Guys tell us how they react when they see misogyny happening
‘I am unintentionally sexist’
by Katie Mythen
Although widely regarded as ‘mallies’, male participation in feminism is often misunderstood. Although they’re an important part of the discussion for equality, contributions are often overlooked. I asked my closest friends, who just happen to be men, how they feel when they see misogyny happening and how they deal with it.
Cieran, 21, Sales Executive
Sexism is a touchy subject. Knowing when to draw the line is tricky. Because I’m male, I am unintentionally sexist without even realizing, expressing comments that only hinder the strength of females, without thinking about the consequences of how it can make a women question her own identity. A large amount of my friends are female and when in their presence, I never shy away from the odd “make me a sandwich” remark.
However, when it comes to the real influence of female oppression, such as in the workplace, that’s where I draw the line. If I ever felt the need to speak up during a sexist confrontation, my gender wouldn’t stop me speaking up. The glass ceiling is slowly cracking, but the presence of misogyny in the professional environment is a wall we have to break.
William, 21, Student
If I ever hear the phrase “men deserve better rights than women”, I might just implode. My girlfriend was born to be a mother. If at some point in the future, she doesn’t get the job she wants because a older male is concerned about her maternity leave in years to come, or is worried about how she might have to pick up our kids from school, or have time off during term time, there is no way i would stand by and watch that happen. Just because I’m a male doesn’t mean I can’t speak up when needed about female oppression. Everyone deserves equality, regardless of the situation.
Keith, 56, Parent
I’ve been a working man for decades, and when I sit down and try and remember a situation I have been in involving misogyny, nothing springs to mind. I guess you could look at that two ways. Sure, it might be a great thing. The fact I have never experienced sexism in the workplace is perhaps a miracle considering where I have worked and who I’ve worked with. However, when you really dig deeper, I guess it could highlight my naivety towards sexism and how many believe it no longer exists.
I’m sure at some point in my life, I have made a women feel inferior because of her gender, unintentionally of course. I know men like to shy away from sexism and pretend that it’s not an issue- I’ve done that myself I’m sure. However, when you raise two daughters, your perspective changes. The idea of them getting paid less because of their gender, or not gaining a promotion, or being scrutinized about marriage and children, makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Whether men like to admit it or not, misogyny exists.
Jacob, 19, Student
I first realised the extent of misogyny when I first went clubbing with my girlfriend in Manchester. She was unable to relax and have a good time with her as she was constantly being pestered by the lads who thought they had the divine right to grope her. I first realised the scale of misogyny this night as it was the first time I saw it through a woman’s eyes. And it’s because it’s only generally experienced by one gender which is why it continues to be a problem. Awareness is key.
Michael, 21, Student
When it comes to misogyny, context is important. Would I stand up to a 6″8 man who felt the need to shout out obscenities about a young girl’s tits? Probably not. I’m a small lad.
However, when it comes the crux of the debate, when you get down to the real issues of sexism in 21st century culture, I’ll debate it till the cows come home. Hearing comments that oppress female strength makes me uncomfortable. It gets me in a huff, so usually I speak out against it.
But not enough people do, and that’s an observation of both genders. You shouldn’t stand aside and become passive. These issues don’t disappear easily.
Sean, 85, Grandparent
I have five daughters, and 10 grandchildren, five of whom are women. I raised them all to be tough cookies, always forcing them to speak their mind. When my granddaughter asked me whether I had witnessed any misogyny experienced by my wife, my children or my grandchildren, I said no with confidence. Why? Because none of them would stand for such nonsense.
And if they weren’t strong enough to step up to the plate, I would have no problem whatsoever showing them who is boss. I’m pretty family orientated, and I wouldn’t let anyone talk to my family like that. Here’s a piece of advice for young women out there. If anyone ever uses your femininity against you, be confident, show authority and don’t let them overstep their bounds.
Joking is one thing, what’s worse if using your full blown opinion. It’s asking for trouble. I will admit it, I judge people. However,I will only be known for judging someone on how hard they work and who they are as a person, rather than whether they wear skirts or shirts.