We’ve all seen the video.
During the weekend, Donald Trump’s lewd and sexist remarks from 2005 spread across the internet like wildfire.
Trump was quick to categorize his comments as locker-room banter and said, “Bill Clinton has said far worse on the golf course.”
Honestly, I don’t doubt it. Millions of men have been saying disgusting, sexist things in locker rooms and on golf courses for generations. Many argue this type of talk is just a side effect of masculinity — boys will be boys, and it is accepted that men make lewd comments about women.
Often this so-called playful locker room banter is not so harmless. In fact, men know this type of speech is actively harmful, and the evidence is in how they act when they get caught. Even Trump, a nasty, waterlogged Cheeto of a person, admitted Saturday his comments were unequivocally wrong.
So the question becomes why, if so many men understand this behavior is wrong, do they participate in it anyway? The answer is deeply rooted in thousands of years of systematic regulation of gender much too complicated and lengthy to summarize in a single article. However, the solution lies in the future.
The United States has reached a cultural moment when it’s incredibly important for men to be allies to the feminist cause. The role of an ally can sometimes be a confusing one — to speak in support of an oppressed group without eclipsing the voices of the oppressed can be a complex dance.
Even the most liberal men struggle to find their rhythm as allies. Locker-room banter is one area in which men can make a huge difference.
I’ll be blunt: men must start standing up for women.
Regardless of whether these sexist conversations happen in the locker room, on the football field, at work or at school, it’s important for men to hold other men accountable for how they speak about women in male-dominated spaces.
Men, hold your friends to high standards. Speak out against misogyny wherever you find it, and don’t just do it as a performance to prove to women how much you love them. Do it because you actually believe women aren’t an afterthought.
We need male voices to reach the ears of sexist pigs because, although feminist activists are doing all we can to create a world of gender equality, there are inherently misogynistic spaces we cannot reach on our own.
Support women who stand up for themselves, even and especially if it’s a woman you don’t know. Men shouldn’t need to be thinking about their mothers and daughters in order to understand that misogyny is wrong.
If I have to read one more opinion editorial that justifies the struggle of women’s rights though the rhetoric of relation, I’ll start ripping my hair out and throwing it by the handful at oncoming traffic.
The bottom line is women are people, not just mothers, wives, sisters or daughters. People. No additional qualifiers necessary. It’s high time all of society — whether we’re talking about male dominated spaces or public areas — agreed it’s unacceptable to be treating people with such blatant disrespect.
Whether or not it occurs in a locker room is irrelevant.
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