7 Ways Men Can Get In On Celebrating Women's History Month
Hi guys. Yes, you guys. Can we talk for a second?
It's Women's History Month. So, before you run to your computers and post something like, "Why is there a Women's History Month and not a Men's History Month?" let's just sit down and have a little chat.
First off, I thought white men would have gotten this out of their system, since we just ended Black History Month. I'm sorry you don't get your own month or day or pride parade, men.
Yes, some might argue that every day, the majority of us focus on men. Just look at a history textbook. Don't worry, every month is Men's History Month.
But you might be saying, "I'm not that guy. I get it. I'm a good guy. I watched that John Oliver segment on the pay gap. I get it."
That's great. The truth is, we need more men who are aware.
This isn't your month, but we want you to get involved. We want you to participate and learn. We want you to be the best allies you can be.
But sometimes, it's hard to know when you're being a good ally, and when you're hogging the spotlight. Here are seven ways men can participate in Women's History Month:
1. It's OK to make jokes.
As women, we are going to make jokes about Women's History Month. We do it, however, knowing that Women's History Month is important. You can make jokes too.
In honor of Women's History Month, I will continue to complain about issues most women face. — Naomi Karavani (@youdontevenaomi) March 1, 2016
There is a catch, though. Your jokes can't be at the expense of women. You have to be careful. Don't be crass.
Here's a good trick: Think about your punch line. Does it make fun of society? Issues? Preconceptions? Stereotypes? You're probably in the clear.
Does it make fun of women? If so, you're probably being misogynistic. Women are often stereotyped as not being funny. But if we aren't laughing, it's not because we don't have a sense of humor; it's because something you said was not funny (and probably offensive).
2. Be careful not to grab the mic.
People -- both men and women -- do this all the time. They make a larger cause or issue all about them. It's natural, and it's not your fault. But it can be super harmful.
It is something every ally should think about while promoting almost any cause. Let's say you're about to make a post on Facebook about Women's History Month. Maybe your first words shouldn't be "I" or "I think."
Women's voices have often been taken away throughout history. They have not been allowed to tell their stories. Make sure you aren't speaking for women.
3. Try not to leave out women of color.
You might be thinking about how you can craft a post that highlights women, and not just your own voice. "Let me share a quote from a famous woman in history. That's a great way to celebrate."
You aren't wrong. That is an awesome idea.
If you want double feminist points, however, let's talk about whose post you're sharing.
Your first thoughts might be Eleanor Roosevelt, Hilary Clinton or Amelia Earhart. None are bad choices. But often, women of color are ignored in mainstream feminist conversations.
4. Don't fall into using the "somebody's daughter" line.
Women hear this from men who are trying to be supportive all the time. You will hear it especially when it comes to issues of sexual violence and cat calling: "She's someone's sister" or "What if she was your daughter?"
We get why you want to do that. You want to humanize a woman in a world that tries to turn her into an object.
Here's the problem: Defining her by her relationships with men might not be the way to go. She is someone's daughter, but she is also her own person.
If you can only see women as people by defining them by the men in their lives, you might as well try to ask her father for her hand in marriage by paying him with goats.
5. Learn from other aware men.
You aren't alone. There are other great guys out there. Behind every feminist man is many women sending him a bunch of articles, telling him their stories and generally working hard for him to understand them.
We can educate you, but it can be exhausting. It can take years to reach true awareness. Learn from both men, women and those who identify all over the gender spectrum.
6. Think about gender constantly.
Women are made to think about their gender often. Men most likely don't because it is easier to be comfortable in your skin if you're a man.
But there is a population that has to think about gender every day. Women's History Month is great, but it can be a hard month for those who do not identify as male or female, and those who are non-cis more generally.
Maybe you were born female, but that isn't what you identify as. Maybe you are a female, but transphobia stares you in the face constantly.
7. You know women, so ask them.
Unless you are a Catholic school orphan or born on a base in the South Pole, chances are, you know at least a few women. Talk to them. Ask them what they want.
It can be that easy.