(This list will be forever in-progress. Please add on as you see fit).
- Challenge sexist jokes, such as dumb blonde jokes or jokes about rape.
- Avoid using words such as “bitch”, “hoe”, “slut.”
- Recognize when you “zone out” when women are speaking, when you value a man’s opinion more than a woman’s, or when you ask a man for information or advice rather than a woman.
- Recognize times when you “zone out” when a woman is speaking because you are sexualizing her.
- In group efforts, take on tasks such as photocopying, note taking, making phone calls, or providing childcare, which are usually given to women; encourage women to take on male-dominated tasks such as leading meetings, or acting as a spokesperson.
- Use gender-neutral language (ex. Firefighter, chairperson).
- Do not tell a woman how she should understand, express, or conceptualize experiences of discrimination and sexism.
- If a woman is offended by your actions or words, do not use tone arguments. If she does not accept your apology, recognize that she does not owe you anything.
- Check in regularly with your intimate partner(s) to make sure they feel comfortable, fulfilled and empowered by your intimacy.
- Do not make sexist jokes about how your partner (or any woman) drags you to go see chick flicks, forces you to go shopping, has you whipped, or is irritable because she is menstruating. Challenge others when they make these jokes. Avoid playing the role of the long-suffering man who has to hold a woman’s shopping bags and put up with her frivolities and vanity.
- Be polite, thoughtful, and considerate to women because they are individuals who deserve respect, not because you’re a “gentleman” or because of chauvinistic ideals.
- When a woman is completing a task, refrain from stepping in and telling her or showing her “the best way to do that.” Of course, if she asks for your advice or requires help, feel free to do so. But recognize that women are just as competent and capable as you.
- Apologize if you realize you may have offended someone, whether they mention it or not. Do not say: “If that offended you then I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Instead, frankly tell them: “I’m sorry I did that and I recognize it wasn’t okay. I’ll try harder next time.”
- Do not use expressions such as “grow a pair”, “be a man”, “man up”, or “stop being a bitch.”
- Reject forms of media and entertainment that promote sexism. Don’t excuse sexism and discrimination just because “it’s a really good movie.”
- Recognize that just because you are a feminist or work to challenge sexism does not mean you lose gender privilege.
- Do not be offended if you offer to help a woman and she rejects your help. Although you may genuinely have meant to be a good citizen by offering to help lift heavy objects or holding open a door, accept that the woman does not need your help, and that this does not make her a “bitch.”
- Recognize that while some women do hate men and do discriminate against men, that this sort of discrimination occurs in isolation, while sexism against women is backed by centuries of literature, scientific discourse, power/knowledge, philosophy, media representations, “common sense” discourse, etc.
- Realize that representations of women that you might find positive or fair might not be empowering to women. Notice that the vast majority of “positive” female characters or depictions in the media are highly sexualized to appeal to a male audience.
- Understand that much of what you’ve been taught to take for granted (that you are allowed to have an opinion and to voice it; that you can take up all the space you need; that you can become whoever you want; that you can pursue any career or dream you like) is often painfully untrue for women.
- When anyone tells you to stop, or says “no”, or does not actively give consent during any sort of physical contact or intimacy, immediately stop what you are doing. Do not sulk. Do not interrogate if the person is unwilling to explain. Do not complain or make them feel as though their choice to decide what sort of intimacy they want is not an empowered, safe choice.
- Do not make explanations such as “I didn’t mean anything by it”, “It was a joke, you’re just sensitive”, or “I’m not sexist, I have a lot of female friends.” If you have offended someone, listen carefully and learn from the experience.
- Do not police women’s bodies by deciding that “women shouldn’t plaster their faces with makeup”, or that “women should stop dressing like sluts to please men.”
Thank you to everyone who has been reblogging and adding to this discussion. I recognize that this list is certainly simplistic in that it arguably supports a gender binary, and that it glosses over issues of race, class, sexual orientation, age, and so on. I felt this list wasn’t a sufficient place to properly address those issues, but as many of you have mentioned many of these actions can also be taken by allies looking to challenge racism, homophobia, etc.
I’d also like to address accusations that this list is an attempt to belittle men or to discriminate against men. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This list began and was expanded on during working groups I’ve led and participated in while researching for my thesis paper. My goal is to highlight and deconstruct the ways in which patriarchal society damages and harms men. I take a position that favors coalition across borders, because I believe that we cannot begin to properly tackle patriarchy until there is an alliance between people of all genders. During these working groups, many of the men commented that they believe in equal pay, they welcome women in their classrooms, they abhor the idea of raping or harassing anyone, and they truly see women as equals. However, when it comes to their everyday lives, they still find sexism slipping in, usually in very subtle ways. A large part of our work was having conversations with men, and finding concrete, realistic ways men could challenge the patriarchal ideals they’ve been taught. I’ll repeat again that these actions are not exclusively reserved to men—they apply to people of all genders. However, the specific purpose of this list is to help men challenge sexism, because I cannot count the times a man has told me, in a very defeated tone, that this work feels overwhelming.
