31 Women Explain How They Want Men To Help Change The Sexism Culture After The #MeToo Movement

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How Men Can Help Women
Buzz, Self

It's easier than you may think.

In light of the rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent #MeToo campaign making waves in social media, and it seems clear to me that we now facing a critical period when it comes fixing the way in which women are treated not only in Hollywood but in all industries and environments across the United States and the world at large.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't think so. History shows that oppression can only go on for so long before there is an outcry for revolution and change, at least to some degree or another. At least, that's what has been going through my head as I scroll through my social media and find tale after tale posted by almost every woman I know relating their personal experiences being harassed or abused by men in some way.

Many men seem to be having a hard time figuring out what they can and should do with this sudden influx of new information.

While the knowledge that most women have been sexually harassed or abused in some manner over the course of their lives isn't shocking to most women, part of the privilege that comes with being born male is that this kind of revelation is shocking to so many men.

I do find real inspiration and solace in seeing several men in my particular corner of the world reply to these #MeToo stories with just one word: "listening." 

Others went further, writing things like, "I'm so sorry this happened to you. How can I help?" These men out there wondering and asking how they can be of meaningful help and support to the women they know has me believing we are, in fact, on the precipice of significant change.

To that end, I put a question out there to all the women in my life: how can men help change the way women are treated?

I wasn't sure what kind of answers I would get, and I was surprised in a great way to see that they ran the gamut. Some women advised men regarding their penchant for passing legislation related to what women may and may not do with their own bodies. Some wrote about and the way they feel when men tell them to smile.


RELATED: 7 Women — Including A Former Harvey Weinstein Employee — Share 'Me, Too' Stories To Prove It Isn't Just Hollywood


Change doesn't tend to happen overnight thing. It's something that more commonly happens on a small scale and on a person-to-person level. Sure, you as one man probably can't ensure equal pay for all women, but you CAN promise to call out your friends the next time one of them tells a rape joke, and then you can follow through with that promise and do it. Will that make the world stop spinning on its axis? Probably not all at once. But it will bring about a conversation between the people involved, and hopefully, that will lead to a positive change in those all parties behavior, and that's that kind of change that spreads powerfully over time.

With that in mind, I curated this list of 31 things men can do in order to empower women and support our efforts toward meaningful change.

This list may not be the be-all and end-all of all the possibilities there are out there, but they feel like a pretty excellent way to start.

1. Don't rape us.

2. Respect us no matter what we look like.

3. Don't comment on or advise us in regard to caring for our bodies.

4. Think about it before you say it or do it. Consider how you would feel if someone said it about or did it to your sister/daughter/mother/wife/girlfriend.

5. Listen to us rather than discrediting and/ or invalidating us by sharing how you would've handled the situation better.

6. Believe us.

7. Remember that we are people.


RELATED: I Was Raped By A Director — Then Warned That Reporting Could End My Career (Or My Life)


8. Stop trying to explain away your friend's sh*tty behavior when we tell you about it.

9. Understand that sexual violence isn't only a "women's issue" — it's a human issue.

10. Stop. Interrupting. Us.

11. Stop excusing men's bad behavior by saying that the way some women dress is distracting. In fact, don't say anything about the way we dress at all.

12. Take the Rock Test. In short, if you wouldn't do it or say it to the Rock, just don't do it!

13. If you're a father, be a present and proactive one.

14. Be a vocal proponent for the pro-choice movement.

15. Know that If a woman turns you down when you ask her for a date this doesn't give you license to call her names.

16. Be a role model for young men.


RELATED: Men Who SMILE At Women Are Sexist (Says Science)


17. Ask us questions, listen to our answers, and believe what we say about our own experiences.

18. Call out your male friends to shut up when they're being disrespectful of women.

19. Use your privilege to speak up and be heard when we can't.

20. Stop making rape jokes. Period.

21. Never raise your hand to a woman. Ever.

22. Don't second guess a woman's opinion if you wouldn't second guess it coming from a man.

23. Don't try to go around a female supervisor at work by reaching out to a male superior, you know, just man-to-man.

24. Don't explain the problem to us. We know the problem. Ask how you can help us combat it.

25. Remember that women are more than what is between our legs.

26. Stop making laws about regarding what we can and cannot do with our bodies.

27. Stop referring to us as crazy and call out your friends when they say we're crazy.

28. Listen. Learn. Apologize. Defend. Support. Intervene.

29. Stop telling random women on the street or in stores to smile. 

30. Stop telling women you know personally to smile.

30. Pay us equal wages for equal work.

31. Keep asking us how you can help. And then do it.


RELATED: 3 Desirable Things ALL Women (Yes, Feminists Too) Want In A Man


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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