There is no doubt in my mind that men can be feminist. I’m living proof, I am a feminist. If you’re someone who believes in total equality in the home, in the workplace, in life, then you’re a feminist too. Past the fact our mothers, sisters and daughters can feel more valued and respected; in a world where women are afforded equal opportunities and access to better self-worth, education and happiness, we all stand to gain, male or female. Because as far as we know, the person to finally end the poverty epidemic affecting millions across the world or solving the eminent energy crises, could be a woman; the next Einstein, Picasso or Pele, could be a woman. To some extent, it is even more important for men to be feminist, because instead of abusing it and taking it for granted, our position of privilege could be used to bring about real and important change. It’s very difficult to do so on a global level, yes, but making changes in how we treat, think about and interact with women in our personal lives can certainly be the first meaningful step. Therefore, below are 9 key changes I hope all men could bring about in their personal lives:
- Stop Being surprised when a woman expresses an interest in something that isn’t make-up or fashion.
I’ve been in a situation where a female friend has revealed her passions for a particular football team and unfortunately, I was instantly sceptical and quickly dismissed her support as a mere case of fancying one of the players and not actually having any real interest in football. Which is wrong, because women are human and humans are complex creatures with enough layers and enough hours in the day to broaden their interests past superficial stereotypes.
- Never make sexual innuendos involving a female colleague in the work place.
It may seem funny in the moment and might well draw laughs from your fellow male colleagues, but this certainly doesn’t make it appropriate. First of all, it’s very unprofessional and secondly, It’s hugely patronising to the women and shamefully shows you’re completely dismissive of her acumen and talent. If you wouldn’t make that joke with your male boss, then don’t do it with your female boss or co-worker.
- Avoid porn films with the word ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ anywhere near the title.
Porno’s with those titles undoubtedly lead to films depicting aggressive and demeaning acts towards women. Whilst ultimately the women are complicit in those videos, by continually watching such brutal images, subconsciously you are becoming desensitised to them and eventually it will become normal to consider women as puppets for unhealthy sexual acts.
- Stop oversexualising lesbians.
You’ve seen it before, guys in clubs crowding and cheering as two women kiss or being overly interested in what a lesbian couple get up to in the bedroom. For too long gay women have had their sexuality and lives trivialised as mere fonder for male fantasies and gratification. Which is a shame because lesbian lives aren’t plotline for porn films, they are as rich, diverse and complex as any heterosexual person’s life. And while sex is important in a lesbian couple’s relationship, like any healthy relationship, sex only encompasses a small portion of it and the rest is bigger and more profound.
- Don’t tell a woman you don’t know to ‘smile more’ or ‘put in more effort in’.
You certainly wouldn’t say the same things to a male, so you shouldn’t say them to a female. This goes back to societies narrow perception of a woman’s self-worth i.e it should derive from how attractive she is, whilst her intelligence, charisma and humour is tossed aside as a mere afterthought. A woman’s appearance shouldn’t have to be policed or validated by any man, if she is dressed appropriately for the occasion, then how she looks is completely her own choice and no one else’s.
- Never use ‘slut’ or ‘frigid’ to describe a woman
Too much sex and a woman is called a slut and too little and she is branded frigid, either way there seems to be no winning for women. Whilst on the other hand, in complete hypocrisy a promiscuous man is known as a stud and a celibate man is known as noble. The words slut and frigid is just another way for men to control and condemn a woman’s sexuality, which is unacceptable. What a woman does and how frequently with other consenting adults should be of no concern to the outside world. A woman’s body belongs to no one but herself and she is free to do with it as she pleases.
- Don’t give women ratings
How a woman looks is only 1% of who she is and by rating her on a scale from 1-10, you’re dismissing the other 99% in exchange for something temporary, superficial and unimportant. Whilst being attracted to someone physically has a dwindling timer, being attracted to their soul and being can often last a lifetime.
- Be neither a boobs or a bum man
Although there is nothing wrong with admiring a woman’s beauty, but by condensing a woman worth down to her breast size and bottom size is a great disservice to that woman’s other great inner qualities and it is a gross objectification of her body. A woman’s body shouldn’t be valued by what it looks like aesthetically, but celebrated for all the wonderful and more important things it can do like running, dancing and hugging.
- Women don’t date only ‘bad boys’ or ‘good guys’
This is unfair on both parties, men are considered one dimensional and binary, while women are being considered as shallow and superficial. Again, women are diverse and complex creatures, thus the qualities they look for or are attracted to can fall anywhere on a wide spectrum. To an extent even more so than men, women care about how a man makes her feel, rather than what stereotypical label society forces on him.