What with Trump, and the far-fucking right roaring their pathetic scrawny voices, and of course Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse revelations, feminism is riding it's latest wave. The recent #MeToo social campaign, led by the call "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." Yet again the weight of change was being placed on the shoulders of women, with some 'woke' men saying "I hear you, I stand by you". We don't need you standing silently, we need you to help. To take action.
The problem is huge, and the actions aren't always clear. Do we march? Do we sign petitions? What are we meant to do?! With a challenge so huge, where do we even start?
So here is my list of 5 small things men can do to help feminism. Women, you can do them too if you fancy. These won't change the world tomorrow, but nothing will.....so we may as well try something right?
1. Consider the clothing you buy for the children in your life. Sexism is rife, before baby is even born, and is evident in the colours and patterns we dress children in, the books and toys we buy them, and how we talk to them.
Really consider what you're buying and why. I still struggle with this, despite trying hard. I easily buy "gender neutral clothing" for girls, but still find a lot of social barriers for boys. Why are flowers, butterflies and unicorns seen as so female?
2. Volunteer to challenge stereotypes. Today I attended a training session for a literacy volunteer programme. It involves giving children at risk of under-performing a chance to read one-on-one with an adult once a week. There were 16 women there, and one man. Children, both boys and girls need to see men reading. Both boys and girls need to meet men who are the sort of men who would volunteer at a literacy charity. Is there was a way you could spend time with some children and challenge stereotypes with them in some way?
3. Reflect on your dynamic with your significant other. Read this about the "mental load" that women often carry in relationships/households - gender wars comic. If you need some ideas on how to divide this mental load up, take a peek here - How to share the load.
4. Read. It isn't the job of feminists to educate those who have yet to learn. It's a burden, and they're busy. Read some books, some blogs, some articles. None of us are born knowing this stuff, and we all open our eyes to it at different times. Read.
5. Listen for the low-key sexist language that slips into our conversation, pull yourself and others up on it. There are so many words we generally only use to demean women; bitch, bossy, fiesty, frumpy, bubbly, pushy, nag etc. These may seem harmless but they're part of a huge weight of sexism that limits all genders. We may as well start small right?
These won't rock the world, but they are changes that need to happen, and things that are all in our grasp. I'd love to hear if you have any more ideas for small daily things men and women can do to challenge everyday sexism.