Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.
Twitter user “feminist next door” posed an inquiry to her followers, asking “good guys” to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. “What did you say,” she asked. “What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?” She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.
Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.
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The answers are fantastic and specific. In fact, the whole thread read like a Men’s Guide to Stopping Misogyny.
See exhibits A through E:
At a football game & the guy behind me shouts “YOU’RE PLAYING LIKE A BUNCH OF GIRLS, C’MON BITCHES!” Dude was there with his wife. I turned around and asked him if he loved his wife. He was confused but said yes. So then I asked why he thinks women = insult. He stopped talking.
— Daddy Files (@DaddyFiles) March 3, 2019
My response is similar to others…
A bartender said, “Check out her ass.”
I don’t look, and say, “You can’t say stuff like that.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “You work here. She’s a customer. If someone complains, and they should… you’ll get fired, and you should.”
Him: “Oh. OK.”
— Django S. Zeia (@patternscar) March 3, 2019
Someone i respected joked about pretending to be trans so they could get a job because of hiring quotas, and i explained why that wasn’t appropriate, nor funny. He apologized, didn’t realize how much trans women actually deal with, and felt guilty for the rest of the night.
— Benge-ing on love. (@AndrewDBenge) March 3, 2019
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She contacted me the next day and thanked me for not letting her go with them. It turned out to be her abusive ex boyfriend and his friend. She had a restraining order against him and she called the police that same day and told them what happened. Now he’s in a cell somewhere.
— Student of Life (@studentoflife08) March 3, 2019
My father today informed me that he isnt comfortable that I let my two year old run around the house without a shirt on. (Shes two, no clothes stay on very long with this kid) I told him I am uncomfortable with him sexualizing a 2 year old.
— TV’s Josh Fisher 🎲🎮🃏 (@RadioFreeFisher) March 3, 2019
Some guys shared how silence can be a powerful teacher, while others gave a how-to in direct confrontation.
You don’t always have to call someone out with words in order to disrupt a toxic norm. For example, letting awkward silence sit there after a sexist joke can be amazingly effective.
It can be as small and simple as just not laughing at a misogynistic joke you hear and creating that awkward silence
— Garett Guenot (@gnarzz) March 3, 2019
I’ve found simply not laughing at stupid sexist jokes can be powerful. There is always a moment after a “joke” where they look for approval and validation from your laughter or at least an approving smile. Don’t give it to them. Let them feel awkward and stupid.
— Benjamin T. Jones (@DrBenjaminJones) March 3, 2019
And sometimes just pretending to be someone else can save a woman from an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation.
I was a “fixture” at a bar for a couple years and I was the “bar boyfriend”. The bartenders would tell me who was in a predatory situation and I would go act like I was the bf. There were code words listed in the ladies room. I think I helped maybe 30 or 40.
— Loren (@JamesLoren75) March 3, 2019
Then again, directly calling people on their behavior is sometimes the most effective tack to take. These stories show how directly confronting the behavior can jar people into recognizing that it’s problematic:
About a decade ago, guy in my office made a rape joke. I yelled at him in front of the whole team, like 8 people.
I only found out the affect, when he contacted me in ’17 to tell me it had stopped him making those jokes again and he now yells at other men doing it.
— Matt Macdonald (@MattMacPoet) March 3, 2019
Some rando grabbed my behind at a bar; I laid into him. A guy overheard me, stepped in and asked if he touched me, the guy made a joke that it was in good fun and the other guy goes, “That’s assault, buddy. YOU. DON’T. TOUCH. WOMEN. LIKE. THAT. EVER.”
I was absolutely amazed.
— Ali K (@ali_kat09) March 3, 2019
I’ve actually used the phrase #notcoolman to a friend who was catcalling a lady walking by our balcony. He was offended and pissed at me, until I made him understand how it feels, by asking him how he would feel if I did the same thing to him. A gay pov helped him get it.
— Henry (@denvergooner77) March 3, 2019
It can be helpful to see what specific words men use in these situations. Case in point:
Tough to answer in the abstract, but for the mysogyny > “Seriously – it is 2019 – how can you really think that?” Predatory > (if guy who I knew well) “That is not how you treat a person” (if less well) > “Did I understand what you just said?” or “That seems way over the line”
— Walter Medlin MD – OACAction (@bonuslife) March 3, 2019
A few guys I play tennis with were criticizing Serena Williams’ outfit at the Aussie Open, saying that she shouldn’t be wearing something so unflattering. I said rather focus on what she was wearing, we should acknowledge that she is the greatest female tennis player of all time.
— Pete Olson (@Couch2MJ) March 3, 2019
Just to add, I think the “we” is important. A guy who feels ostracized isn’t going to go for self-reflection. “We” makes him feel included, and when people feel included, they want to act like the rest of the group. Hope this helps someone!
— Kid Awesome1 (@Kid_Awesome1) March 3, 2019
Some shared how they’re helping bring up the next generation to do better.
Parents and teachers play a huge role in young people’s lives and can help mold their views and behaviors. Kudos to these folks for helping ensure a safer, less creepy culture for women in the future.
I call out my high school students all the time. They respect me for some reason 🤷🏽♂️. I explain what it looks like to basically every one else and ask them if that was their intent. They get really uncomfortable, and I usually never hear it again, or they start catching themselves
— 🤴🏽AJ Sisneros (@reepicheep37) March 3, 2019
I teach. Whenever I see students dismissive of female students, demeaning, or the like, I stop them and use it as a teaching moment on how they should treat women with respect. I explain how their language objectifies, demeans, or dismisses their female counterparts.
— So That Others May Learn (@SusChecked) March 3, 2019
My nephew called the girl who didn’t want to date him a bitch once and he said that my eyes got so wide that he could see white around the entire iris. You better believe he got an uncle lecture about appropriate ways to express sadness over romantic disappointments.
— Gay Out of Context 🏳️🌈🙄 (@SJGrunewald) March 3, 2019
I have twin 14yo boys. It’s everyday, bro. It’s a constant battle to deflect and explain all the toxic BS that gets poured in their young minds every day in middle school. I’m super proud of the young men they’re becoming.
— Michael Murray (@Michaelrm62968) March 3, 2019
Our 19 yr old son quit his job in January. Saw patrons saying obscene things about his female coworkers. Reported it, was told to ‘loosen up’, ‘they should consider it a compliment’. Rory said he knows 6 rape victims incl his own mum; they shrugged. He quit. So proud of him.
— Georgie Burg (@Georgie_Burg_45) March 3, 2019
Thankfully, sexist norms aren’t destined to stay sexist norms, as these women pointed out.
And people do learn. I remember walking past a construction site in NYC, guy opens his mouth, pauses for a second, and says “you look very nice today.” I thanked him.
— Dee Severe (@SevereSociety) March 3, 2019
I was once out in NYC in a fab mood. Guy catches my eye, I beam, he catches my mood, beams back. Says, “Hey happy girl, why you so happy?” I said, “Everything’s great!” He grins, we high-five, off I go.
If men take a sec to read the room, they get lovely interactions with women!
— Zoe Samuel (@zoe_samuel) March 4, 2019
Presumably we all know awesome men who don’t allow misogynistic or predatory behavior go unchecked in their presence, but it’s so refreshing to see these stories all gathered in one place. Yay, good guys. Thanks for sharing and for giving us all a dose of hope.
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