Talking to your male friends about gender inequality
Talking to guys about the issues women and girls face can seem like a difficult thing to do. How do you talk to boys about women’s issues? How do you get them to be part of the solution when it comes to living in a gender-equal society? Well Choma, it can be as simple as challenging their ideas of women and how they treat women. Here are a few ways to help start the conversation about gender equality with the males in your life.
Question them when they generalise
When talking to a guy you might hear a lot of “you women like to…” or “why are all women like this?” etc. When your male friend does that, challenge him and question how they would know how all women feel or how all women behave. You can even give them examples of why they are wrong. For example, if they say girls are not good at sport, tell them about Venus and Serena Williams, or Portia Modise, one of South Africa’s best performing soccer players (who’s featured in Choma’s Top 5 LGBT Queens of the Month). The more examples you give of women defying what they say women should or shouldn't do, the more they will start to realise how weak stereotypes and generalisations are.
Challenge them when they body shame/slut shame women
Body-shaming is when a person makes fun of another person for their weight or size. Slut-shaming is when someone (particularly a woman) is teased, humiliated or harassed for behaving or dressing a way that is seen as overly-sexual. Women are usually the victims of body-shaming and slut-shaming and a lot of guys often make comments about how other women dress or behave in public. When your guy friend does this, challenge his views by reminding him that guys do the same but are not treated badly. You could simply ask him, “Would you say that if she was a guy?” to remind him how unequal and unfair his statements are.
Talk to them about consent
Consent is such an important topic Choma and a lot of guys don’t seem to understand what consent really is and the consequences of not asking for it. Consent is when someone agrees to a decision by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that informed decision or choice. When it comes to sex, without consent from BOTH people, any sexual act committed is a sexual assault or rape.
Educate your male friends on consent so that they treat all women with respect. Here are a few articles you can take them through to help them understand what consent is:
Just starting the conversation on gender inequality with the men in your life could make a huge difference in the fight for equality. Men are an important part of creating an equal society so they can’t be left out of the conversation.
Do you already talk about equality and consent with the guys in your life? Leave your comment below.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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