#YesAllMen: How men should conduct themselves in times of #MeToo
Feminism has shifted to a somewhat ambiguous area in #MeToo and social media justice age. #MeToo hinges on - calling out and identifying sexual harassers, and social and economic ostracization of the alleged harassers. Several men, including actor Henry Cavill, expressed discomfort in a post #MeToo world, saying he was hesitant to approach women. However, dear men, here's how we should behave in these times.
Men have rightly surmised that they are hesitant before approaching women post #MeToo. The hesitancy is now induced because men have to think of women's consent before approaching them. This is a huge victory for #MeToo and a step in the perfect direction for feminism.
The first thing men need to really understand is how consent works. Notably, consent can be verbal or communicative through body language. The first is simple, 'no' means no. Though body language is trickier, women give clear signals if uninterested in sexual advances. Please remember, when obtaining consent, persistence is tantamount to harassment. Consent, if it is obtained under such circumstances, becomes manufactured consent.
Secondly, when survivors speak of their experiences, we should listen empathetically and believe their narrative at first. Of course, we must question the truth behind it, but without casting doubt on the woman's character. Furthermore, men questioning women for drinking, wearing revealing clothes, must realize the privilege men come from. If men do the exact same things, they rarely run risks of sexual assault.
Now that feminism is a household word, plenty of woke people have apparently grasped the concept. However, they rarely practice what they preach. Despite awareness of gender disparity and power structures, if our friends crack misogynist jokes or we witness females mistreated in our families, we brush it off. Unless we call out misogyny in personal circles, we cannot achieve gender equality.
Most importantly, it is imperative to apply one's ideology in all personal situations. Often, the most genuine feminists jump to defend accused predators simply because they are friends. Without discounting personal bias, dear men, remember about empathy? We owe it to the survivor to hear their story. And, if we know it to be true, we must immediately stop defending the 'friend'.
Lastly, please stop believing in the filth spewed by so-called 'meninists' and 'men's rights activists'. Firstly feminism is about gender equality. It is not misandry. Why call it 'feminism' then, you ask? It is because the movement tries to get equality for women, who have historically been treated as inferior to men. Equality always feels like oppression to oppressors. Dear men, check your privilege.
Though many men tow the #NotAllMen hashtag, most have subtly or overtly exploited patriarchal privileges. Nonetheless, if we practice self-criticality and introspection, we can incorporate the aforementioned behavior patterns. Only then can humanity strive together to make the world better and safer for women.