Viral #QuestionsForMen Hashtag Challenges Men to Think About What Sexism Feels Like
Do you have any #QuestionsForMen?
On Monday, Elite Daily's Clementine Ford tweeted out out an innocuous, albeit pointed, question about sexism. She asked men if they received blowback for vocally expressing their thoughts on social media. The question was based off her own experience at the receiving end of this type of unwarranted criticism of her writing, criticism that has little to do with the merits of her work but everything to do with her gender. That is, instead of men finding substantive issues with the content of her work, they projected their misogyny as a substitute for proper critique.
The hashtag has resulted in a chain reaction of tweets, with tweeters using #QuestionsForMen to pose ironic questions highlighting the myriad double standards women face daily. The hashtag draws attention to the varieties of male privilege that center around men's work. Unlike women, men aren't typically questioned, invalidated, patronized or infantilized just because of their gender. Neither, for that matter, are they generally harassed and catcalled while commuting to work or while on the job.
The hashtag dovetails nicely with the Australian's sexist obituary of author Colleen McCullough, which overlooked her career success and instead began the piece last week by talking about her "plain" and "overweight" body.
#QuestionsForMen may have had a simple origin, but it has become a megaphone for women to express micro-aggressions they encounter in their lives. The real question, now, is if men listen, rather than angrily respond in kind.