Friday, May 23, 2014

For the right reasons

There is a feel good story going about the internets about a restaurant owner who got a request from a customer for the staff at the restaurant to 'show more skin'.  The owner responded by having a special deal where the profits from selling potato skins would be donated to charitable organizations trying to help rape victims.  Lots of people are tripping over themselves to give the restaurant owner kudos and while I approve of the sentiment I find some parts of this very frustrating.  My issue in particular is "I am the father of a 12-year-old girl and I've got five sisters.  The way that women are treated is pretty personal as far as I'm concerned."

See the problem there?  The way he puts it suggests that the reason this is an issue is because he is close to women so he cares about other women.  Here is the thing:  Treating your staff respectfully has *nothing* to do with the gender of your children or siblings.  Would it suddenly be less crappy to objectify women and demand that they show off in a sexual fashion if you had only male children or brothers?  No!  It is a crappy thing regardless.  I see this kind of thing all the time when the topic of sexual assault comes up and men talk about it as a problem, but only because they happen to be emotionally close to some particular women.

Note I am not trying to slam this guy in particular.  He did something I approve of and that is great and all but the fact that people feel compelled to justify compassion on the basis that the person suffering is superficially similar to someone they know drives me *crazy*.  We should be perfectly happy be good to others even if the only thing we have in common is our simple humanity.  It is much like the way in which people get completely bent out of shape if someone from their own country has a problem but people from other countries don't matter.  Just see how often news stories feel compelled to report on how many Canadians are involved in a particular air crash or other disaster for examples.

When you get mad that women are mistreated that is useful.  Jump around, make some noise, cause a ruckus.  Get that message out there!  But please don't torpedo your efforts by then suggesting that you only really care because they kinda resemble these people you actually care about.  That just tells them that you are actually pretty fine with them getting dumped on as long as it doesn't affect *you* in particular.  If you don't feel that way then don't phrase it that way.  If you do feel that way then you are part of the damn problem.

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