How Men Can Contribute to the #MeToo Movement
It seems like every few days, our Twitter feeds and television screens are inundated with news of another powerful and influential man in Hollywood who took advantage of their interns, employees and others within the entertainment industry. These disturbing stories are hard to hear, and while there are both men and women who have been the victims of these assaults, men across the country need to come together and support anyone who has the courage to come forward.
If you’re a man reading this and think there’s nothing you can do to support this cause, you’re mistaken. The following tips are ones you can follow in your daily life that will help change the perception of women and sexual assault so you can be a vessel of change in this country.
Draw the line with “locker room talk.”
It has been said that men in groups will talk openly about women in a distasteful why when there are no women within earshot. If you’re in one of these groups and hear something crude, the best thing you can do is stand up to the person speaking that way. It can be difficult, but it’s much better to stand up and not allow this kind of offensive talk to be normalized.
Listen to women and survivors.
For victims of sexual abuse, it can be incredibly difficult for them to talk about what was done to them because they have feelings of shame or guilt associated with their attack. A friend or family member may have been the abuser, and coming forward to talk about it is an inspiring feat of courage. Always be willing to talk to the women in your life, and if they do come to you about an attack, meet them with compassion and empathy for their situation.
Adjust your behavior.
If you’ve made sexist, racist or homophobic remarks in the past, it’s time to move on, adjust your attitude and assess the way you talk and behave in regards to your behavior. There is almost always room for improvement when it comes to our way of thinking as men, and these remarks should be removed from your vocabulary.
Learn about consent.
Consent has become a running theme in these #MeToo accounts, and it’s something that should be understood thoroughly for every man and woman. If you’re unsure about the definition of consent or how to tell if an act is consensual, please read up on the subject to be informed. If you have children, make sure when the time comes, they understand the importance of consent and what does and does not constitute consent.
As a man, it may seem like you are far removed from the #MeToo movement and there isn’t much you can do to facilitate change, but there are small adjustments you can make in your daily life to show that you are aligned with what the movement is trying to accomplish.
Getty image by photoshkolnik