Beware the cornered dog
LIFE AS I KNOW IT
MOST of us have heard the term "cornered dog" and know what that implies. The animal feels threatened and trapped so its lashes out to protect itself.
This is what is happening to a lot of humans lately - many for the first time.
They're feeling cornered by changing times, and fighting back - hard.
Not so long ago, seemingly broad issues such as society's poor treatment of women and indigenous people would just blow over and default back to the mediocrity the people running the show preferred.
But not anymore. People on the receiving of this substandard treatment are - to use another animal analogy - poking the bear big time.
Brooke Boney recently poked, Gillette poked, Colin Kaepernick and Nike have poked, women are poking and LGBTIQ people too. It's all too much for the grizzling bears who have had it their way to, well, bear.
Social commentary is the frontline of this war of words as people's entrenched behaviour is being called out on a grand scale for the first time.
Men were the first to fall, and fall hard. This is mainly because they've never been questioned en masse about their behaviour and its impact on women in the history of existence.
It was expected there'd be a backlash of some form. They are, after all, a group that makes up half the world's population and born into a culture of being in charge, so playing hard ball was the patriarchally-charged response one would expect.
But as men like to say, you can't tar every male with the same brush.
This is true. While many are learning on the run, others are hell-bent on destroying everything in their paths - as ironic as that may be, given all that's being asked is that they help women feel safer around them and have the same opportunities as them.
The sneakier ones try to lasso the dialogue and water down their personal responsibility by pointing the finger at the criminals rather then the group culture that enables these bad eggs to flourish.
Others try to diminish the scale in which men contribute to degrading and violent social behaviours towards women by offering up reverse examples, but mostly these are dismissed or laughed off, not only by women, but other men. This really cuts deep.
Implying women's violence towards men is just as prevalent is an impressive attempt at saving face, but in the grand scheme of a patriarchal society that favours males, feeble excuses aren't good enough anymore, and men are being told so.
The #metoo and #timesup movements are relentless in ensuring men - the good, bad and undecided - have nowhere to hide. This can cause uncertainty and fear, but rather than look at destructive entrenched behaviours and perhaps learn something by them, their default response is to get angry and defensive, or attempt to explain their way out it. The latter behaviour inspiring a new term - mansplaining.
So yeah, it's hard going for women fighting for equality while they try to navigate the minefield of masculinity out there and the various responses to it. You can see why the comments section on any post that questions male behaviour and the effects of a patriarchal society might see a few lids flipped.
Despite the facts and stats on topics such as gender pay gaps, corporate glass ceilings, counting dead women, and the lack of respect towards females historically, many men resort immediately to attack-dog mode. It's a far sight easier than digesting what has just been laid out for them in plain English, it seems.
The other large group to be cornered are white people.
The principles are much the same as men's behaviour towards women, and it seems the reactions are too.
Look at the backlash about changing the date. Look at the need to trumpet, "It's okay to be white."
Despite the ease with which a date could be changed, we refuse to, unapologetically.
Despite the explanation of why January 26 is painful and inappropriate way to celebrate a national day that champions inclusiveness, we continue to boo and hiss it down every time it's brought up.
Ditto for a national anthem that is supposed to represent all Australians, its 'young and free' reference disregarding the oldest continuous culture on the planet and a first nation people still living in third world standards.
This challenges our domination and ineptitude by forcing us to confront our warts-and-all history - and we don't like it.
White people also don't like being called racist as recently demonstrated on the go-to platform for outrage -- breakfast TV.
In our minds we're just patriotic and proud of our nation, we like to chant this, loudly, often to drown out dissenting voices.
But there is a stack of racist attitudes that filter through at many levels. Most white people have contributed to this by saying or thinking things that are on the racist spectrum, or stand by while friends and family do it on their behalf without any rebuttal.
We all benefit from a society has been been built and is still powered by racism, but some of us are more blind to this concept than others, and take to social media to confirm this ignorance.
As progress continues for women, people of colour, and the LGBTIQ community, those being pushed into a corner for the first time might continue to dig in their heels and spray away for some time yet. But rest assured, those on the receiving end of that hate aren't going to back down anytime soon either. What have they got to lose?
These are interesting, if not frightening times, but the alternative of going back to how things were, a much scarier prospect.