Behind every woke man is an exhausted feminist. Since the Harvey Weinstien allegations broken women have been sharing stories of sexual abuse and harassment under the hashtag #metoo. The men in our lives were all very shocked by how widespread the problem is. The women were not at all shocked.
It’s natural to want to educate those you love and / or are facebook friends with about sexism. But we’re busy women, we’ve got shit to do. Considering that women do most of the emotional labour in relationships anyway, can the blokes do us a solid and handle this one themselves?
I know they won’t, but you don’t have to spend hours online justifying your existence to your men anymore! Here’s a handy reading list you can send to men next time the facebook comment section on your difficult-to-post #metoo status gets a bit aggy.
For the ‘how could we have known’ men:
- How could we have known except I knew
- Discussion point: Tarintino didn’t know, until he did. Do you think he claimed not to know because he didn’t find the behaviour unacceptable? Your mate in the pub who gets a bit handsy after a few, do you think the women he’s groping enjoy it?
For the ‘I can’t believe it’s so widespread’ men:
- Toxic Masculinity is everywhere
- Discussion point: Every single adult woman you know has been sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused. Is the one creepy man you know assaulting all of the women you know?
For the ‘they could have said no!’ men: (also works for the ‘they shouldn’t be in that situation’ men)
- The economics of consent
- Discussion point: ‘I genuinely didn’t know she didn’t want to’ — did she seem uncomfortable? Consent is a low bar, do you aim for enthusiasm?
For the ‘men get abused too’ men:
- The problem with men saying #metoo
- Discussion point: why do we only ever have conversations about male sexual abuse over the top of conversations about female sexual abuse?
For the ‘why didn’t they say something sooner’ men:
- Why the victims didn’t speak out sooner
- Discussion point: Do you foster a welcoming and supportive environment for the women in your life to discuss deeply personal issues? Have you ever minimised their experiences, made sexist remarks around them, or uttered the phrase ‘he probably didn’t mean it like that’?
For the ‘me?’ men:
- Men, here’s what you do when somebody says you’re being sexist
- Discussion point: Hand on heart, how many times do you think you’ve made a woman uncomfortable? And no, the answer is absolutely not ‘0’.
For the ‘what can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen again’ men:
- Men, you want to treat women better? Here’s a list to start with
- Discussion point: If a woman accuses your best friend (who you think is a nice guy) of sexual assault, do you believe her? Why / why not?
For the ‘I’m genuinely interested in feminism and your experiences but I know it’s difficult and unfair of me to ask you to educate me so I’ve done my own reading and I’m now aware of the privileges my sex gives me. I know that my life might be difficult but I fundamentally understand it’s not difficult because of my sex, whereas I know women experience the world differently. We can all do better and I vow to be vigilant and call out sexual harassment, especially amongst my peers. I also know that what I may have considered ‘good fun’ or being a bit handsy previously can be read very different by the women in the situation because I now understand power dynamics. The problem is widespread and I know that I am part of it’ men: