxicity and mistreatment I see online each day is due to the fact that the internet offers anonymity, and with anonymity comes power. That isn't going to go away and rightly so. That same anonymous profile can also help protect people, let them explore themselves or be comfortable with themselves without fear of retribution. So, it works both ways. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't call out poor behavior when we see it. Some people are scared to do so, because it can be reacted to negatively as well, but understand the communities you're in. Learn to ask, understand if a person needs your assistance. Maybe take your queues from the moderators of channels, or private message to ask if it's acceptable to respond.
Furthermore, we don't need to treat the people making the comments horribly in response, making the person feel attacked will close their mind further. A little education goes a long way.
As a software developer for over 20 years, as a father of a young woman I want to see change. I want to know that the colleague stood next to me, who happens to be a woman, doesn't question whether I see her equally. That the woman who steps in to an interview room with me for a job doesn't feel she has to make more effort than a male candidate just to prove she's every bit as capable. Also I want to know when I'm doing wrong, when I'm treating someone unfairly. I want to make sure that they know I'm ready and willing to change where I need, and can call me out when I fall short.
So, let's help break down these traditional views of the world before we have to react to them. Help educate other men (and boys) who may hold these views that they don't have to. Focused on tech or not, these attitudes are prevalent in all aspects of our society. They don't need to be.
Reflect on your own behavior, take a look at what you see online and ask yourself how you may help change things. Can you educate your son, your nephew, your husband on what this does to a women? This isn't just a message to men, this is a message to all. We can set new traditions, higher standards for ourselves.