While I was at lunch, eating a meal far outside of my recommended daily caloric intake, I had a super conversation with my friends Angie and Tracey (with an “e”) about misogyny – about all of the jerkfaced comments and jokes we’ve had to endure throughout our lives and how even good guys get caught up in the complacency of white, male privilege (or whatever).
Most of the good, even great men I know – would rather not rock the boat and tell a buddy that the joke they just told was sexist or offensive or abusive. And honestly I can understand not wanting to be confrontational, but it frustrates me because these kind of men, feminist men don’t realize they could use their powers for good.
If some asshole says something gross or sexist in front of me and I say something (which, let’s face it, I usually do)…well, I’m just a bitch. They can and do dismiss me. But, if another dude were to step up and say, “You know what you just said is totally sexist and offensive” – they may think twice before repeating their shitty behavior in the future.
The bro-code of silence or polite chuckling creates a false sense of security for men to feel justified and further, backed-up by their homies when it comes to their misogynist, racist or homophobic feelings. In essence, when guys say nothing, they send the message that they’re in a agreement. So, when sexist friend “A” looks at non-sexist friend “B,” he can tell himself that he’s totally not a dick because “B” seems cool with his schtick and he’s “such a good guy.”
It’s my hope that the men in my life would stand up to their friends when they say lame ass shit and not just let disrespectful, sexist, racist or homophobic comments slide for the sake of the bro-code. There are many reasons why I hope for this, but most basic of all is this – we (and by we, I mean the ladies in your life) would do the same for you. We would never let our friends make dip-shitty, disrespectful comments about you, without some kind of course correction or discussion.
I think many of us (ladies) take generalizations very personally and we do this because we are so often generalized. (See what I just did there?) So, the next time your friend talks about “some slut” or whatever, realize this – he just called your wife, mom, sister, girlfriend, daughter – “some slut” to your face.
….and then kick him in the balls and find new friends.