I’ve considered myself a feminist and male ally to women for quite some time. When I took my first Women’s Studies class two years ago with Professor Denise Witzig, little did I know that it would take me down an unsuspecting, beautiful, and transformative path towards feminism. Below, I’ve complied a list of 101 everyday ways for men to be allies to women. I must acknowledge that this post was written with cisgender, heterosexual men as a possible, target audience due to the lack of support from this group. However, I feel that many of these points are applicable on a broader scale. If you have suggestions or additions to this list, I’ve included my email at the end of this post. I’m totally open to dialogue. While some of these points were suggested to me by friends, most of them come from my personal experience with allyship and feminist activism.
1. Recognize your privileges, especially your male privilege (and white privilege if applicable).
- I’m very intentional in making this point first. Understanding all of your privileges are the core principle of allyship towards women and people who identify outside the gender spectrum. Male privilege is a set of privileges that all men (or anybody that identifies as male) benefit from under patriarchy. All of these privileges are at the expense of women and other subordinate groups. Here’s a good list of examples of male privileges! (The Male Privilege Checklist)
- For more on white privilege, check out Peggy McIntosh’s incredible article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack!”
2. Make a daily effort to acknowledge and then challenge your male privilege.
- In order to be a successful ally, you must make a daily effort to understand privilege. As a male, it is your social responsibility to be conscious of your privileges. Use this consciousness to explore different situations. For example, how would a situation been different if it were a woman in your position? Would a woman have been treated differently than you?
3. Recognize that your male privilege (among other privileges) may in fact blind you to others’ experiences.
- Allies are not perfect by any means. We will make mistakes. What we choose to do after making a mistake is what will determine our effectiveness as allies. Therefore, it is very important to come to terms with the fact that we do not know everything! Because of our privilege, we are going to be blinded to situations that only a woman would be able to speak to. So please, recognize this blindspot and don’t take it personally when someone corrects you for overlooking something.
4. Wall posters and iPhone wallpapers of semi-nude girls…Really? Take em down if you got em.
- If you’re serious about being an ally, I think this point is somewhat obvious. Let me put it to you this way…By having that poster or wallpaper up, you are objectifying a woman and her body. Plain and simple. Odds are… you have it up simply because you like the way she looks in a bikini or just completely naked. Guess what… Women. Are. Not. Objects. How are you ever going to work with a woman or take any woman seriously (for that matter) if all you care about is looks?
5. Stop catcalling.
- Many of my female friends have told me that instances of catcalling and street harassment are some of the most frightening, awkward, intrusive, and degrading experiences of their lives. By catcalling, you are contributing to a culture that teaches women to be scared and be constantly aware of their environments. By catcalling, you are contributing to a notion that all men are perverted assholes who have zero respect for women. By catcalling, you are promoting a sexist culture. You are not giving women the right to feeling safe and comfortable in public life. Stop now. With that said…
- Please check out Hollaback‘s website. They are doing amazing work on street harassment!!!
6. Be conscious of where your eyes wander as a woman walks by. Change that behavior.
- Another example of street harassment… Look guys, we have been brought up to objectify women. Not all of us will admit it, but we are all guilty of doing this at some point in our lives. Even as a guy taking Women’s Studies classes, I’ve honestly caught myself starting at a woman on occasions. Granted, I’ve done tons of internal work towards unlearning sexist behaviors and instead advocating for non-sexist ways of interacting with “potential love interests.” I am not perfect. I’m going to mess up, but I have to keep working towards eliminating this behavior in order to call myself an effective ally.
