Happy International Women’s Day

Here are two articles to set toxic masculinity on fire.

Nobuko Kobayashi, “Every day is International Men’s Day in Japan” in the Nikkei Asian Review:

If Japan has been relatively muted on the #MeToo movement, it is because the fight here is less about calling out the powerful Hollywood predator types who weaponize sex. Rather, it is against the silent nod of the society which permits everyday acts of misogyny.

The #KuToo movement, a Japanese take on #MeToo which protests mandatory wearing of high heels in certain workplaces, may appear frivolous. But it is in fact a fight against grassroots sexism.

Government policies will not be enough to change this mindset. We need to fight sexism from the ground up. As basic as it may seem, we must denounce wrongdoing by spelling out what is wrong. Just as turning a blind eye to a broken windowpane leads to more serious crimes down the road, giving everyday “small” harassment a pass leads to the overall gender inequality.

Izumi Nakamitsu, under-secretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs for the United Nations, in a Kyodo News interview:

“On (Japanese) TV debate programs, men discuss difficult subjects while female announcers are on the set like ornaments. On TV dramas, too, you might see men holding a business meeting and women serving them tea,” she said.

As a result, Japanese children are conditioned to accept gender boundaries as a natural part of society, Nakamitsu said, adding that such norms have been internalized to a highly abnormal degree in the country.

Although the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to raise the ratio of women in leading positions to around 30 percent by this year, the target is apparently still out of reach.