Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Helpful Action Steps

A friend shared this post on Facebook yesterday. It's by Arden Leigh, a writer and lead singer in a band who lives in Los Angeles:

Hey guys (straight white men in particular), I've been having trouble lately with feeling like I have to redirect your good intentions in feminist allyship into helpful action steps. I'm happy giving you benefit of the doubt that you really do mean well but are maybe unclear on what to do.

So here's an advanced guide for good guys who want to be helpful online when a woman shares a post or article about a feminist issue.

These things are unhelpful:
  • Acting shocked that men do these things
  • Proclaiming that you are a good dude who already knows and applies this
  • Repeating the exact sentiment a woman just expressed but using different words as if somehow your version is pithier
  • Debating the specifics of the post with the woman who posted it (asking for genuine clarification is ok)
These things are neutral:
  • Clicking like
  • Commenting "Thanks for posting, I agree"
These things are ACTUALLY HELPFUL:
  • Sharing/amplifying the woman's post on your feed
  • Sharing the post with your guy friends
  • Tagging several of your guy friends in the comments and saying "hey did you know this was an issue? Let's try to do better"
  • Starting actual in-real-life conversations with your guy friends about the article you read even though there are no women present and you will get no immediate cookies for your wokeness
  • Educating the doofuses in the woman's comments section who are still so trapped in their misogyny that they will only listen to you, A Man™
  • Defending the woman against the trolls who attack her so she knows at least some dudes have her back, even if the troll is a hopeless case
  • Actually examining yourself for places you might fit the description of the article's complaint, despite your self-identification as a good woke dude
  • Encouraging your fellow men to do the same
  • Bringing up the topic to other men in other speeches/groups you lead (best if you credit the woman who brought it to your attention)
I'm just really tired of all the guys on here who clearly want to self-identify as nice woke dudes but who won't do anything beyond proclaiming themselves to be nice woke dudes. I can say I'm the Queen of England all damn day but that doesn't mean I actually am. Please starting walking your talk.
I'm not going to click the "view previous comments" link after Arden's post, but from the comments I can see just after that, there must be all sorts of men on there doing the exact opposite of Arden's advice. The one I can see says, "So now there's rules on how to show support? Smh. Got it."

You get the idea. I recognized many of her actually helpful acts as things I have hoped for from male friends, but even more, I recognized that these rules apply to me as a white person when it comes to racism and white supremacy. Do I follow these suggestions? Not nearly enough.

Arden's list both gives me a path forward, and a chance to examine my own behavior and, by analogy, the behavior of men who don't do these things when it comes to sexism and patriarchy.

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