I understand that some men feel this list shames them for being men. However, I want to repeat that this has never been my intention, and will never be. I understand that being called out for the privilege you experience in a society that favors, prefers, and upholds masculinity can be an uncomfortable experience. However, I would invite you to try to consider how uncomfortable it must feel to wake up every day and know that you will experience at least one of the moments of sexism on this list. And to feel as though there is nothing you can do about it. I believe 100% in gender equality. However, if we want to even begin to work towards this goal, we need to work on the inequalities that exist in our own lives and beyond our lives. We need privileged people in society—white people, straight people, men, etc.—to stand up, to acknowledge their privilege, and to stand with us as allies. Thank you to everyone committed to doing this work.
It is tricky! And I definitely think a lot is dependent on the name and what the origins of the name are.
I definitely see where you’re coming from, but I have to ask, mainly for the sake of clarification and discussion: is it fair to parallel Native American and Jewish culture in America? There’s certainly a set of oppressions that still affect Native Americans that don’t affect the Jewish community in America at all. And I think there would be a difference between taking a name like Benjamin or Jacob or Rebecca or Lydia, which each have a Jewish origin but has become an ambiguous name, and a name like Rhesa or Raddai.
An answer in reference to this question. Seems reasonable to me.
This is not actually my area of expertise! Being a spiritual agnostic, I’m not sure I can give you an answer. HOWEVER, I’m gonna post this and reblog it to signal boost in the hopes that someone can.
this this this this this
I’m going to be doing a fat & body acceptance workshop/lecture at the Women’s Center here at Rutgers in March. I’m thinking of having a friend film it so I can put it up here. Thoughts?
I don’t know, you guys. I’m really at a loss here. I can’t find my self-respect. It seems I have misplaced it. Here’s a photo of me with my self-respect fully intact:
See? Look at how happy I look? I’m fully clothed and you can just see the self-respect radiating off of me.
But somewhere in between that picture being taken and this picture being taken….
My self-respect seems to have vanished… And I’m getting really worried because I’m starting to think I’ve become a little bit of a slut? I looked up the symptoms of being a slut and I have them all:
- sudden awareness of control over one’s body
- sudden awareness of control over one’s sexuality
- sudden awareness of control over one’s sex life
- sudden awareness of rights over one’s mind and body
- consensually taking part in sexual activities with one or more partners
And I won’t even go on with the list because there are just too many symptoms that prove that I’ve become a slut :( I really don’t know what happened. Ever since I lost my self-respect, my life has just become an abyss and I’ve just become this really terrible person with a really terrible life and I just want to find my self-respect so I can once again lead a fulfilling life. I want to be pure once more. I want to feel whole.
Please, if you have any information of any sort on where my self-respect might have gone, feel free to call me at 1-800-INTERNALISED-MISOGYNY
Or try me on my cell
Thank you for your time.
Think of these steps as a dance rather than a linear progression. Move from one to another and back again as fits your own personal style and journey.
- Stop weighing yourself. Shift your focus from weight & body fat to healthy behaviors and fitness.
- Live now, not in the past or future. Live your life as if you were at your desired weight—including wearing beautiful, comfortable clothing in your present size.
- Eat well & mindfully. Enjoy your food. Let nothing be off-limits—there are no forbidden foods.
- Listen to your body and give yourself and your body what you need to thrive: balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, regular exercise.
- Love & accept yourself as you are, & others as they are. Refuse to engage in fat prejudice toward yourself or others.
- Feed your soul with meaningful and enjoyable recreation, relationships, work, & spirituality. Clear out toxic environments/relationships/behavior patterns. Build a nourishing community: surrounding yourself with size-friendly people (friends, therapists, doctors) & images of happy, successful people of all sizes.
- Connect mind & body. Increase body awareness through yoga, walking meditation, tai chi, qi gong, massage, & bodywork, movement therapy (such as Feldenkrais). Focus on what your body can do and how good it can feel.
- Decrease self-criticism & body judgment, increase positive, supportive self-talk. Talk to yourself & your body the way you would a cherished friend or loved one.
- Address any emotional eating or body image issues independent of weight change. Attitudes & opinions are easier (& healthier) to change than body size.
- Invest time & money in yourself rather than the diet industry.
You can learn more about Health at Every Size here or by buying the book here. Do not ever fool yourself into thinking that weight loss is the way to get healthy. You can vastly improve your health without the number on the scale budging at all. Do not punish your body. Do not buy into the 65 billion dollar a year diet industry. Love your body NOW.
i think everyone can benefit from this.