7. Stop assuming that random girls like you just because they smile at you and make eye contact.
- This may be a surprise to you, but smiling isn’t always a sign of potential sign of interest and attraction. Sometimes, it just means the person is nice and wants to acknowledge your existence as a human being. (I hope you’re picking up my tone)
8. Be aware of how you flirt with a woman.
- Everyday Feminism’s article sums it all up perfectly – (The Feminist Guide to Non-Creepy Flirting)
9. Walk on the other side of the street when a woman is walking towards you at night.
- I make every effort when I’m out at night to pose myself as a non-threatening person in order to make women feel more comfortable. Some ways that I do so include making sure my hands are always visible as I’m passing a woman, looking downward or away from the woman I’m passing by, or just completely crossing the street so the woman coming towards me doesn’t feel threatened in any way by my presence. I do what I can as a conscious male. It’s also important to recognize that I am Latino. Sadly, men of color are more likely to be profiled as dangerous than white men. I began this practice knowing that I will be seen as more dangerous and threatening.
- Women as a class have been taught to be fearful of going out at night (Sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, stalking, you name it…) Our society gives women many reasons and messages to justify living by a “rape schedule.” In other words, women tend to tailor their schedules in order to minimize any potential danger. This could translate into things like not going to the gym at night because of the dangers of walking back to your car afterwards. Or…this could translate into extreme awareness and concealed carry of weapons like mace, stun guns, firearms, etc.
10. If you’re going to be chivalrous (on dates) or in everyday life, do it for everyone out of kindness, not just for women or people you think aren’t capable of doing things themselves.
- Some people say chivalry is dead. Others think it most definitely exists AND is based on sexism and essentialism. I think that chivalry is an amazing concept when practiced by everyone, for everyone. While some women may admire a man who opens doors for them, pays the bill every time, or walks on the street side of the sidewalk when walking next to them… I’m a firm believer that chivalry should apply to everyone out of kindness for your fellow human beings.
11. Treat women at your workplace with genuine respect, especially in male-dominated professions.
- Historically, the workplace has been male-dominated. It’s time to redefine this space and give women the same respect we would expect others to give us.
12. Enjoy popular culture with many grains of salt.
- Everything we read, watch, hear, or see in the media has an effect on us. As men working to become allies, it is imperative that we recognize the implications of the cultural messages we are receiving. If you disagree with me, then the subliminal advertising and messages has most definitely had its’ effect.
13. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- This point is extremely important AND vital. The only way to learn is to put yourself out there, especially in situations that make you uncomfortable. For example, I read feminist books, participate in dialogues about patriarchy, and seek out spaces with a lot of women to talk about feminism. Often times, these books and dialogues consist of difficult conversations surrounding men and patriarchy that COULD make me feel targeted and singled out as a member of that group and beneficiary of the system. I want to be an effective ally; therefore it is my social responsibility to stay despite discomfort.
- Women’s lived experiences and knowledge are at the core of feminism and allyship to women. While this movement requires people of all genders coming together to take collective action, it all began with women coming together to rally against sexism. Instead of jumping in and stumbling over women to make your opinions heard on an issue, take a step back and actually listen to what’s already being said. There is so much you could learn. As an ally, I’m still trying to perfect this skill, but I make a daily effort (even in the smallest settings such as a one-on-one conversation with a female friend) to listen instead of talking all the time.
15. Monitor your use of words.
- Stop using words, telling jokes, or making comments that are offensive or could be interpreted as offensive. You can’t be a male ally and still call women bitches, sluts, whores, or whatever degrading words come to mind. You must check yourself.
16. Never force your opinions on other people.
- Learn to step back. Stop leading conversations, especially in feminist settings where you should instead consider yourself as a guest. Even in these feminist spaces, you (as a male) bring male privilege into the room. Therefore, you must be aware of that privilege and offer your opinions only when it feels right. Collaboration and communication requires that all people be heard and respected.
17. Be conscious of your words and the effects it could have on others.
- Through my experience, this point will be one of your first tests of commitment to this movement. You can’t predict what effect your words will have on someone else, whether it be in one-to-one conversations or collective dialogues. Therefore, you’re going to be called out. Be ready for that. Remember what I said about being comfortable with being uncomfortable? This is what I mean.
