If you're a male reading this thinking that it's actually for you, you've been misled. It's technically for women, in the sense that we, as men, tend to make the lives of women very uncomfortable, which means that we've got some things to talk about. We've heard the complaints about the different lives that we live as men and women, but it's rare to see us as men actually take action when it comes to the things that we know are different. With that said, we need to do better.
First off, I would like to say that the language used in this article will be very general. When I (or anyone else) use the word "men" in stories, rants or whatever, you should know that we don't actually mean all men. It would just be tedious to always have to clarify that, not to mention that it should already be implied. We're also not going to fix these problems (which do exist no matter how much we think they don't) if we fixate on our preferences on how others speak about things.
Now, to actually start off, we'll need to familiarize ourselves with a term "misogyny." It's described as "a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women."
To put it simply, it's typically referred to as the simple hate of women. Now, I understand that hate is a strong word, but considering the thoughts, practices, and stereotypes that concern women, how is a person supposed to not see that as hate?
This misogyny shows itself in various ways, from the way we talk about women, to the way we treat them. It's practically ingrained into our culture, where we allowed it to sit and evolve in many ways to the point that it's essentially crystallized. From there, it became an embedded part of our society that doesn't seem to be recognized as a problem by a majority of people. This failure to recognize it leads to a notable amount of men having certain feelings concerning women (entitlement for example) which resulted in them making the lives of many women harder. Naturally and understandably, as human beings capable of adaptation, a large portion of women have taken to having an apprehension of men.
Sadly, misogyny doesn't just equate to a woman feeling creeped out by a guy when given "compliments" on the streets. It can result in a lack of respect, physical and sexual harm, and death. Of course, when these things happen, us guys like to shrug and say that we have nothing to do with the issue. We don't directly contribute to misogyny, so we just have to keep doing what we do, and then just maybe the world will become a better place. The problem with that line of thinking is that it's very disconnected from the issue, which is a privilege.
As a black male, I'm in a pretty neat area where I lack the privileges as the "common man," but I most certainly have male privilege. Being a black male, I get a feel for how other oppressed groups (in this case specifically, women) feel when trying to deal with these issues, while having more privileged individuals pushing back because they can't see a problem or feel they don't directly contribute.
In this context, it applies to where men don't feel the need to change their behavior because they don't see anything problematic in it. That line of thinking is flawed because of our disconnection from the issue at hand. The way we and others normally treat women is flawed, and ignoring it because we don't see it's effects is the problem. Misogyny exists because our culture enables it to exist.
So, to the men, this is a call to action. We can't continue to devalue the opinions, feelings and lives of women. We can no longer simply allow women to be treated in ways that a person wouldn't treat a man. As an example: men don't experience random sexual advances as often as women. If you consistently received them, along with the numerous rape cases where the rapist is given a slap on the wrist, you'd have every right to feel afraid. Another example: Most men aren't talked over. That usually happens by men to women. Most men aren't constantly ridiculed for every little thing that they could possibly do, from the way they dress, talk, what they enjoy, if they're smiling or not, the list could really go on.
If you see something like the above mentioned, then speak up on it. Don't stay silent. Your silence is deafening. Correct your brothers if a bit of misogyny goes through their mouths. While our sisters will appreciate it, however don't expect anything for it. You don't get points for doing something that you should've already been doing as a decent human being.
There is more to be said on this topic, but not by me. I'm sure there are many women out there that would love for you to listen to what they have to say (for once).
To the women: If there's any more that I could've said, please let me know. The feminist movement as a whole can only be advanced by women, but we men can still intercede when it comes to other men, so tell us what we need to know for that to happen effectively. I hope this starts many more conversations, where the right people are doing the majority of the talking.