How to be a better man in four easy steps
By Hugh Upsher
In the spirit of Women’s Day, instead of lecturing women on what feminism means, I’d like to call out some of the shitty male behavior that is still somehow rampant in 2016. The fact that people still think telling girls to not get drunk or not wear short skirts is a better rape prevention technique than telling men not to rape is why feminism must continue to be a daily topic. Language can be used to divide, propagate and belittle other humans, and it’s not only done with hate speech and vile insults, it's embedded in everyday language. The next time you’re exposed to this behaviour (especially if you’re the one doing it) call it out and make the world a slightly better place.
Get back in the kitchen
If the immediate defense to this types of thing is “it’s only a joke” and “I don’t really mean it”, quickly compare that person to the type of people who make awful racist jokes and play on the same defense logic. Believe it or not, jokes carry meaning, and directing a demeaning command towards a specific gender means you lack a base level of respect for that person, and you chose to enforce it. If you’re thinking, “How am I supposed to make jokes if I can’t offend anyone?” well, you actually can, it’s called self-deprecation, and I attempt to do it all the time.
This phenomenon is something I have only become aware of through the work of Feminist Tinder, who exposes the existence of the most disgusting male behavior imaginable. The saddest thing about it is that it is imaginable, as illustrated by the fact that dickpic has become a serious contender for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016. Sure some of these guys may not be the type of person who would say these things in real life, but what kind of defense is that? A lesser evil can still instil lifelong insecurities and crush a person’s sense of worth. If you’re wondering where to draw the line on flirty conversations, consult your nearest female friend.
Women can't drive
Using singular anecdotes to argue backwards beliefs towards women may have seemed like a legitimate practice in the dark ages, but the human race can now collate reliable data on a mass scale. Stereotypes are born from what people want to believe, not numbers. Seeing a woman driving the wrong way down a one-way street is not an argument for how all women can’t drive. Having an insurance company called 1st for Women succeed based on data proving that women are safer drivers is.
If your friend refers to strangers or even colleagues and acquaintances with unsolicited descriptors like ‘sweetie’, ‘sugar’ or ‘honey’ you’ll need to call that out. If you can’t conceive calling a male equivalent by a similarly cutesy name then it’s not really going to be a cool vibe. Even the waitress that smiles in response is just biting her tongue.
Stopping these insidious words and actions is a small yet effective way in combatting casual every day sexism. Rise above the lowest common denominators and be the change you want to see.