As a result of the #MeToo movement — started by Tarana Burke who founded the movement of the same name ten years ago — some men are finally paying attention to the harassment and discrimination that women have had to endure. If you’re a man and want to know how to help, here are some New Year’s Resolutions for you. Women, please pass this on to the men in your lives! Happy New Year!
Resolution #1: Control Your Eyeballs
I promise it’s possible to take in your surroundings without pausing to study your buddy’s girlfriend’s hemline or your server’s cleavage. Women can feel your creepy stares through your sunglasses — and, fellas? You’ve been making the women around you feel uncomfortable and possibly even threatened.
Resolution #2: Ask Yourself, “Would I do this to a male coworker/stranger/friend?”
Do you really need to reach over the woman in the dairy aisle, or can you wait five seconds for her to put the cheese in her cart? Do you ask the men in your office for the same favors — errands, copies, coffee, etc. — that you ask of the women you work with?
Be honest with yourself. If you would speak to, touch, or otherwise engage a man differently in any given scenario, start making some adjustments.
Resolution #3: Take “No” For An Answer
It literally doesn’t matter what the question is. If a friend, stranger in a bar, neighbor, nanny, customer service representative, assistant, family member, roommate, barista — any woman at all says no to your request, that’s it.
Resolution #4: Banish the Phrase “Boys Will Be Boys” From Your Brain
Boys will be what we teach them they should be, and they will do what our culture shows them they can get away with. All children can and should be taught about consent and agency as soon as they’re old enough to encroach on another person’s space.
Resolution #5: Stop Laughing At Jokes That Target Women — Yes, Even Famous Ones
Rape jokes are not the only problematic “comedy” material. If you’re not sure whether a joke is sexist, switch up the gender roles and/or insert yourself into the punchline. If you’re uncomfortable with the rewrite, find new material.
Resolution #6: Give Up Gendered Insults
Slut and bitch top the list, regardless of the gender of the person you’re hurling them at. Sissy, pansy, or any phrase referencing sexual orientation, etc., teach all kids that feminine traits are weaker and less desirable. Stop it. Be more creative; I know you can do it.
And unless you’re a career waitress at a roadside country diner, don’t call anyone “honey” unless you have permission to use it as a term of endearment.
Resolution #7: Discuss Pop Culture and Current Events With Your Kids
Teaching your kids to be conscious consumers is extremely important. You couldn’t shield them if you tried, so make the effort to talk about why your senator had to resign and what’s so disappointing about J.K. Rowling’s Johnny Depp enthusiasm. Discussing these things in age appropriate terms will help ensure that they become responsible adults who understand important topics like consent.
Resolution #8: Believe Women
Start with the women in your life; expand from there.
It’s true that fixing this millennia-old problem will take more than just you making — and keeping — a few patriarch- smashing resolutions. But this is how change happens: one person at a time.
Katie Klabusich is a freelance writer, speaker, and host of The Katie Speak Show on Netroots Radio. Her work can also be found at Rolling Stone, Truthout, Rewire News, The Toast, Catapult and Bitch Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @Katie_Speak.