18. Be pro-choice.
- Being pro-choice is a given. I say this because women must always have control over THEIR own bodies. The fact that there is legislation and dialogue in our government around this issue completely angers me. Why are men (the majority in our government) making decisions about women’s bodies?
19. Let yourself cry and be emotional.
- Men are taught that showing emotion (especially in public) is frowned upon and not masculine. Screw that… Challenge traditional expectations of masculinity and stand in solidarity with women and the LGBT community in changing gender expectations. Crying, being emotional, and being true to how you really feel despite cultural expectations is a MUST.
20. Ask for consent, always.
- Always ask for consent from your sexual partner. We (men) aren’t taught that consent is something to bring up, but I promise you that asking for consent and being on that intimate level with your sexual partner will give you a more liberating experience. Some women may find it weird that you ask, but don’t let that deter you from doing the right thing.
- Check out these sites DAILY! All of them have great news stories from a feminist perspective and will help you in your journey towards becoming a better ally. What’s great about these sites is that they always have links to other great websites.
22. Take a Women’s Studies class.
- If you’re in high school or college, think about taking a Women’s Studies class. I promise you that this will change your perspectives as a man. It will change your life. Taking my first Women’s Studies class provided me the entry point to talk about gender, patriarchy, and oppression in the United States. It also led to me later deciding to be a Women’s Studies Major. Trust me, take an introduction class. If you’re done with college, seek out workshops or classes in your local area. The internet is a great resource. I’m sure you can find some great online classes or webinars.
23. Acknowledge the lived experiences of women and LGBT-identified people.
- As a male ally, you should never assume or speak on behalf of women and the LGBT community. Your job is to listen and to acknowledge what members of these groups are telling you about their lives. Being an ally to one community carries the responsibility to be an ally towards other communities like the LGBT community.
24. Support same-sex marriage. Given.
- My sister identifies as a lesbian. As her brother, I have made this point very central to my own work as an ally to women.
25. Pick up a feminist book from your local bookstore to start off.
- One major aspect of being an ally is education. Put in the work and seek the appropriate resources. Here are some great books that I would suggest starting out with!
- Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power by Shira Tarrant
- Men and Feminism by Shira Tarrant
- Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
- Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks
- The Guy’s Guide to Feminism by Michael Kimmel and Michael Kaufman
- Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis
26. Get involved with school programs and events.
- Allyship isn’t just about educating yourself, it’s about taking action. Seek out Women’s Resource Centers, Mutlicultural Centers, diversity organizations, or any program/event that is advocating for social justice issues.
27. Support non-profit organizations and pro-feminist groups.
- Subscribe to email lists, participate in forums, seek internships, or become a part of non-profit organizations. There are plenty of ways to get involved!
28. Journal daily and reflect on your behaviors, thoughts, ideas, etc.
- We all need self-reflection time. I’ve found journaling about my experiences and journey to be extremely helpful in keeping me motivated and connected to the broader movement.
29. Challenge everyday sexism in your life.
- This can come in many forms. One way I challenge everyday sexism is to call out my friends when they say something sexist or misogynistic. Also, when I’m at work, I make sure that ALL voices and opinions are being heard.
30. Don’t just talk the talk. Walk your talk.
- Being a male ally isn’t a 9-5 job. You can’t choose when and when not to be an ally. If you’re brave enough to do this, you must do it all the way. Apply feminism to your daily life. Calling yourself an ally or a feminist is way more than a label…It’s even more than a lifestyle… You must immerse yourself and do the best you can down to your very core.
31. Stop telling her you’re “different than other guys.” Don’t speak. Do.
- Actions speak louder than words. Actually be different.
32. Call out your friends on oppressive behaviors, jokes, or comments.
- This is a perfect example of everyday sexism. For most of us guys, following this point may be difficult. Sexist language is so normalized among groups of guys, but you must do your best to challenge your friends. Get them to empathize and support the movement to end sexism.
