In this month’s issue we profile some of the men in our communities who take the time, energy and effort to give something back to others. In our May issue we did similar profiles of successful women who also give back. Just to be clear, I am talking about being there and helping out…in addition to donating money.
Men very often get tangled up in their “male role” as the breadwinner and order giving with little time or attention to emotional involvement. When we devote editorial coverage to the many nonprofits in our community, we more often than not interact with the women who fill many of the leadership roles. When we interact with Ventura county Big Brothers Big Sisters, it thrills me to see the enthusiastic men involved with that organization.
I would like to now change the focus of my male role discussion and briefly address male behavior toward women in a 21st century society that is coming to grips with centuries-old male behavior that treats women like objects rather than equals. The #MeToo movement is not political. It is the modern American net result of centuries of abuse. While there is much to read in the news, I was actually motivated to address this topic after seeing a wonderful performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” produced by our local Conejo Valley 5-Star Theatricals musical theater company. Was Victor Hugo a 19th century feminist? Clearly, he was. Esmeralda, an emancipated woman if ever there was one, was objectified and destroyed by a lustful Dom Claude Frollo when she did not submit to his will. It was tragic and unambiguously critical of how men and society treated women. Have things changed that much since 15th century Paris? Well, yes and no. Women are no longer burned at the stake as witches, but it takes a loud and raucous movement like #MeToo to bring attention to modern abuse.
Men, we can do better.