It's On Men To End Mansplaining And Other Microaggressions

An Open Letter To Men On Mansplaining And Other Microaggressions

Men, you have a responsibility to end these microaggressions.

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OK, so women can vote, can initiate a divorce, and don't need their father's consent to marry. Legally women and men are equals. Some would say this means that sexism is an old-fashioned and outdated institution, that it has been buried in the sands of time. That it is over. But ask almost any woman on the street if she believes sexism is still present in society and you will receive an affirmative "YES." And this divide, this lack of communication, of empathy, and of willingness to listen, leads us down a dark path that could very well put us right back in the years when misogynistic witch hunts swept the country. So, as a woman, there are a few things that men should be aware of.

Microaggression: the subtle or indirect discrimination of a marginalized community that is often done subconsciously or unintentionally, but perpetuates the clear and direct discrimination of that community.

Mansplaining.

Take a look around a classroom. Do you see it? The boys with their hands up and backs pressed into the chairs so far that the front two legs are tipped off of the floor? The girls, with their backs sinking forward to offer the chair more room, their arms hesitantly bent at the elbows, their hand flickering up and down, their fingers hovering as if they aren't sure their limbs should be taking up that much space? I see it. There is this incredible reluctance in women in the classroom. And I believe it comes from a culture of "mansplaining," more formally I like to call it "male correction." This is the act of a man/male person responding to a female's comment or statement in a condescending manner that indirectly asserts that she is naive or uninformed.

Often, it is not simply a disagreement, but a patronizing attempt by a man to explain and teach a woman something she already is well informed about. This action completely disregards a woman's intelligence and squanders any possibility of intellectual debate and conversation. It turns a learning moment for both parties into an experience of shame and frustration for the woman and an over-heightened feeling of superiority for the man.

It is often a subconscious act, but it is a very conscious and present experience for women. It makes us feel unseen, unheard, and unimportant. It is a vicious cycle that leads to girls and women not wanting to speak up and share their thoughts in fear of being a put-down, which in turn makes boys grow up believing that women don't want to, or aren't capable of, having discussions about intellectually based topics.

So, to all the men out there, know this; women are incredibly smart and talented, we are entitled to a respectful intellectual discourse, just because you are a man does not mean you need to teach women things, we already know. Instead, just listen.

An example:

A female economics major: "I don't believe tax cuts for the wealthy actually redistribute wealth."

A man with no economics experience: "Well, actually, they do. You may not have heard of this theory I read about, but, it's called trickle down economics and..."

What should happen:

A female economics major: "I don't believe tax cuts for the wealthy actually redistribute wealth."

A man with no economics experience: "That's an interesting point since you've taken a lot of classes about that and have done a lot of research on it, why don't you tell me why you think that. I have a differing opinion, but I want to understand your point of view."

Slurs.

When a man is assertive, strong, and powerful he is a leader. When a woman is assertive, strong, and powerful she is a b*tch. Men aren't used to seeing women in positions of dominance, so when they are, men tend to downgrade their power by using slurs. Why? Well, when a group of people is so used to privilege, equality can feel like oppression. Subconsciously, many men are afraid of the repercussions that will ensue when women are allowed and able to take their rightful positions on the world stage. But, every second that we keep degrading women's tenacity is another second that women believe they are bound to more compassionate and tender destinies. This hurts us.

Men, I ask you to imagine for a moment that you are experienced, you are smart, you are capable, you have done the work, you have done the time, you are powerful. Now imagine, in spite of all this, all anyone ever wants to call you is a b*tch. They don't want to tell you how intelligent, how powerful, how truly amazing you are. No, they only want to let you know that you are not supposed to be the intelligent, powerful, amazing person you are.

That hurts, doesn't it? And women are not only told this when they come into power positions. We are told this in television shows as children. We are told this in school when we try to lead. We are told this early on in our careers when we attempt a promotion or a big project. We deserve better. Men, I know society has conditioned you to think this way, but I urge you to think twice before you say something. I urge you to take a step back

An example:

A female student: "Hey, that's an interesting thought but I'm not sure that will work for our project. Do you guys mind if I take the lead looking for other options?"

A male student talking to his friend: "She tried to control the whole project and insulted me. What a b*tch."

What should happen:

A female student: "Hey, that's an interesting thought but I'm not sure that will work for our project. Do you guys mind if I take the lead looking for other options?"

A male student talking to his friend: "She didn't like my idea, but that's OK, she knows just as much as I do about the topic. She's very opinionated and I respect the fact that she wants to take the lead."

Sexualization.

