Women have been making a lot of noise lately. It would seem every week there’s some woman in the news talking about her daily struggles with basic human dignities issues like discrimination, sexism, inequality, rape culture, etc. We know that these topics make people very uncomfortable, but fortunately, all this noise we’re making is bringing awareness and creating productive dialogue like never before. Unfortunately, for every woman that is brave enough to speak out about her own experience, there seems to be a special group of men who feel the need to discredit and/or defend. I think perhaps it’s because they are feeling left out. So, in the spirit of equality, let’s show these men some love, too.
Here’s to the men who somehow still think feminism = man-hating, bra-burning women’s club. Without your constant confusion, we wouldn’t need to continue to repeat ourselves, bringing even more attention to our issues and finally start to affect real change. Also, just a helpful hint: Google it.
To the men who put the responsibility back on the women to change, thank you! “Maybe you shouldn’t have gone to that party”, “Maybe you shouldn’t have had meetings outside of an office” or the all-time crowd favorite, “Maybe you shouldn’t have dressed like that”. Enraging at first, but now I know it’s because that’s your cute way of acknowledging that we may actually be emotionally superior, and therefore more capable of changing. We appreciate the subtle compliment and thanks to your mental laziness, we’re now engaging in important dialogue on victim-blaming.
Here’s to the (hetero) men who shrug off our feelings of discomfort/violation/anger when we get catcalled or hit-on anytime we’re just trying to live our damn lives. “It’s a compliment!” Perhaps. But in order for you to truly grasp this level of discomfort, imagine you were hit on by a gay man. Nothing against him, but you’re not interested. You politely decline, but he’s aggressive and persistent. You’re not in a gay bar… Is it something you’re wearing? Is it the way you’re carrying yourself? You’re probably not only confused but feeling pretty uncomfortable, and maybe a little unsafe. Now imagine that feeling your entire life, everywhere you go. Still feeling flattered? Unlikely. Ready to just accept that feeling as part of your daily reality? Neither are we.
Also, on that note, here’s an extra special shout out to the men who continue to confuse a woman who’s just a great networker with a woman who’s trying to sleep with you. We are professionals who also like to have meetings outside of offices sometimes. Remember that time you grabbed a beer with that guy you met at the conference and you didn’t think it was a romantic rendezvous? Meeting you for a beer to network is not code for a date. Stop making it weird.
To the men who might be reading this right now, mentally preparing your defense and/or attack – first – welcome to SheintheCLE! Second, let me save you some energy. Our desires to be treated equally and to be respected are not a veiled threat on your rights or manliness. Just like with any issue: racism, rape, sexism, gun violence, etc., if enough people are saying there’s a problem, then there’s a problem. Raising awareness on anything does not automatically call for your opinion or perspective, sometimes just your support. First, just listen. And on a personal side-note, if your manhood is entirely based on your need to feel superior to women, I suggest you check that fragile ego into therapy.
And finally, here’s to all the great men. The men who don’t feel the need to vehemently defend their gender or provide excuses but instead genuinely want to understand and empathize. To the men who proudly support feminism, because you just get it. You not only know the true meaning but most importantly, you know that your world becomes no less powerful by advocating for ours.