Just Say No To Sexism

Posted on October 22, 2012

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I really appreciate my guy friends because they don’t like sexism.  When they see a guy being disrespectful to a woman they’ll actually say something to the guy.  The most recent example I can think of happened just this year at BurningMan.  This creepy dude took my picture with out my permission.  I said something to him and while I was doing so, a guy I didn’t even know came up and told him it was against our culture and (to paraphrase) otherwise disrespectful.  Ooooops, wait, I contradicted myself.  I just mentioned a guy who doesn’t like to see women treated badly but I didn’t even know him.  But I do have to mention that at Burning Man, it’s not unusual to see a guy call another guy out on the floor for being rude to a woman.

You want to know the exact opposite of what I’m talking about?  It’s this (and it’s all to common):

 http://captainawkward.com/2012/08/07/322-323-my-friend-group-has-a-case-of-the-creepy-dude-how-do-we-clear-that-up/

This link is about a guy who’s part of a group of friends and he treats the women really bad.  When a woman says  something to him she get’s blamed.  That’s crazy.  I wouldn’t want to be friends with anyone like that.

The biggest point I’m trying to make is I think one of the most powerful ways to work against sexism is for men to hold each other accountable.  It’s one thing if I say something; it’s expected, it’s happened a million times, it can be twisted into all kinds of anti woman stereotypes, etc.  But when a man says something, that’s something we weren’t really expecting.  I just have to mention that I’ve seen men be rude to women and stand there grinning at other guys like it’s a bonding opportunity.  When a guy actually speaks up and says that’s not ok, it’s something that holds weight, and has traction.  The other thing is when someone’s taken aback by a reaction they didn’t expect, that’s when their paradigm changes, and that’s the moment you can really get through to them.

I know a lot of guys want to make a difference by making the world a better place.  This is a pretty simple thing that holds a whole lot of weight.  How good are you gonna make someone feel when you say “that’s not ok.”  You know, you don’t have to start a fight, raise your voice or anything like that.  The more men who do this, well, the more men will be doing this.

And I’ll just keep reminding you of what I always say; “when momma’s happy, everybody’s happy.”  Imagine a world where women aren’t stressed out and frazzled from hearing all kinds rude things when they’re trying to go about their business.  Just think about how much safer we will feel, how much happier we’ll be walking down the street how much more pleasant we’ll be when a guy we don’t know tries to say something nice or otherwise make a connection with us.  If you’ve read my writing you know I’ve mentioned that you never know what just happened 5 minutes before you walked in the room.  Lots of times when you approach a woman who’s defensive it’s because other men have treated her badly and therefore put her on her guard.

Men and women share the planet.  If anybody’s going to be happy, we’re going to have to get along.  This is going to take compassion and accountability on the part of the men as well as the women.  Understanding is going to have to be achieved.  You know we all want that.  This is why I bother writing these things.  I don’t claim to know all about men, but as you know I am a woman and I’m going to do the best I can to facilitate a better understanding by explaining what I can to men.

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