Manifesto for the Responsible Male
Call out friends whose idea of a “joke”.
- Call out friends whose idea of a “joke” is to make sexist remarks.
- Talk to your male friends about how to be masculine without being misogynist.
- Combat rape culture and intervene in potentially risky situations. Inform yourself.
- Be mindful of situations where women might feel anxious or unsafe. On deserted streets, especially at night, or in enclosed spaces, keep your distance from women you don’t know.
- Choose appropriate times and places to approach women. If a woman doesn’t feel entirely free to walk away from you, it’s not an appropriate place.
- Be attuned to verbal and non-verbal cues when it comes to approaching women and to physical contact with a partner or on a date. If you’re unsure, ask.
- Use what social capital you have to speak out against misogyny whenever you see it. Think about how much Owen Pallett influenced the conversation about Jian Ghomeshi.
- Don’t dismiss the experiences of women by writing them off as “irrational” or “crazy.” Instead, critique what those in power (often men) are doing to cause anxiety or instability in some women.
- Talk about consent: how it’s negotiated and what enthusiastic/total consent looks like.
- Have real conversations with your sexual partner about how power is enacted in your relationship.
- Read the work of male pro-feminist writers like Jackson Katz.
- Join the White Ribbon Campaign.
- Find support if you witnessed or experienced violence growing up.
- Check the media you consume. Why watch/listen to/read it if it debases women?
- Ask the women in your life to tell you when they feel you are not fully respecting them.
- Be gentle: don’t beat yourself up when you screw up. View those mistakes as learning opportunities.
- Practise empathy: try to feel what a woman is feeling rather than how you want a woman to make you feel.
Sources consulted: academics Kate Drabinski and Dusty Johnstone, feminist authors Roxanna Bennett and Natalie Zina Walschots, and educator Farrah Khan.