International Women’s Day came and went. Snapchat stories about mothers and sisters and heroines were posted and have long since faded away. So, now what?
Now, we follow through. Now, we listen to one girl give some truly novel advice about respecting women in 2019.
- Respect her boundaries
I know this is pretty wild. You may be wondering: respect boundaries? But what do I do when she sets boundaries and I don’t like it? How will I ever survive without sexual intercourse with one woman who didn’t want to hook up with me? What shall I do if my female friend asks me to stop hitting on her, which is totally a joke but, like, wouldn’t be if she was into it, you know?
Answer: deal with it. Women are autonomous, sentient beings and not flesh bags with vocal chords. When she says no, she means no, and we all know you know that. Listen to her boundary, and either obey or leave. Before I get any angry responses, let me clarify that all beings can and should set boundaries in social settings, men included, but we’re focusing on women cause our boundaries are perpetually pushed.
- Support her career/educational goals
As irresistible as the urge to talk over a woman about a subject she has studied in depth that you know very little about, I propose an alternative: not doing that.
A fun variation on the classic mansplaining is the simultaneously less and more offensive Guy in Class Who Never Read the Textbook But Wants to Tell You You’re Wrong. Instead of being that person and blocking a woman just trying to get her education, ask her stance on the conversational topic or class material.
- Know that she is not your mother
No girlfriend, friend or stranger on the street is your mom. She’s not there to fix you. You should not expect her to deal with the outbursts of someone who chooses not to learn to articulate emotions or communicate effectively.
- Every girl is different
Oh, your best friend doesn’t mind when you put your arm around her? The girl next to you on the bus probably does mind. A lot.
Here’s a wild concept: when in doubt, assume you should not touch her. In friendships and other relationships, ask for consent to put your arm around her or touch her or what have you. If she says no? Don’t do it.
- Educate yourself
Research prevalent issues that affect women today. Research the history of women’s rights, particularly women with marginalized identities. Support women’s causes and lobby the government to address systemic issues that harm women.
Most importantly, use your common sense. Listen to the little voice in your head that knows you’re being insufferable when patronizing a woman, the same one that wants to smack you for calling your waitress, “sweetheart.”
What I am asking here is the absolute minimum. Seriously, I can’t ask for less than you just not being the worst. Progress is progress and if you’re guilty of being the Guy in Class Who Never Read the Textbook But Wants to Tell You You’re Wrong, you should probably start making progress now.