Women are continually sexualized, and then they are degraded for appearing sexual. From a very, very young age, we are taught not to show our bodies. There are dress codes, there are degrading comments, there is fear of getting harassed or assaulted. It is scary and disgusting. If, as a society, we put forth the idea that women are not to be seen, we will perpetually associate their shoulders, their knees, their stomachs as something prohibited, as something rebellious, as something forbidden. And that, that is the problem. Because, then, we associate women that show these body parts as breaking the rules, and therefore asking to be punished. Maybe if we didn't make sly comments at women and support institutions that degrade their bodies, we wouldn't have women that run to their car with keys between their fingers at night, women that pretend to be on the phone when walking past a man on a back street, women who tug the backs of their shorts down when they walk into a public place. As a woman, I can tell you that the simple act of existing is a continual fight or flight response.

Every decision we make is based on the chance of our own survival. We choose carefully which street to walk down. We share our location with our friends before going on a date. We don't leave the house without pepper spray after dark. We are continually feeling the threat of death all because a few people decided we shouldn't see three inches of thigh. It is terrifying and it needs to end. So, men, let's please stop talking about women as if they are something to be hidden away. Let's please end the idea that women are breaking the rules of society by simply existing. Let's please terminate the fear that we live with each and every day of our lives.

An example:

A man: "Wow, look at that girl's shorts. I can't believe she'd wear something that short. She's just asking for attention!"

Another man: "No kidding, what a sl*t!"

What should happen:

A man: "Wow, look at that girl's shorts. I can't believe she'd wear something that short. She's just asking for attention!"

Another man: "Hey, that's not cool. She can wear whatever she wants. We can't be friends if you're going to talk about women that way."

In short, men, you have a responsibility to end these microaggressions. You have the power, you have the opportunity, do it. For us. Let your friends know that these things aren't OK to say. Women can only do so much. Since men are the ones who continually enforce these aggressions upon us, they are the ones who must alter their behavior. Do the right thing

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering Is How We Got Extremist Abortion Bans

This is a pressing issue that is often swept under the rug.

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Several states have recently passed legislation restricting a mother's access to abortion, and several others are projected to do the same. Alabama has passed the most severe legislation by banning the majority of abortions, including cases of rape and incest, and abortion providers now face up to 99 years in prison for noncompliance. Georgia's governor has signed legislation banning most abortions after six weeks, with mother's facing prosecution for terminating their pregnancies after this date. A few other states, including Missouri and Louisiana, are in the process of approving similar legislation.

Nationwide outrage over this legislation has taken over many social media platforms, prompting political discourse across the aisle. Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator well-known for her outspoken nature, even tweeted her disdain for the legislation:

"I will be attacked by fellow conservatives for saying this but so be it, this Alabama abortion ban is too restrictive. It doesn't save life, it simply forces women into more dangerous methods, other states or countries. You don't encourage life via blanket government mandate!" — Tomi Lahren

I side with the many men and women who are horrified at this decision for many reasons. Apart from Governor Kay Ivey's blurred understanding of what separation of church and state really mean when invoking God as a reason for her approval of the country's most restrictive abortion legislation, there are many reasons states have successfully passed such controversial legislation. One such reason is gerrymandering.

As someone who has grown up in the most gerrymandered state in the country, North Carolina, I have witnessed through much of my life the effects gerrymandering has on legislation. Gerrymandering describes the act of redrawing district lines to establish a political advantage for a party. This is a practice done by both Democrats and Republicans and through two primary methods, packing and cracking.

Packing attempts to condense members of an opposing party into few districts in order for the opposing party to dominate in the remaining districts. On the other end, cracking attempts to break apart an opposing party amongst districts in order to dilute the vote of their members by becoming outnumbered by members of the governing party.

Georgia's district lines are a perfect example of packing. Following the 2010 census, Republicans were able to redraw district lines and packed Democrats into as few districts as possible. This decision has led to extremely uncompetitive elections, with many candidates running unopposed because of the district's voter makeup. The impacts of gerrymandering in Georgia were evident during the last gubernatorial election between Brian Kemp (R) and Stacey Abrams (D).

Kemp won barely the election by around 55,000, at 50.8% of the popular vote, yet Republicans hold over sixty percent of the state's legislative seats. This demonstrates how districts can be determined to favor a political party in terms of representation, though not reflect the constituency of the state. This has allowed Republicans to hold the majority of state seats, which contributed to the approval of the abortion bill.

Voter suppression is a serious issue that is often swept under the rug because it allows those who have been in power to remain in power. While it is unfortunate it took this long for many to understand its implications, it is important that the same energy aimed at fighting this legislation is aimed at remedying the long-standing problem of gerrymandering that allows such unsavory legislation to pass.

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