[My main Tumblr can be found over at myasphyxiatedmind]
If you want your ask replied to privately, just put '****' before you start typing.
My name is: Michelle, but most people call me Dark online.
My gender-pronouns are: They/them/their.
I am: 27 years old, a feminist, an atheist, an omnivore, and an ISFJ.
The Feminist: Intersectional, body positive, pro-choice, and sex positive.
My privileged identities include: Female assigned at birth (FAAB trans* privilege), white, able-bodied, allistic (?), dyadic, monogamous.
My non-privileged/oppressed identities include: Gender-fluid, fat, gray-a, neuroatypical, and gay.
I have: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Dermatophagia, and Dermatillomania.
I like: Pets & animals, animal welfare, pet care & pet care education, ~*SCIENCE!*~, anatomy & physiology, roleplaying, anime/manga, computer & video games, rock & metal music.
(This list will be forever in-progress. Please add on as you see fit).
- Challenge sexist jokes, such as dumb blonde jokes or jokes about rape.
- Avoid using words such as “bitch”, “hoe”, “slut.”
- Recognize when you “zone out” when women are speaking, when you value a man’s opinion more than a woman’s, or when you ask a man for information or advice rather than a woman.
- Recognize times when you “zone out” when a woman is speaking because you are sexualizing her.
- In group efforts, take on tasks such as photocopying, note taking, making phone calls, or providing childcare, which are usually given to women; encourage women to take on male-dominated tasks such as leading meetings, or acting as a spokesperson.
- Use gender-neutral language (ex. Firefighter, chairperson).
- Do not tell a woman how she should understand, express, or conceptualize experiences of discrimination and sexism.
- If a woman is offended by your actions or words, do not use tone arguments. If she does not accept your apology, recognize that she does not owe you anything.
- Check in regularly with your intimate partner(s) to make sure they feel comfortable, fulfilled and empowered by your intimacy.
- Do not make sexist jokes about how your partner (or any woman) drags you to go see chick flicks, forces you to go shopping, has you whipped, or is irritable because she is menstruating. Challenge others when they make these jokes. Avoid playing the role of the long-suffering man who has to hold a woman’s shopping bags and put up with her frivolities and vanity.
- Be polite, thoughtful, and considerate to women because they are individuals who deserve respect, not because you’re a “gentleman” or because of chauvinistic ideals.
- When a woman is completing a task, refrain from stepping in and telling her or showing her “the best way to do that.” Of course, if she asks for your advice or requires help, feel free to do so. But recognize that women are just as competent and capable as you.
- Apologize if you realize you may have offended someone, whether they mention it or not. Do not say: “If that offended you then I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Instead, frankly tell them: “I’m sorry I did that and I recognize it wasn’t okay. I’ll try harder next time.”
- Do not use expressions such as “grow a pair”, “be a man”, “man up”, or “stop being a bitch.”
- Reject forms of media and entertainment that promote sexism. Don’t excuse sexism and discrimination just because “it’s a really good movie.”
- Recognize that just because you are a feminist or work to challenge sexism does not mean you lose gender privilege.
- Do not be offended if you offer to help a woman and she rejects your help. Although you may genuinely have meant to be a good citizen by offering to help lift heavy objects or holding open a door, accept that the woman does not need your help, and that this does not make her a “bitch.”
- Recognize that while some women do hate men and do discriminate against men, that this sort of discrimination occurs in isolation, while sexism against women is backed by centuries of literature, scientific discourse, power/knowledge, philosophy, media representations, “common sense” discourse, etc.
- Realize that representations of women that you might find positive or fair might not be empowering to women. Notice that the vast majority of “positive” female characters or depictions in the media are highly sexualized to appeal to a male audience.
- Understand that much of what you’ve been taught to take for granted (that you are allowed to have an opinion and to voice it; that you can take up all the space you need; that you can become whoever you want; that you can pursue any career or dream you like) is often painfully untrue for women.
- When anyone tells you to stop, or says “no”, or does not actively give consent during any sort of physical contact or intimacy, immediately stop what you are doing. Do not sulk. Do not interrogate if the person is unwilling to explain. Do not complain or make them feel as though their choice to decide what sort of intimacy they want is not an empowered, safe choice.
- Do not make explanations such as “I didn’t mean anything by it”, “It was a joke, you’re just sensitive”, or “I’m not sexist, I have a lot of female friends.” If you have offended someone, listen carefully and learn from the experience.
- Do not police women’s bodies by deciding that “women shouldn’t plaster their faces with makeup”, or that “women should stop dressing like sluts to please men.”
Thank you to everyone who has been reblogging and adding to this discussion. I recognize that this list is certainly simplistic in that it arguably supports a gender binary, and that it glosses over issues of race, class, sexual orientation, age, and so on. I felt this list wasn’t a sufficient place to properly address those issues, but as many of you have mentioned many of these actions can also be taken by allies looking to challenge racism, homophobia, etc.
I’d also like to address accusations that this list is an attempt to belittle men or to discriminate against men. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This list began and was expanded on during working groups I’ve led and participated in while researching for my thesis paper. My goal is to highlight and deconstruct the ways in which patriarchal society damages and harms men. I take a position that favors coalition across borders, because I believe that we cannot begin to properly tackle patriarchy until there is an alliance between people of all genders. During these working groups, many of the men commented that they believe in equal pay, they welcome women in their classrooms, they abhor the idea of raping or harassing anyone, and they truly see women as equals. However, when it comes to their everyday lives, they still find sexism slipping in, usually in very subtle ways. A large part of our work was having conversations with men, and finding concrete, realistic ways men could challenge the patriarchal ideals they’ve been taught. I’ll repeat again that these actions are not exclusively reserved to men—they apply to people of all genders. However, the specific purpose of this list is to help men challenge sexism, because I cannot count the times a man has told me, in a very defeated tone, that this work feels overwhelming.
I understand that some men feel this list shames them for being men. However, I want to repeat that this has never been my intention, and will never be. I understand that being called out for the privilege you experience in a society that favors, prefers, and upholds masculinity can be an uncomfortable experience. However, I would invite you to try to consider how uncomfortable it must feel to wake up every day and know that you will experience at least one of the moments of sexism on this list. And to feel as though there is nothing you can do about it. I believe 100% in gender equality. However, if we want to even begin to work towards this goal, we need to work on the inequalities that exist in our own lives and beyond our lives. We need privileged people in society—white people, straight people, men, etc.—to stand up, to acknowledge their privilege, and to stand with us as allies. Thank you to everyone committed to doing this work.