Jackson Katz’s words have gone viral, and with good reason. I am so thankful for men who have the conviction and the courage to speak up about violence and harassment. Katz said that the quote below is from a speech he delivered five years ago. Lately, it has gone viral throughout Twitter and Facebook, in the aftermath of #HarveyWeinstein revelations and the #MeToo hashtags of women who have been attacked or harassed.
“I have been doing and saying this stuff for a long time—the only difference is now people are paying attention.”
We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women.
We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls.
We talk about how many teenage girls got pregnant last year, rather than how many boys and men impregnated teenage girls.
So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women.
Even the term ‘violence against women’ is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ‘violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them…. Men aren’t even a part of it!
Jackson Katz, Ph.D.