33. Challenge other men to do the same.
- This information is useless if you keep it to yourself. Influence the men in your life in a positive way. It is your responsibility to get other men to see their male privilege and care about fighting patriarchy. If all of us work collectively, there is so much good we can do in the world.
34. Reflect on how you were raised as a boy.
- Early socialization taught us how to be the men we are today. Our experiences, learned lessons, and countless lectures from our parents have shaped us into the people we are today. With your feminist consciousness, closely examine your childhood and reflect on how you were taught to be a man. Challenge your past and redefine your masculinity. Be who you truly want to be.
35. Strengthen your relationships with other men.
- I went through a brief period when I hated men because there are so few who openly believe and practice feminist ideals and allyship. After some self-reflection, I came to realize that this is my calling and role in the feminist movement. As a male ally, I should make every effort to be friendly and close to the people in my life without fear of repercussions. Often times, men who have close relationships with other men are seen as homosexual. That is completely messed up and demonstrates a perfect example of the institutionalized homophobia in our society.
36. Take paternity leave if you’re a father.
- Challenge the status quo. Be an involved father, and take part raising the next generation. Teach your son to love and respect women. They rely on you for guidance.
37. Support musicians and artists that do not degrade women in their music and lyrics.
- In a country where many top artists make money off music with misogynistic or demeaning lyrics, we must support the growing number of musicians, artists, rappers, etc. who are making great music that promotes social justice and equality.
38. Put yourself in situations for self-growth through activism.
- If you have an opportunity to learn more through a job, internship, or position in activism, I encourage you to give it a whirl. Activism is a beautiful, raw way to put your beliefs into practice.
39. Redefine your masculinity in a pro-feminist way.
- Understanding your masculinity is essential to being an effective ally to women. As men, we are taught to uphold sexist ideals and behaviors through crazy gender roles expectations. Men are suppose to be tough, strong, emotionless, straight, muscular, etc. Under these expectations, many men are stigmatized, punished, harassed, or shunned for stepping out of these “normal” manly behaviors. Men can’t be their truest selves out of fear of stigmatization. Guys, we are all being hurt by patriarchy and these crazy expectations. We are forced into being something we’re not. It’s time that we redefine the masculinity and what it mean to be a man in a way that doesn’t oppression or subordinate women or any group of people.
40. Never seek recognition or affirmation.
- While some men are made fun of for caring about women’s rights and feminism, there is very something alluring about being a male feminist (or so I hear). There aren’t many of us, therefore it may seem tempting to let this get to your head. Also, it may seem tempting to seek validation and verbal recognition from women and people you know for caring about these issues and being different. Guess what, this is your responsibility. Why should you receive recognition when women don’t? This is why I absolutely hate it when I’m recognized at conferences for being one of like two or three males present. I don’t want the recognition and neither should you. Don’t advertise yourself as a “male feminist” in search of respect. You’re just going to come across as rude, fake, and completely disrespectful. Do the work with humility and modesty.
41. Recognize that you contribute to women’s oppression by NOT acting.
- Every single day is an opportunity to prove your commitment to this movement. Historically, men have done little to truly support women in the fight for equal rights and gender equity. Therefore, if you choose to ignore these issues, you are directly contributing to the perpetuation of a culture that subordinates women. So take action.
42. Claim the feminist label.
- While I’m not a huge fan of labels, I strongly feel that calling yourself a feminist is a necessary action, especially for men. The term “feminist” has been completely stigmatized and stereotyped in recent years; therefore, I think it’s important for men to claim this label as a political statement and stand in solidarity with our feminist sisters. In addition to claiming the label, men must take action to back it up.
43. Blogs. Online Communities. Find spaces to dialogue with other like-minded feminist men.
- Seek out online and offline resources and communities to dialogue and be surrounded by other like-minded feminist men. Being around other male allies is a very empowering experience; it replenishes your energy level, confidence, and comfortability doing this work. It makes you feel not-so-alone. While dialoguing with women in feminist spaces is a rewarding experience, it’s also important that we share our thoughts and experiences with other male allies. We must hold each other accountable.
