Men Are the Same Everywhere: Sam Liebl (Diocese of Texas)
“Men are the same everywhere.”
Those were the words of a women’s rights activist from Kosovo. Many of the women seated in the United Nations Church Center chapel received her statement with enthusiastic applause.
I am one of a handful of men attending the CSW this year on as part of Ecumenical Women. I came primarily to listen and to discern what the role of men should be in bettering the status of women. I also came to voice my thoughts, first, as a human being, and, secondly, as a man.
The activist’s generalization about men raised the hair on the back of my neck. My stomach tightened and the wheels in my head began to turn. Expecting prejudice against my gender and experiencing that prejudice are two different things, I found. By the time I vocalized my response with the other groups in my delegation, I had had two hours to stew on the injustice of “Men are the same everywhere.”
Countering prejudice with prejudice is not the way to attain equality; plainly, it is the continuation of inequality. Such generalizations, aside from being false, only drive men and women apart and hinder mutual understanding.
We can be pro-woman without being anti-man.
I am relieved to report that I have heard few anti-man statements, but I notice that it is often just below the surface. When I leave New York, I hope to have raised awareness of the distinction between prejudices that burn bridges and stifle understanding, and ideas that benefit women and humanity as a whole.
Filed under: UNCSW