Oh, there’s plenty men can do! Unfortunately (for men), none of that gets you the hero status and women fawning over you that most men seem to be after when they decide to engage in feminist causes. Some things that men can do to help are:
- Confront other men in male-dominated spaces when they display sexist behavior (even if there’s no woman looking).
- Do not watch porn or participate in the sex industry in any way. Tell your male friends to do the same.
- Donate money to institutions dedicated to helping women.
- Listen to women and believe them without questioning or playing devil’s advocate when they talk about their experiences.
- Use your privileged voice to create opportunities for women. For example, you can recommend a female coworker for a promotion to your boss, or make sure he pays attention to her work. Women are often invisible or ignored.
- Understand the importance of female-only spaces and protect those spaces. Do not try to invade them and do not let other men do the same.
- Do not let the women in your life do more than their share of housework. Clean your stuff, wash your dishes, change your kid’s diapers, cook your food, and do all of that without being asked to or expecting special praise.
- Respect women’s boundaries and spaces. Do not take more than your share of a seat on a bus or a train, for example, and do not push women around verbally. Women are socialized to be accomodating and will often not enforce their own boundaries for fear of male violence, even if they’re terribly uncomfortable, so you have to recognize this discomfort and back off.
- Do not judge a woman for her appearance. Avoid commenting on it, and never compare her to another woman. If you want to praise a woman, prefer to focus on her intelligence or skills.
- Work to dismantle male supremacy from the inside. Combat your own male socialization, your own entitlement and your own tendency to violence and aggression. Question everything that’s gendered. And do not become defensive or try to justify yourself when a woman calls you out on your male-dominant behavior. Do not use tired cliches like “not all men are like that!” or “but I’m a nice guy!”. Instead, examine your behavior and try to understand why you’re being called out.
- And more important of all, do all of the above without expecting any special reward! Your reward is to be participating in creating a better world that’s fair for everybody. You don’t get to be a “special” man, you don’t get free passes for anything, you don’t get to stand out for being decent. If you feel you deserve anything extra for being a decent human being, that’s your male entitlement at work. Afterall, if you’re helping women to make yourself look good, you are not helping at all.
Hope the info’s useful!