44. Don’t be the hero, savior, or knight in shining armor.
- Allyship isn’t about rescuing people from their oppressors, as if they couldn’t do it on their own. Allyship is about standing in solidarity and working together to collectively tackle a social problem.
45. Attend a women’s rights protest.
- -There is nothing else like it! You’re going to love it.
46. Strengthen the relationships with the women in your life.
- As an ally, I am motivated by women in my life. I value every single one of their friendships. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing this work. Therefore, I think it’s very important for me and for all men to be treasure your friendships with women.
47. Work with your partner or spouse on how to mutually share responsibilities.
- Screw gender roles… Work towards an egalitarian relationship. Ask your partner to have a conversation about your relationship and what you can do to make things more equal. Whether it be housework or finances, men must make the effort to show that they want to start stepping up.
48. Men aren’t the only ones who have orgasms. Remember that!!!
- Don’t be selfish. Make her the priority. Communicate with her and I’m sure you’ll have a better sex life.
49. Don’t judge women by their choice of clothing.
- Women should be able to wear whatever the hell they want without you or society judging them. While I’m on this topic, I also want to point out that a woman’s choice of clothes never merits unwanted advances or sexual harassment. So stop thinking a woman is slutty if she’s wearing little clothing or stuck up because she’s completely covered up.
- These films are my requirement for YOU. Watch them. They’re brilliant and provide great contemporary analyzes of masculinity and femininity in popular culture.
51. Make time out of your day to call your mother and catch up with her.
- All of us have special, unique relationships with our mothers (wherever they may be), regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, nation of origin, religion, etc. My mother was the first woman I ever met in my lifetime. She’s been my greatest inspiration in the ally work I do. Therefore, I do my best to always catch up with her and be inspired to continue going forth.
52. Learn about your own familial roots and culture.
- If you don’t know where you came from, it’s going to be be difficult to see where you’re going. Explore! Culture and diversity is beautiful, and being able to appreciate and respect culture will make you a better ally.
- Intersectionality is vital to allyship! Your race/ethnicity are important, and it will set you down different paths. White male allies will have different experiences than male allies of color. Understanding how your identities intersect matter!
53. Treat all women equally. Race, class, or any other identity category should never dictate your treatment.
- Enough said.
54. Catch yourself whenever you slip.
- Hold yourself accountable. Be aware of your actions, words, and behaviors, and call yourself out when you do something or see something oppressive, sexist, or just completely wrong…
55. Seek out online blogs and magazines that talk about current events and race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
- Here are some great suggestions. Other than that, happy exploring!
- Spectra Speaks
- Masculinity U
- Tim Wise
- Latina Feminista
- Michael Urbina * Had to
56. Think about issues and your own life from an intersectional lens.
- Expanding on #52… We all have different experiences as men. We come from different backgrounds; therefore, we must take all of our identities into account when examining specific issues. For example, being a Latino, heterosexual male, I’m most definitely going to have a different opinion than a White, homosexual male on same-sex marriage. Rather than simply looking at issues as a male, it’s important that we all consider our complete background. This will give us the opportunity to acknowledge all voices and backgrounds and have a real dialogue around issues.
57. Don’t dwell on the past, but don’t forget where you came from.
- We can’t change the past. Rather than dwell, we must come to terms with what we’ve done, who we’ve hurt, or what we didn’t do. It’s important to stay connected to who we once were. That way, you can see your progress and be inspired to keep on going. People who know you will see you evolve.
58. Support other people who advocate for gender equality.
- Doing this work can be very tiring,exhausting, and demotivating, especially when there are few who openly express their commitment to allyship through activism. I love connecting to other activists who are doing the same work. It’s very uplifting, especially in a movement that requires collaboration and support to succeed.
59. Respect “her” culture.
- Make an effort to learn about your girlfriend, partner, or spouse’s cultural background. Respect her culture’s traditions and love ALL of her.
