Do you guys remember the White House’s public service announcement on sexual assault? It involved several male celebrities asking other men not to sexually assault women because studies showed that men were much more likely to listen to other men than they were to women.
Remember this tweet from back in May?
"I have a boyfriend" is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you. #yesallwomen— Rylah (@JBRylah) May 25, 2014
There’s something truly bizarre and awful about the idea that there is a grain of truth to this idea. And yet we know that — for some men — there is something to this line of thought, isn’t there?
Now, I command very little respect, and on most matters, people should never listen to me. But in the off chance that you are a man and you lack common sense or a moral compass, and you need another man to guide you through the dos and dont’s of how to engage with women, I thought I’d offer five very simple rules every man should follow.
All of these things seem very obvious but judging from real-life events in the last several weeks, some men have a very difficult time grasping the obvious. I should also add that these are not at all inclusive — just a broad overview of what NOT to do when you’re in the company of a woman.
Do Not Hit Women — Are you in an action movie? Are you being clobbered to death by a villainess? Is she played by Gina Carano? If you answered “Yes” to these questions (good for you!), then it may be OK to hit a woman. If you answered no, then please do not hit, kick, punch, bite, slap, or otherwise commit an act of violence against any woman. Ever. Even if you’re drunk. Even if you think she deserves it. Hitting a woman does not make you more of a man. It makes you a small, cowardly shriveled scrotum of a human being.
Do Not Have Sex with a Woman without Her Consent — You’re a smart guy, figure out what consent means. Here’s a few clues: If she’s passed out, unconscious, or inebriated beyond the capacity to give consent, then you do not have permission, even if she’s wearing a really sexy blouse. If she says no, that also means you cannot have sex with her, even if you think her skirt is saying yes. It is not. Skirts do not speak. Mouths do. If she resists, stop immediately, bro. If there is any uncertainty in your mind about whether it is OK to have sex with her, just ask. If she says no, step off. If she says yes, but then changes her mind, step the f*ck back. This isn’t a Final Jeopardy Answer. She’s allowed to change her mind.
Guess who is going to think more of you if you rape a woman? NO ONE. Other men will not look up to you. Other men will not be impressed with you. Other men will not give you a high five. They will be repulsed by your actions. They will think less of you. You will lose their respect. They will think you should be in prison because you should be in prison.
Do Not Slip a Woman an Intoxicant without Her Consent — Roofies. Ecstasy. Spiked drinks. None of these things are acceptable without consent, and it’s unlikely that any woman will provide it. If they want some fucking Ecstasy, put it in their hand and let them swallow it themselves. Do not attempt to intoxicate a woman in order to have sex with her (or for any reason). That’s criminal and repulsive and morally repugnant. No one will be impressed if you managed to sleep with a woman on the first date if you did it through dishonest means. See also: DO NOT RAPE.
Do Not Catcall — Despite what Doree Lewak thinks, err on the side of NEVER CATCALLING except at a cat. It IS OK to find a woman attractive. It is OK to think about your attraction. It is even OK to speak to an attractive woman. It is not, however, OK to yell sexually suggestive things at her on the street. She is a person. She’s not your goddamn television.
Do Not Make Sexism All About You — Courtney covered this in depth a few months ago, but in case you didn’t read it because she’s a woman and you only listen to other men, let me reiterate: You do not need to interject yourself into a woman’s experience. If she’s experienced something, you do not need to point out that you are not personally responsible for it. No one gives a shit. This is not about you. This is about her and her experiences.
Let me put it another way: Imagine that every time you came down with flu, instead of listening to your concerns and/or taking care of you, your mother, or your wife, or your girlfriend, or your sister, or your co-worker said to you, “Oh, I feel sick, too” or “I also think I’m coming down with something,” or “I was so sick last week.” Is that something you want to hear? Of course not. You want them to shut-up and listen to your grievances and maybe bring you a bowl of soup.
When a woman complains about misogyny or sexism or inequality, it’s because it is something they are experiencing and they want to have their concerns validated. Do you understand what that means, Timmy? What they do not want is to have you compare their situation to a completely unrelated situation in your own life. Or for you to say, “Well, I’m not like that, at all. Not all men are assholes!” No one disputes that (except maybe this woman), but it is also beside the point. The point is, some men are assholes. Those are the people she is talking about.
Got it? Good. If so, please tell all your other male friends.