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Tips for Men Who Want to be Allies to Women

June 2, 2010

This list was created by the 6A section of this year’s FemSex (Female Sexuality) course offered by the Gender and Sexuality Center. We thank them for allowing this to be published on our site.

1. DO really listen to me.
2. DON’T tell me I’m being irrational.
3. DO ask for consent.
4. DON’T tell me why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.
5. DO trust that I know my experience better than anyone else.
6. DO care about women’s issues.
7. DON’T try to tell me how to be a feminist.
8. DO call your friends out when they make sexist comments.
9. DON’T assume that there are any qualities that apply to all women – good OR bad.
10. DO recognize that women are full human beings.

and most importantly . . .

TRUST WOMEN. Trust us to make our own decisions about our bodies, trust us to be in positions of power, trust that we’re telling the truth about our experiences, and trust that we deserve respect and disrespect in exactly the same quantities as men.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    June 4, 2010 10:34 AM

    This made my day. I think I’m going to get this tattooed to my forehead.

  2. anon permalink
    June 7, 2010 3:25 PM

    What’s the deal with number two? Is it universally inappropriate to tell someone they’re being irrational?

    • Beckyck permalink
      June 8, 2010 3:02 PM

      I think the deal with most of the items in this list is that they ALL should be part of basic human decency – however, patriarchy, sexism & misogyny mean that women often aren’t given that basic respect. EVERYONE should be listened to, asked for consent, and treated as full human beings, but women aren’t always given these privileges, and I think the makers of this list wanted to reiterate that to men who don’t always see how clearly these sexist structures operate in our lives.

      Personally, I have been told too many times that I’m being irrational, and I often feel it’s based on my gender identity, not how I’m actually expressing myself, because women are traditionally associated with emotionality and irrationality. (I truly believe that emotions are rational and they must be valued as a rational response to situations, but that’s a little different conversation)

  3. john permalink
    July 11, 2010 8:20 PM

    I think there’s a great deal of validity and importance to what you have written. However, sometimes I think being angry at guys both openly and passive aggressively is deemed ok since it’s feminism. That is not ok. Some of those principles should be always applied but some of the others really do depend on context. For example, if your actions are profoundly impacting another person (including males) I don’t think you have the right to jump on his back if he believes you’re not being fair to him or acting rationally. The way you have made this list makes it seem women can do whatever the hell they want without even bothering to consider that guys can have feelings too. Maybe the best lesson for both sides is really to stick to number 1. BOTH


  1. Interesting posts, weekend of 6/5/10 « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

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