60. Don’t assume she will take your last name if you both agree to marry.
- It’s a social norm that the woman takes the last name of the husband. However, more and more women today are deciding to hyphenate their names or just stick to their own last names. Communication and respect are vital to a happy relationship. I would suggest asking her about this issue rather than let her bring it up. It shows you care.
61. Respect confidentiality.
- Be someone that women and other men can trust. When it comes to this work, you’re going to learn a lot of new information, and some of it may be very sensitive. People may share difficult experiences with you relating to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, abusive relationships, suicide, eating disorders, addiction, etc. If someone trusts you, you must uphold that trust and be someone that they can rely on.
62. Be willing to listen and know when to refer people to other resources.
- Put yourself out as a resource for people. Be there to listen, but trust your instincts. If you think an issue is way over your head, refer your friend to a person and place where they can get the appropriate help.
63. Defy traditional male stereotypes.
- Don’t be like everyone else. Look for ways to express yourself freely without societal repercussion. If you like something that isn’t traditionally “masculine,” go do it! Be your truest self and encourage other men to follow. Being in touch with your masculinity is a very freeing experience.
64. Use your male privilege to advance feminist discussions in male-dominated spaces.
- Most guys don’t openly advocate for women’s rights (to my knowledge). As a conscious male, this will be one of your most important roles in the movement. Unfortunately, your voice tends to carry more weight than a woman’s in male-dominated spaces or professions. Therefore, as a conscious male, it is your responsibility to offer up perspectives, ideas, and thoughts about feminism, equality, healthy masculinity, and other topics related to this movement. Challenge the existing structure and work towards making your institution a more inclusive space. Fight the social norm and refuse to be like everyone else. Stand up for what you believe in. You’re going to encounter resistance, but that’s just part of the job description.
65. Recognize that we don’t define what being an ally entails. Women have that job.
- We must recognize that being an ally requires us to be in constant communication and collaboration with women. Don’t go off and be a feminist vigilante or something crazy like that. Talk to the women in your life. Ask them what they need from men in the movement. Throughout my journey as an ally, I have always looked forward to conversations with other feminists about men and their roles in the feminist movement. I’ve received multiple interpretations. One way that I see myself making a difference is creating this post. I’ve compiled this list from my own journey, as well as from the words of many feminists in my life.
66. Never give up.
- As you become more and more immersed in feminism, allyship, and social justice, there may be times where you feel like giving up or taking break. Trust me, the work you are or will be doing is making a difference. This work may not yield immediate results or instant gratification, but I promise you that it leads to a better life. Go forth.
67. Combat rape culture in your social circle, workplaces, or school.
- We live in victim-blaming society that promotes rape culture. Rather than address perpetrators of sexual assault (for example), our society loves to focus on the victim, asking questions like: Why were you out so late? What were you wearing? Why didn’t you leave before the situation became unsafe? How drunk were you? For more information on rape culture, check out this great site! (FORCE: Upsetting the Culture of Rape)
- As a male ally, you must combat rape culture. Most men unknowingly support this culture, especially on college campuses. Therefore, it’s your job to make noise. Raise awareness around sexual assault and rape culture. Collaborate with others to fight for structural and cultural change. Most importantly, never blame victims of sexual assault. Be there for support.
68. Hold other men accountable.
- As male allies, we must have systems of accountability in order to keep us in check and make sure we’re doing things right. Women will hold you accountable. It is your job to hold yourself accountable AND keep other men accountable. If you see or hear anything sexist, speak out. If a guy is blinded by his male privilege when taking feminist action, do your best to make him aware.
69. Be an active bystander. If you witness harassment, do something about it.
- Never be a bystander. If you see something wrong, do something about it. Stand up, make noise, call the police…do something. Look for signs of harassment or danger and intervene if you see a situation escalating very quickly. There are different methods of intervening, and I strongly suggest you do some research on that. You could be the difference between someone living and dying. Yea, it can be that extreme.
