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Want To Become A Feminist? Here Are 10 Things Men Can Do For Feminism

Have you noticed how the majority of the male population tends to deflate a little when you ask them if they are feminist? If there was an award for “Most Misunderstood Word of the Year”, ‘feminism’ would win it every single year. Because of a large number of misinformed people, a lot of men find it difficult to relate to the idea of a feminist. They believe that in order to become a feminist, they must either be female or hate men, neither of which is possible.

Suggested read: #BeBoldForChange This Women’s Day Let’s Talk About Men: The Importance of Feminism For Men

However, my good men, I have brilliant news for you. There are extremely simple things you can do in your day to day life which can make you a feminist, and not get you ostracized by the backward masses. There are ways in which you can help the cause of equal rights for all, without compromising on your masculinity. Here are 10 things men can do, in order to become a feminist.

1. Ingrain the concept of ‘consent’ in your system

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License

Consent is a concept that most people are sadly unaware of. It is in fact, a basic human right, to choose what happens to you. Patriarchy, however, has decided human rights can go to hell, because men have some sort of authority over everything, including women.

If you want to be a feminist, treat a woman as your equal. In fact, treat everyone as your equal. Whether you are being physically intimate with your partner, or flirting with someone at a bar, or even leaning in for a kiss, make sure the other person is okay with it. After all, you don’t know whether the other person wants what you want to give them, whether it is emotional or physical. Respect their answer, and react accordingly.

2. Start taking responsibility

The whole notion of feminism rests on the fact that everyone is equal. Because of patriarchy, certain ideas, duties, professions, and responsibilities have been unnecessarily gendered, which has led a culture where men think they should do certain things and should not.

For example, they automatically assume that things like raising children, housework, emotional support, etc. are all things that they are exempt from because they are “men.” In order to be a feminist, you need to share equal responsibility in all aspects with that of a woman, because you cannot slap notions of gender on simple tasks.

3. Avoid mansplaining

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Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

As a woman, I can safely vouch for the fact that wherever I have gone, whatever kind of people I have socialized with and whatever I have tried to say has been affected by the practice of mansplaning. It is a process by which a man thinks it is okay to talk over a woman or ignore their opinion altogether because they think they know better.

It is a habit that has been naturally inculcated into men, to assume that women’s opinions are obviously invalid. In order to be a feminist, you need to consciously try to stop mansplaining. Not only is talking over women rude, but you should ideally not talk over anybody. It is important to learn how to listen, which is what brings me to my next point.

4. Listen to women

Popular media stereotypes about women have shown that women talk a lot, and all men want to do is plug in their ears and ignore what they have to say. Have you ever thought about the sociological repercussions of such a representation? If not let me explain. This kind of idea has led men to ignore the problems and opinions of women for far too long because it implies that whatever women have to say is too unimportant for men to listen to.

Women have been oppressed for hundreds of years, and they have a lot to say about their grievances. Listen to their experiences, listen to the things they have had to go through, listen to what they have to say. When you actually start to listen, you not only become aware of the problems that entire gender has to face, but you also become self-aware and self-conscious.

Suggested read: To The Men Who Do Not Get Feminism, Feminists Are On Your Side

5. Stand up for women in your day to day life


Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License

There are very, very, VERY few women in the world who can say that they have never been harassed. In fact, the recent #MeToo movement was a tragic testimony to the fact that an insane number of women have been subjected to various kinds of violence because of their gender. As a man, it is not your duty to protect women, as most people would have you believe. As a man, it is your duty to stand up for what is right.

Not only should you not harass women (duh), but when you see a woman feeling threatened or getting harassed in a public or private space, then it is imperative for you to step in. This is something that women do for each other naturally, and if you truly want to call yourself a feminist, you should feel the same sense of self-preservation for women, that women feel for themselves.

6. Understand your privilege

If you have made it this far, then you are most definitely on the right track. By this time, you should also understand that you are privileged, simply because of your gender. The patriarchal structure of the society has ensured that men are infinitely safer, circumstantially better off and better off in general than women are.

In order to be a feminist, you need to recognize that privilege and use it for the right cause, which you have to decide with your own conscience. Most men use their privilege to either suppress women and put them down even further or to reinstate the age-old gender roles that feminism is actively fighting against. Use your privilege to school other, less informed and aware men about the tenets of feminism; tell them the right thing to do, because you know your word would be taken more seriously than that of a woman.

7. Use the right words

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License

“Man up,” “You scream like a girl,” “She’s a sl*t,” “Boys don’t cry.”

These are just some of the thousands of examples of daily sexism that we have incorporated into our vocabulary. It is important to be very careful about the things we say because consciously or unconsciously, these things help consolidate patriarchy even more. All of these assign some typical characteristic to men and women, and in turn, restrict them.

Almost all of the examples in a list like this would make women seem weak and men seem hardy, when in fact, the vice-versa is as likely. When you are a feminist, you must not only talk about feminism and believe men and women are equal but truly believe that there is no distinction between them.

8. Do not judge women

Another major problem which prevents you from becoming an out and out feminist is the inherent tendency to judge women. Judging them for their choices, their decisions and their lives are one of the ways in which you are putting down an entire gender, because you think you are entitled to judge them.

Whether it is regarding clothes, career, child-bearing, opinions or anything else under the sun, stop judging women. Before you judge a woman, ask yourself whether your judgment is instigated by some latent sexist idea, and if it is, you must consciously try to overcome it.

9. Do not belittle women or attack them if you are offended

 women at work_new_love_times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License

It is normal for people to get into arguments, or disagree on certain things in life. This might happen between friends, family, peers or co-workers. However, the patriarchy has trained us to attack a woman’s gender, when she tends to be the one on the offensive. You start belittling women, making fun of their apparent weakness, and this sometimes even leads to physical and emotional violence against women.

In order to be an actual feminist, you must argue with a person, man or woman, talk to her and deal with your differences as an equal, and not a subordinate, depending on their biological gender. This tendency is regressive and everything but feminist.

Suggested read: Common Arguments Against Feminism And How To Respond To Them

10. Make women friends

Patriarchy and popular media has created this weirdly screwed up notion that men and women are unable to be platonic friends. If a man and a woman are not related, and they find a way to associate with each other, then it has to be such that the man thinks of the woman in a hyper-sexual way. This is something that we need to get out of our system, if we want to become truly feminist.

As a man, you should try to make friends who are women, and with whom you would behave as you would with your male buddies. If you already have such friends, then you are most definitely on the right track. This kind of relationship allows you to look at women objectively, and also learn about their perspective, their fears, emotions and dispositions, without sexual and romantic thoughts clouding your mind in their presence.

In order to become a feminist, you only need to make a few minor changes to your thought process, and the way you see and interact with women, and people in general.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
10 Things Men Can Do To Become A Feminist
It is time that men actively learnt how to become a feminist. if you are one of them, then check out this handy to-do and don't list, which can give you a head start.
Aishani Laha

Aishani Laha

Bibliophile. Feminist. Unreasonable optimist. I am dangerously obsessed with the English language and the stage is my second home. I still believe in fairy tales and happy endings, and more importantly, that there is nothing that good music and a cup of coffee can’t fix.