opinion

Australian men: this is what we want you to do right now.

Australian men,

We're glad you're here, no matter what brought you.

Perhaps you've seen us filling city streets in the March4Justice.
Perhaps you're confused as to why, in 2021, we're still so outraged.
Perhaps an exhausted friend, or stranger in comment thread, told you to "do your own research".
Perhaps you're pouring over these words, fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to cry 'misandry'.
Perhaps you want to be a better ally, a better partner, a better friend, or better father.

The point is, you came.

Because the resolution to our anger, our hurt and our protest is ultimately in your hands. To make our communities better, safer, more equal places (which we all want, right?), we need you to hear us — really hear us — and then we need you to act. 

Below are just some of the things we ask of you. 

Take a moment to consider them, properly. If you feel defensive, pause for a second and ask yourself, 'Why?' Most are pretty simple requests. All are informed by very real experiences. And none are even remotely about holding putting you down or holding men back.

We've learned from a young age to modify our behaviour. We're simply asking that you do the same.

Watch: If a man lived like a woman for a day...


Video via Mamamia.

We ask that you...

Keep your distance if we're walking alone at night; cross the road, even. Make yourself visible. It helps us to feel safe.

Don't tell us to 'smile', or 'cheer up'. Just like you, we have a range of emotions and don't always feel like grinning. That would be weird.

Call out sexism and sexualisation, even if we aren't around to hear it. Ask the person whether they really think that way about women. If they're better than that, tell them so. If they're not, make it clear.

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Even if it's "just a joke", don't laugh. Ask them to explain why it's funny (hint: it probably isn't). On that note...

Stop making jokes at our expense.

Don't dismiss our stories of discrimination or harassment or assault by saying "not all men" are perpetrators. We know that. We just need you to understand that too many women are victims.

If you're in a position to do so, hire more of us.

Make your boardrooms and your brainstorms gender-equal.

Don't stare at us.

Don't make sexual comments to us as we pass by. 

Don't be offended if we choose not to engage with you on the street/in a queue/in a lift/at the bar/on the bus. It's almost certainly not personal.

Intervene (if it's safe to do so) when you see us being harassed. That doesn't mean starting a fight. And it doesn't mean we owe you anything.

Listen: Men, this Mamamia OutLoud is for you. Post continues after podcast.


Don't presume the outcome of a date, ever. 

Actively seek consent for sex or sexual touching. Ask what we want and how. Check in with us throughout. 

If you come across explicit material that was clearly never meant to be public, don't look at it, don't share it, don't reinforce that behaviour. If possible, report it.

Join us at women's marches and protests. Hear our demands and feel our strength.

Read, watch and consume more content by women. Seek diverse voices.

Model all this behaviour in front of your children and guide them towards it.

Ask people in your life to hold you accountable. And if they call you out for perpetuating stereotypes about women, for being sexist or harassing, listen and reset.

Don't be afraid to admit that you've done any of the above. Resolve to do better. Start now.

Feature image: Getty.