70. Learn and use appropriate vocabulary.
- Go back to #25 and check out those books. Familiarize yourself. Here are some keywords you should know: feminism, patriarchy, oppression, privilege, resistance, intersectionality, LGBTQQIAA (and what each letter stands for), double consciousness, masculinity, femininity, differences between sex and gender, gender spectrum, sexism (and all of the -isms), glass ceiling, glass escalator, whiteness, etc. That’s a good starter list. Believe me, there’s a lot more.
71. Advocate for more inclusive policies, rules, or procedures in your school or workplace.
- This goes back to doing more than just educating yourself. Make your environment more inclusive. Use your male privilege to advocate for changes to the structure or protocol of your school/college or workplace. Rally the troops and take pride in grassroots organization. Make noise.
72. Speak as if a woman is always listening.
- Always be conscious of your words and actions.
73. Be aware of your heterosexual privilege.
- Check out Everyday Feminism’s article: 30+ Examples of Heterosexual Privilege in the U.S.
74. Celebrate milestones and victories with women and the LGBT communities.
- Rise in solidarity and celebrate victories and milestones. You’re an ally and supporter. Therefore, you should show your commitment by joining in. Many people (including yourself) will have fought difficult battles. Live a little and use these moments to continue the work! For example, I went down to the Castro after SCOTUS’s rulings on marriage equality were released. I was so inspired by the liveliness and energy. Being in this space made me proud to be an ally.
75. Be proud to be an ally.
- You are or will be doing amazing work, and you should be proud of that.
76. Seek out children’s books for your kids that challenge traditional gender roles.
- This is a great starter list. (12 Children’s Picture Books That Challenge Traditional Gender Roles) I’ve read 10,000 Dresses and The Paperbag Princess out of curiosity. They are all amazing!
77. Be able to laugh at yourself.
- Contrary to what society tells you, women don’t owe us anything. They don’t own us hugs, kisses, smiles, acknowledgement, or sex. Nothing. We never have the right to assert dominance over women’s bodies or personal space.
79. Recognize that this movement is much larger than yourself.
- This movement isn’t about you. Try not to take anything personally. Work with the discomfort and use that to advance the movement.
80. Make your space feminist!
- Posters, wall art, flags, or any feminist propaganda! Make your room an inclusive, decorative place to remind you of what you’re invested in. On my wall, I have posters and flyers from all the events and protests I have ever attended in my college career.
81. Make a Twitter account.
- I’ve found tremendous success in connecting to other feminists and allies via Twitter! I strongly suggest you make a Twitter and use that to keep up with feminist blogs, activists, and movements.
82. Familiarize yourself with this book. You’ll thank me later.
- Don’t just focus on women’s rights and feminism… Broaden your lens and explore issues such as immigration, poverty, militarization, prison-industrial complex, food politics, transnational social movements, etc. With time, you’ll find that everything is connected.
84. Cook with your girlfriend, partner, or spouse.
- Come on, it’s cute. It shows her you care. It might even help you out later down the road.
85. Support and vote for political candidates who advocate policies beneficial to women, LGBT people, and other marginalized groups of people.
- If you don’t see yourself going into politics, vote for candidates who would be in structural power to make effective change for marginalized groups of people.
86. Join the Feminist Network Project and stay connected to thousands of feminists worldwide.
Afficher International Feminist Network sur une carte plus grande
- In the sea of mainstream media lie some very badass filmmakers, producers, and films that can be classified as feminist. This slowly growing (yet very powerful) genre produces great films and I highly recommend you check all of them out. Support filmmakers, musicians, artists, or anyone in the media industry defying social norms and drawing attention to the feminist cause.
88. Embrace the haters. You can learn a lot from them.
- There are going to be people that disagree with you. Some of your friends might stop talking to you. Others may be puzzled, question your sexuality, or look at you in a completely different way. Embrace it. You are standing up while many choose to remain seated. You are a trailblazer in your community. Look for opportunities to face the “haters” head on. Challenge them and invite them for conversations, whether it be on Facebook, over the phone, or in person. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from hearing other different perspectives.
