In Light Of #MeToo & #HowIWillChange: 14 Impactful Ways Men Can Become Allies For Women

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Over the past 24 hours, our newsfeeds have been dominated by the #MeToo hashtag. To understand the magnitude, the #MeToo hashtag had been used over 109,451 times in a 24 period since Sunday evening on Twitter.

A lot of men were horrified and expressed deep anguish after reading story after story of women retelling their horrific experiences of sexual harassment, violence and rape. Please note that experiences is plural. Like many of us women, there is not just one event of harassment or violence, there are multiple.

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Many of these men asked what they can do to change things, how they can do better.   The simple answer is we women need more men to be our allies. We need your action to do better and demand that of those around you. We need your help to change the climate.

Sunday night, I started making a mental list of action items, because specifics, not generalities will start to fix this problem.

So here they are and let’s dive in. I am not one to sugar coat, so the below list gets right to the point:

  1. Start having the hard conversations with the other men in your life, recognize your privilege (especially if you are are a straight white male), and look at your past behavior and ask yourself what you could have done better.
  2. Stop telling rape or misogynistic jokes.  Stop laughing at those jokes. Call people out who do either.
  3. Stop calling women and girls names like crazy, emotional, slut, whore, bitch, cunt, etc. Speak up and shut it down when someone else does.
  4. Stop telling young girls that the boys in their class who pull their hair or call them names is doing it because “he likes you.” You are teaching young girls that attention and affection from boys is abusive. Oh, and while you are at it, stop saying “boys will be boys.” That excuses bad male behavior and normalizes it.
  5. Stop objectifying women. Stop telling girls and women that their bodies are distracting (I’m looking right at you teachers and administrators). Stop policing their bodies. Stop telling them what to wear. Teach young boys that it is wrong to objectify women and girls. Remember, there is a BIG difference between appreciating a woman’s beauty and objectifying her.
  6. Start believing women and ixney on the victim-blaming.  It wasn’t her clothing, how much she had to drink, her sexual past, etc. that led to her assault. Her rapist decided to rape her, that’s why it happened. If a women discloses she has been assaulted, here is a great article of what to say to her. P.S. There is no such thing as “non-consensual sex.”  It is rape.  Use the right words.
  7. Stop being passive when your buddy is trying to pick up a woman who is clearly too intoxicated to give proper consent. Your friend is your responsibility, so open your mouth and intervene. Otherwise, you have just made yourself an accomplice to sexual assault.
  8. Start practicing active, on-going consent.  For those of you who have children, start the conversation about consent when they are little.  With teenagers and college students, these resources will help.
  9. Stop using the term “the friend zone.”  No woman owes you her body, mind, or time. You are not entitled to her.
  10. Stop catcalling women. Stop telling women to smile.  When you see another man doing either, get in touch with your backbone and tell them to stop. Catcalling is NOT A COMPLIMENT.
  11. Stop touching women who haven’t given you permission to touch them. “Groping” is 4th degree criminal sexual conduct. It is against the law.
  12. STOP SENDING DICK PICS UNLESS SHE EXPLICITLY ASKS FOR ONE.
  13. Start boycotting media, sports teams, websites, movies, music, and publications that objectify or promote/allow violence against women.
  14. And finally, when someone runs for office, like say the presidency and brags on tape of sexually assaulting women, DO NOT VOTE FOR THEM.