Feminism is important to me. Men being feminist is important to me. I emphasize being feminist, because there’s a difference between identifying as something and actually being it.
I know a lot of good men who struggle to understand their place in feminism. And, on the other hand, I’ve met a lot of men who claim they’re feminist but don’t align their actions with this statement.
It’s frustrating to hear men disavow feminism. Aren’t we over this taboo yet? I’m a feminist and I love cock. There, I said it.
What I don’t love is patriarchy, and the way I’ve seen it played out through the way many men treat me, particularly in dating.
Here are a few things I’d like men to think about.
1. How do you talk about the women you date?
What words come up time and time again? Stupid? Slut? Dumb? Crazy? These notions are a product of patriarchy. Question yourself a little. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to perpetuate it.
2. Just because she talked to you all night doesn’t mean she owes you anything.
She doesn’t owe you her phone number, she doesn’t owe you another date, she doesn’t owe you a kiss, and she certainly doesn’t owe you any part of her body. It’s frustrating, I know, but that’s life. You win some, you lose some. Don’t seek out some weird revenge on the poor girl. She gave you a shot at least.
3. Please consider the fact that one in three Canadian women has experienced sexual violence.
Being one of these women, what I most want from a man is patience and understanding when it comes to sex and everything around it. I’m not perfect, I know I’m awkward and weird and have a delayed education to romance, but I’m doing my best. Just chill. You might have to be my “friend” first or deal with some hesitation and insecurity. The friend zone is not always a dead zone. And insecurities just need compassion.
4. In reference to number three. Know that sexual violence has a slew of consequences for those affected, and these consequences, though many are common, are different for every person experiencing them.
For instance, one of the ways it has affected me is believing that I am not loveable and being skeptical of anyone who shows interest. (I’m not looking for pity when I say this, it’s just an outcome of my experience…working on it!) It’s gone as far as not recognizing a person’s face. Because I had no way of saying it then, I’m sorry. I know this makes things really complicated and confusing for you, but hopefully this essay (and number five) helps.
5. The consequences of sexual violence are really hard to overcome.
Believe me. I look in the mirror and for the most part I think “damn, girl you fine!” I’m also smart and funny, but be damned if I’m not surprised if a cute fella smiles at me on the bus. Please make the first move! (If that doesn’t guilt you into it, I don’t know what else to try–haha! Sorry, wasn’t my first intention for this piece. 😉)
I feel like I got a little off track there and made light of something that’s actually been a serious problem in my life. (It’s okay if you laughed.) What I’m trying to say is, as a man, you are in a place of privilege. You are not only brought up to have confidence, but also statistically have more opportunity to be confident and fewer threats against this confidence being violently disrupted. Don’t take this for granted. What I’m seeing in my life is a serious lack of men with emotional integrity. Work on it.
I’m writing this essay because
a) I’ve seen many men trying to step up to the plate in this way and I really appreciate it, but you still have work to do
b) I’m 30. I’m single. I’m looking for a man. See above qualifications. If you’re intimated, good, let’s go on a date.
BONUS: Be Respectful.
Whoever wrote that book that tells you to be a jerk to women you like is wrong. Just be respectful. Go ahead, try it out.
Respectful is different than nice. For example, being respectful means that instead of ignoring a woman’s texts, tell her you’re not interested. Depending on your situation, here’s a sample:
“Hey! I had a great time but I’m feeling more of a friendship with you.”
Be warned, just because you’re nice doesn’t mean she owes you anything.
The obvious, which I shouldn’t have to mention, but for some of you low lifes out there
Don’t rape. If a woman wants you to use a condom, don’t stick your dick in her without one. She’s a kid, don’t try to have sex with her.