The #MeToo movement has taken the world by storm and to say it has been polarizing would be an understatement with some calling it a revolution and others a witch hunt. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall, it is clear that the way we understand feminism is changing and this means navigating new territory for a lot of men.
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds though. With any social change there are different points of view and decades of history behind it. As a man, saying you are a feminist or trying to navigate the new feminist movement can seem daunting. Here are a few ways men can be better #MeToo allies in the workplace and beyond.
1. It’s Complicated
Like many other social issues, feminism is complicated. This is a huge movement with different schools of thought, opinions and voices. You don’t have to become an expert, but it is important to acknowledge that feminism is intersectional and that patriarchy impacts women differently depending on factors such as race, income and location.
2. Ask Questions And Listen
This is one of the most important parts of being an ally to any marginalized group. Don’t be afraid to ask women a lot of questions about their thoughts on feminism and discrimination, but make sure you listen. One of the obstacles women face is not having their voices heard, so take time to listen to what they have to say, whether you agree with that point of view or not.
3. Accept That These Are Big Problems
When you hear about the issues women face, you may have the instinct that it is something you can fix. It is important to realize that patriarchy is not something that is easy to ‘fix’. It is systemic and entrenched in our norms and institutions. Try to focus on supporting existing campaigns or making small changes in your own life or attitudes towards feminism.
4. Educate Yourself
Because feminism is complicated, educating yourself is crucial. As mentioned before, you can do this by asking questions and listening closely to the answers, but there is so much more. Read a book, watch a documentary or attend an event in your community. In the era of #MeToo, there are an endless amount of resources you can use to educate yourself on women’s rights.