This letter is addressed to all the men out there who care and believe in equality in opportunity and treatment of both sexes. Thank you for your conscious efforts thus far. We as a society have achieved quite a bit in all fields. We’re going to pay attention to the realm of conversation in this letter.
A big part of our internet and social media lives all of last year was the #metoo movement. Many men supported women who came out with their stories of trauma, but many continuously called bluff on the stories of victims (who weren’t only women btw). Many men felt like they needed to guard the reputation of their clan and started a counter movement called #notallmen. This shifts the attention from victims to men who haven’t committed sexual crimes. That’s not something to boast about because any sane individual needn’t sexually harm anyone. Being humane shouldn’t be considered an award for your personality, it should be the least that can be expected from an individual.
There were another section of men who dismissed the #metoo movement because they believed that it lacked a certain sense of organization. The post below makes complete sense as to why that is an unfair reaction.
But we are writing this letter in appreciation of the men who have tried to make a difference. Those men who have consciously made an effort to change the way they speak to and about women. We thank those men who have not tolerated sexism or misogyny when they witnessed it. But there are certain aspects in common conversations between men (and perhaps, women) that even today still reek of sexism and misogyny. The author is sure that you might have been part of conversations which included at least one of these aspects:
Comments on women’s appearance
She either dresses down or over-dresses. She is ugly and smart, or beautiful and stupid. She moves and dresses like a boy and is labelled ‘undateable’. We urge you, good men of the world, to let women, nay, people be and may their appearance not be the first thing you base judgements of.
Rubbishing of women’s skills
If you witness an accident on the road, does your mind race to the conclusion that a lady driver was involved? If yes, you’ve just spotted the problem. If no, perhaps you are among the few who wait for all the facts before arriving at a conclusion. Thank you for not entertaining stereotypes in your thoughts.
But there is more to this. More often than not, women’s’ skills are immediately considered to be incompetent in a man’s world. It could be any skill, including driving. There are a few that have managed to fight this bias and shine in the public’s eye. For other women, these are battles that are fought without the world knowing about it. It’s a lonely fight and be the man who doesn’t make it harder for them to prove their mettle.
Abuses based on women
No, we aren’t attempting to moral police how people abuse. But we’re trying bring attention to what these abuses are. Terms such as Be***c**d, M**c**d, ra**di and a lot of others are essentially depending on the female sex to be the base of the insult. With a lot of popular content showing characters literally punctuating their sentences with such abuses, we aren’t surprised that not too many pay attention to what they do in normalizing a culture against women.
Using these insults needn’t necessarily mean that the speaker using these is intentionally degrading women. But all we want men to think about is why has ‘Behen’ in these insults never been replaced by ‘Bhai’, or ‘Ma’ for ‘Baap.’ Just something to ponder about. And no, we aren’t rooting for a string of insults where men bear the brunt of it.
For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with the term, here is a definition of it – explain something to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing. It often happens in many circles, professional or otherwise, that you notice that men assume the fact that they have more knowledge about a certain topic of discussion, and find the need to explain it to a woman patronizingly even when not asked. Below is a chart about it by Kim Goodwill. Check this article out to learn more.
Joking about rape
Let’s add rape to the list of words used irresponsibly.
Rape – Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.
Enough said. It’s pretty obvious that it is insensitive to use it lightly in any other scenario.
If you have heard comments on any of these aspects in the recent past, you know there is a long way to go. And this is just in conversations. We haven’t even covered crimes against women and other issues.
But to go further, it has to be the combined effort of both men and women. For that we laud the efforts of men out there who voice their opinions against actions/words which foster a patriarchal, misogynistic culture. Here’s a Twitter thread that shows that #notallmen take actions against women sitting down!
Good guys: tell me about a time you saw misogyny or predatory behavior in action and spoke up. What did you say? What are your suggestions for other men in this situation? #NotCoolMan
— feminist next door (@emrazz) March 3, 2019
The answers poured in..
I’ve found simply not laughing at stupid sexist jokes can be powerful. There is always a moment after a “joke” where they look for approval and validation from your laughter or at least an approving smile. Don’t give it to them. Let them feel awkward and stupid.
— Benjamin T. Jones (@DrBenjaminJones) March 3, 2019
About a decade ago, guy in my office made a rape joke. I yelled at him in front of the whole team, like 8 people.
I only found out the affect, when he contacted me in ’17 to tell me it had stopped him making those jokes again and he now yells at other men doing it.
— Matt Macdonald (@MattMacPoet) March 3, 2019
A few guys I play tennis with were criticizing Serena Williams’ outfit at the Aussie Open, saying that she shouldn’t be wearing something so unflattering. I said rather focus on what she was wearing, we should acknowledge that she is the greatest female tennis player of all time.
— Pete Olson (@Couch2MJ) March 3, 2019
So go ahead and tag a friend of yours who stood up for what was right. If you are a man (or woman) and are wondering about how to make your social circles more women-friendly, then we have achieved our purpose. Happy International Women’s Day!
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