The Elephant in the Room: Entitlement

I attended an interesting event recently. It was focused on creating a space for men to discuss their role in furthering the progress of feminism, or at the least, creating equal opportunity spaces for women to succeed in traditionally male-dominated domains. For example, corporate careers, public service, sporting codes, and more.

The discussion resulted in the usual points being raised about how we need to uplift, empower, encourage, motivate, and so on. But it failed to recognise one critical undercurrent of this narrative. That is, we believe we need to create space for women in traditional domains of men while ignoring the fact that in so doing, we are still holding the achievements of men as the yardstick for the success of women. And inadvertently, women measure themselves by a similar yardstick. Maybe not all, but from my vantage point, that is most certainly the trend.

The second problem that I identified in the narrative that played out in this discussion is that the sensitivities of the men affected by this disruption of women entering their spaces apparently needs to be considered, as well as the stress experienced by women who ventured into this toxic space occupied and largely defined by men. Again, the problem being that we ignore personal choice and the consequences thereof, and we focus on creating victims out of every change or shift in societal norms.

Therein lies the problem. It is the assumption that success is defined by those currently perceived as successful, rather than the unique value of what we are able to contribute. The entire approach of feminism, from my understanding, is that it aims to empower women to function successfully in traditionally male-dominated domains. What it doesn’t do is encourage women to disrupt that model and create one of their own that rivals or outshines the current model. The point of departure is so misguided that the distortion that it creates is fast becoming a reality.

We don’t thrive by trying to insert ourselves into someone else’s world. We thrive by creating our own unique value and sharing it with the world. We all have something unique and valuable to offer, but we start out with the assumption that such contribution is reserved for a select few, while the rest of us are required to fit in with the agenda of the successful. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

We need to shift the conversation from finishing school and getting a job, to developing our unique talents and creating value. If we pre-condition ourselves to believe that success lies in a promotion, or an award, we reaffirm the belief that success is only experienced through validation from those that we believe are more successful than we are, and in so doing, we limit our belief in what success we are capable of creating for ourselves.

Women have critical mass in numbers to create unique value propositions that can easily compete with the domains that men dominate. However, what we lack, both with women and men alike, is the belief that individually we are capable of creating more than what we inherited from others. We constantly focus on imitating the models of success of others, or in trying to gain recognition for our contribution towards the success of others, but seldom do we find reason to believe that we are as capable, or more capable than the people that we look up to for inspiration.

Feminism is a red herring. It is a distraction from the true empowerment of women, by women because it focuses on the performance of women relative to men. As I have said many times, men have failed this world. We have failed society, and we have very often failed our families. And now we’re trying to model the behaviour of women around this failed social structure. Is it just me or does anyone else see the insanity of this approach?

It’s time to reinvent ourselves, instead of trying to make a broken system more efficient. Trying to make the current model work by insisting on inclusiveness is not going to change the outcomes. It’s only going to ensure that we have shared accountability for the failures of society. It’s time to re-think this strategy that is supposed to be the upliftment of women and society. Square pegs, round holes, and fish trying to climb trees. That is how I see our current trajectory for social reform. When will the distracted insanity stop?

The entitlement here is twofold. Firstly, that men need to have their sensitivities considered when the broken model is disrupted. Secondly, that women deserve a seat at the table with men. While both views can be defended quite bullishly, it is the defense of a false positive. You don’t fix a broken system by trying to make it more inclusive, or efficient, because in so doing, you’re still propping up a broken system. Do we have the courage to reinvent ourselves to the point where the current system is redundant? Current trends suggest that we don’t.

It’s time for a social revolution, and that revolution is not about the economic structures that sustain the current status quo of society. It is a revolution that must empower every one of us to rethink our model of the world, so that we can create one that is wholesome, sustainable, and equitable. Equality is a myth, because it dismisses the uniqueness of each of us. The sooner we get this point, the sooner we’ll adopt a healthier approach to preparing the generations to come.

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