Saturday, January 5, 2013

If you really want to show you value women..........

Dear guys of the world,

You don't have to get us flowers or candy. You don't have to help us into cars, take our coats, or hold the door (just push it back if you know we're behind you).  You don't have to pay for every single date, take a job you don't like to provide for our every need, prove yourself completely unemotional, or bench 300 pounds and carry all our groceries.  Yes, they can be nice gestures, but they're not necessary.  Nor do they show that you necessarily respect women.

If you want to show you respect women, call men out when they make homophobic or sexist jokes or if they refer to women as "bitches" or "the c word" (you wouldn't use the "N" word if you were a white man, right?).  Call men out when they talk about women as if they are pieces of meat or objects and never tolerate a friend who brags about nailing a girl who passed out (that's what we call rape, folks).  Never tolerate folks who would blame a woman's rape on her or who'd demean a woman based on rumors, appearance, or past actions.  Even if you find similar biases within yourselves, do every thing you can to check and correct them.

If you value women, never let anyone joke about the "bitchy boss" or about how periods make it impossible for women to be in positions of power.  Do everything you can to learn about and from strong women, whether they are political leaders, military commanders, activists, artists, or scientists.  Stand up for equal pay in the workplace and make sure women are not excluded from networking events or consideration for higher level positions. Take time to get to know women in your field and help them succeed, just like you'd help another man succeed.  Stand up for paid family leave (not just maternity or parental leave) so that all men and women with needs can take time to attend to them.

If you see women as people, stop beating up on your buddies for doing things women typically do.  Whether a fellow man decides to stay at home with his kids, pursues a career in education, social work or in the beauty industry, pays special attention to his appearance or is emotionally expressive, demeaning and shaming his behavior shows what you truly think of women. It shows that you think anything a woman is known to do makes it less worthy to pursue.  It shows you believe women are worth less, so the careers and hobbies they choose to pursue are also worth less. If that's what you truly believe, you cannot say you value women.

If you believe women are equal persons, understand the bias behind your expectations in a relationship.  Know that, if a woman isn't quite so good at housework, it doesn't mean she's not taking care of you (and you might as well use a Swiffer from time to time).  Likewise, if a woman chooses to keep her surname, it doesn't mean she doesn't love you, and if she wants to treat you to dinner, her intent is not to show off but to take care of you like you do for her.  She isn't your servant and she's not an extension of you.  She's her own person, uniquely gifted with dignity, aspirations, and preferences. Treat her as such and I predict a wonderful love life :)

We don't need to be treated with kid gloves, as pretty dolls, plastic saints or useless trash.  We're people. We need to be treated as people. We're your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, friends, and colleagues. We deserve and demand respect.  Otherwise, your gestures and gifts are mere tokens and trinkets, worth less than we apparently are to you. 


Every woman who's ever been a part of your life in any meaningful capacity

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