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11 Simple Things Men Can Do For Feminism

Listen.

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1. Don't be an activist in the streets and a sexist in the sheets.

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Okay, so you read "King Kong Theory" by Virginie Despentes and a bunch of Facebook statuses about feminism and you're now convinced that feminism is your thing. Stop the car. The first thing you have to do is check yourself and figure out what kinds of macho behavior you're spreading with women around you: Are you one of those guys who says that they "help" at home? Talk to your partner and start doing 50% of the house chores. Do you still give your dirty laundry to your mom because "it's what she's always done"? Dude, please. Are you a father? Congratulations! Do you take on 50% of the childcare responsibilities? Hmmm... better check that too. When a woman gets angry, do you assume it's either because she's on her period or because she needs to get laid? Go back to square one! And, hey, do you think you emotionally support your girlfriend/wife as much as she supports you?

Houses can't be built starting with the roof. There always has to be a foundation upon which to build, and there's nothing worse than being an activist in the streets and a sexist in the sheets.

2. Listen.

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One of the main issues of sexism is that we have culturally silenced women, and given men full control of the microphone for far too long. The first step to supporting feminism is to listen to what women have to say about their own oppression. So get comfortable and listen up.

3. Shut up.

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Would you tell an oncologist your opinions about cancer? It's also not necessary for you to heroically decide to play the role of "devil's advocate" in a subject that does not (what a coincidence!) affect you in the slightest. And please don't interrupt us every five seconds to try to distinguish yourself from "other men." Yes, we already know that not all men are like that, but if you care more about proving that you're not like those other men than you do about truly listening to and understanding our thoughts and opinions on the matter... well then, you're not much different from the rest anyway.

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4. Face your buddies.

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Right, so you've listened to a lot of women, you've begun to understand what this is all about, you've realized that everything's shit, and now you have some suggestions to make about what women should do or say in certain situations. NOPE. WRONG.

Now's the time to do the actual dirty work: face your colleagues. Yeah, that guy who constantly shares pics of naked girls in your group chat, the one who calls any woman above a size 4 "fat," the one who makes a woman feel uncomfortable at the bar when she's clearly having a good time with her friends, the one who says his boss "just needs to be fucked," or the ones who make small (haha), very inoffensive (hehe) jokes (HA FREAKING HA) about assaulting women. NOPE!

5. Use your privilege for the right cause.

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Unfortunately, every time a woman points out a sexist attitude (like the fact that your mom is always the one in charge of preparing everything for a family meal), she's considered to be exaggerating (what are you saying, woman!) or even rude (you're so rigid!). What if you used your privilege for something more positive, like pointing out these sexist attitudes to other men and getting on the side of the woman?

6. Stop judging women.

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Every time you have a strong opinion about a woman, check it by asking yourself if the opinion is rooted in sexist ideas that have been perpetuated throughout your education. In general, don't comment on her appearance, even if you think it's a good comment: women suffer an incredible amount of social pressure about our bodies. When we, women, deviate from the mold that society determines, we tend to receive harsh criticism: if a woman doesn't want to have children, she's selfish and has no soul; if she wants a relationship, she's old fashioned, but if she wants the opposite, she's a slut. Do not perpetuate this system.

7. Whenever a woman expresses an opinion that makes you feel uncomfortable, try to understand why it makes you feel that way instead of getting all defensive or belittling her.

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We all have sexist attitudes. They're just a product of the education that we've received and the societies within which we grew up. Checking oneself for these attitudes is a constant task within feminism, but hey, maybe if you're finding it challenging or difficult, it's because you're learning.

8. Don't undervalue women's problems or say that we're exaggerating.

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No matter how hard you try to put yourself in our place, you'll never be able to experience what women experience on a daily basis. For that reason, don't belittle our problems: if a woman complains to you about the problem of street harassment, don't say "it's a compliment." To you, these issues are the exception, but to us, they're the norm.

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9. Care for your masculinity and the issues caused by the toxic societal model of masculinity.

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Look, just between us, I'm not into feminism so that men can "feel free to cry" or "talk about their feelings." To clarify, I think it sucks that we live under a system that forces men to be strong, manly, and powerful, and that tells us that a sensitive man is weak... but, honestly, I'm more worried about femicides, sexist violence, rapes, the salary gap, abortion, problems caused by the contraceptive pill, work harassment, and having to constantly look behind my back when I walk home in the dark late at night.

It's up to you, as men, to break down the stereotypes that society has imposed upon your masculinity. It's not my job, it's yours. Enjoy.

10. Yield your space and understand that you're not the center of the universe.

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We, women, are heard less than men. Unless we become a "desired object," we also tend to become invisible. Feminism seeks equality because we live in an unequal society. I'm sorry to tell you this if you haven't realized, but in order to reach a true, egalitarian society, a determined group needs to lose power so that another group gains it. It's simple, but it's the most difficult thing. Nobody likes to lose their privilege.

That's why you have to yield your space and respect women's space.

11. And remember: your feminist friend isn't Google.

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There's a common practice in the Wonderful World of the New Ally, which is to constantly support your feminist friend by talking with them about feminist subjects. It's an interesting topic of conversation, don't get me wrong, and seeing you take an interest in feminism is great. But seriously, if you don't understand why it's not called "egalitarianism," go to Google. If you want to understand feminist waves, go to Google. If you don't understand why a compliment can be considered offensive, you can also search it on Google. Seriously, constantly asking a feminist woman all your many questions about feminism is a bit like the new "iron my shirt, I'm feeling lazy."

Thanks and have a nice trip.

This post was translated from Spanish.

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