TW: Sexual assault and Harassment
Sexism, patriarchy, and feminism. Three words that for some reason make adult men moan and groan as if they were 3-year-old children. In 2021, men are still not being held accountable for their horrendous behaviour towards women. Sexual assault, both verbal and physical, are still commonplace within society, and men seem to think these issues are not as big as women say they are.
The old adage goes ‘walk a mile in my shoes and see what I see, feel what I feel. Then maybe you will understand.’ If the solution was as simple as men being able to actually experience the day to day life of a woman, then problem solved. However, since this is not at all possible, here over at Chattr, we set out to find women who were willing to talk about their experiences with men and sexism, and offer advice to men in 2021.
In my 24 years of life I have been on enough dates, had countless hook ups and one-night stands to honestly admit the following fact… I have undoubtedly made women feel uncomfortable. Whether it was the make out session after the date, being too persistent about going back to her place, or being a petty loser when a girl does not want to go on a second date.
I have been called out by girls and by friends for my behaviour and these experiences are what shape and mould an individual. Have I ever raped anyone? No, of course not. However, that does not make me a hero. Too many men put forward the rhetoric of “at least I didn’t rape her.” Thinking that because they did everything else wrong, but did not commit the vile act, that somehow, they are still a good guy.
Countless men use the tired old line. I myself have used it as well. “I’m not like other guys.” We as men need to prove that awful saying now more than ever. Women are having their lives changed forever because of our actions… because we think, as men, we are entitled to everything a woman has to offer.
Sexual advancements made towards females have almost become common place within club settings. It is frightening how men think that just because they bought someone a drink that they are somehow owed something. And if a woman kindly lets a man know otherwise, she is then painted as the villain.
Rhiana Wegner, a Professor of Psychology and gender violence expert at the University of Massachusetts Boston proves my point and stated that that men feel entitled to have their needs met by women:
“When potential perpetrators perceive situational cues, such as the woman’s alcohol consumption, as consistent with their rape-supportive attitudes, they are likely to feel justified in using force to obtain sex.”
So we have heard my opinion and experiences, as well as what Professor Wegner believes. What do women have to say on the matter?
Nada Nasas, a 25-year-old who works in the insurance sector, had the following advice for men to help them improve how they treat women in 2021.
“Connect with others and be vulnerable. It will allow you to show empathy and compassion. So many men I have spoken to or dated seem to have this persona that they are always right, they are gods,” said Nada.
Listening is a skill that I myself have trouble doing. Especially when women try and explain how I can better myself. Like all males, I do not want to be told why I am wrong… but hey, it helps.
Eman Elhelw, a 23-year-old Law Graduate, told us about the importance of listening to the female gender.
“In 2021 it is our male counterparts turn to listen to the women in your life when they tell you something makes them uncomfortable. Once you know better, do better. Call out your guy friends, male colleagues and even your family when they are out of line,” said Eman.
Silence is definitely an issue within society. Remaining silent makes you just as much of a problem. Eman added: “if you’re silent, your passivity perpetuates the toxic culture women are fighting against.”
Raji Lal, a 24-year-old women’s rights activist and ambassador at Victoria based not for profit, One Girl, shares similar views on holding men accountable:
“Placing that individual [man] in the spotlight forces them to reflect. Men need to be involved in these conversations, so that they can recognise how they can stop being enablers in awkward/uncomfortable situations for women.”
One woman’s response stuck with me, merely because it was so blunt. Amber Fittler a 23-year-old university student offered one sentence of advice for men in 2021.
“Don’t be an asshole,” she said.
My fellow males, I implore you to take the advice of these women. Start having productive dialogue about sexism and listen to the women around you. You have nothing to prove to your mates, if they say something that seems wrong… call them out. Do your part for the women’s movement in 2021 and be an ally, not a roadblock.
Featured Image Via: ABC News