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How men on St. Edward’s campus can be better feminists

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I know we’ve really been milking this Harvey Weinstein case, but it’s such a great springboard into viewpoint pieces. Consider: many people have taken this as an opportunity to examine male privilege and male feminism at large in relation to the framing of the allegations. So what does this mean for the men at St. Edward’s? What can we do to be better feminists and women’s allies so that we can break the cycle and fight against gender inequality and violence? Well, I’ve compiled for you five easy steps towards becoming a better male feminist for women both on and off campus.

  1. Surround yourself with more women- it’s a small step, but exposing yourself to anyone from a marginalized group is going to give you a better understanding about what their issues are, the challenges they face, the distinctions between you and them as well as the similarities. For us to understand and sympathize with their issues in the way an ally must, it is essential for us to see their humanity and individuality, which comes naturally from your association with them. Besides, we could always have more female friends.

  1. Educate yourself on gender equality issues. This one can be frustrating, especially if hearing about injustice makes you mad, but for us to better support the women in our lives we have to know the issues that they deal with. Take some time browsing google scholar on the topic, listen to Ted talks, talk to the women you’re now spending time with- stories and statistics are out there, and knowledge is key after all.

  1. Practice Active Listening; a tricky one for a lot of reasons, active listening is not one of my strong suits, but it’s something we should all strive to learn and apply. Active listening not only improves your communication skills, it also allows for you to build more meaningful and fulfilling relationships with the women around you. This means not planning your response to what someone is saying while they talk, but taking the time to process and consider what has been said before responding. Again, this can be a difficult skill to build, but there’s so much to be gained from it, especially in really hearing women when they talk about the issues they have to deal with.

  1. Learn Intersections in feminism. Again, this one is surprisingly complicated, and even many veteran feminists and feminist icons fail in this area. Women are more than just, well, women. Each one of them have a plethora of other identities that they prescribe to that effects their experiences in the world, and it’s important that we understand where they overlap so that we can better serve as feminists and allies. Women of color, queer women, genderqueer women, mentally ill women and disabled women all have different things that must be addressed, and the only way we can actually do that is to educate ourselves.

  1. Be receptive to criticism. Our best will not always be enough, and even when we try we may have some ways to go. This is okay. Becoming a good feminist is a process, and we can’t be perfect right off the bat. So when people criticise you, listen and do your best to improve, and we can all be great male feminists.

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How men on St. Edward’s campus can be better feminists