89. Don’t fall for websites or causes that claim men are oppressed (by feminism). One example is A Voice For Men.
- Men are never oppressed by patriarchy. These websites like to depict feminism as a threat to men and masculinity. It’s not… While men’s rights activists hold different perspectives, I would actually recommend reading some of their material to see the difference and create dialogue. It’s good to get angry and hear other groups.
90. Travel to unfamiliar places.
- Interpret this as you will. It could mean visiting a different country or exploring unknown parts of the city you live in. The goal is to broaden your horizons and be more in touch with the world you live in. I love exploring, and every time I discover new places around me, I feel energized, motivated, and proud to fight for what I believe in.
91. Ask questions (but not too many)!
- If you have a question about allyship, ask fellow feminists! However, try your best not to make these people your sole sources of information. Do research and educate yourself.
92. Start a blog!
- We need more male allies actively blogging online. I love hearing different perspectives and connecting with other feminists interested in dialogue. If you create a blog, please email me your link! (email@example.com)
93. Buy your books at local, independent bookstores.
- I’ve had more luck finding feminist books in independent bookstores, not corporate bookstores like Barnes & Noble. Your selection is going to be much greater if you go to these places. Google Search bookstores in your area!
94. Showcase your feminist pride! (If you’re comfortable)
- Wear t-shirts, sport wristbands, or put cool bumper stickers on your car. Make noise! There are many different ways to do so. As a man, you’re bound to draw attention and possibly rally support with your feminist gear. Here’s my favorite t-shirt design.
95. Seek out role models and pick their brains.
- Whether it be a favorite author/blogger or activist, do your best to get into contact with that person and ask them questions. Twitter and e-mail have been my biggest successes! Take their advice and look for opportunities to collaborate. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Learn!
96. Respect women’s spaces for dialogue.
- While male allies are important and vital to the success of the feminist movement, it’s important that you respect spaces for women to have conversations and dialogues amongst themselves. Learn to step back.
97. Appearances should never matter. Promote self-love and healthy body images!
- Mainstream media constantly bombards us with messages and advertisements to make us feel dissatisfied and unhappy with ourselves and our appearance. That’s just stupid. You are perfect just the way you are. Be proud of your body, and respect others for theirs.
98. Turn magazines that promote sexism and unhealthy body image backwards at your local supermarkets and newsstands.
- One of my friends offered me this piece of advice. When you’re out shopping, turn or completely cover magazines that promote sexist and unhealthy messages to women and men. People are bound to wonder what you’re doing. It’s a very creative way of drawing attention and inviting people to have dialogues around feminism and the media. Here are some examples of magazines I’d turn over in a heartbeat:
- At times, you are going to feel demotivated, stressed, and tired from this work. There may come a time where you come close or actually experience complete burnout. I’ve experienced this a couple of times, but I’ve always rediscovered my passion by reflecting on my past accomplishments and victories. Also, I found mainstream media and blatant sexism in my everyday life to be strong motivations to continue the work. I came to realize that this work truly is my social responsibility.
100. Develop your own methods of self-care.
- In order to decrease your chances of burnout, find ways of practicing self-care in order to keep you motivated and productive in allyship. Self-care can come in many forms. For example: playing sports, hiking, doing yoga, reading non-feminist literature, going off the grid, dancing, working out, spending time with friends and family, etc. The possibilities are endless, but once you find things that make you happy, stick to them!
101. Please suggest further additions and edits to this list.
- I’ve developed this list from both my own experiences and suggestions from many friends whom identify as a feminist. Because of my male privilege, I’m 100% sure that I missed things. If you have anything you would like to discuss or add to this list, please feel free to email me anytime (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Or… feel free to comment below. I would love to hear what you think! Thanks!
^ Featured Image – Ryan Gosling (Photo Credit)