"How can I help?" Challenging sexism

What can men do to challenge sexism when they see it? (paraphrased from Soraya Chemaly’s article in the Huffington Post “10 words every girls should learn). Well, here are some handy catch-phrases, 10 words for men to use:

- Stop interrupting her

- She just said that

- She got that

Women get interrupted far more than men; Women’s words are often ignored until a man speaks them and is then glorified for his brilliance; Women are often bored and/or insulted by men who, driven by overconfidence and cluelessness, will over-explain, will over-talk about their not so brilliant and probably not so original thoughts (75% more talking time than women actually).


Soraya makes a woman say above catch-phrases in the first person, but educating men about polite behaviour is not just women’s work. It is unfortunately still much more efficient for a guy to hear it from a mate than from a bird.


I say polite behaviour, rather than sexist, as inspired by Caitlin Moran in her book “How to be a Woman”. She remarks how sexist behaviour (Punch cartoon by Duncan) is actually just plain impolite and impoliteness can be more easily addressed than sexism.

So if you see your mates be rude to a woman, call them on it. Don’t let it pass:

- why did you say that?

- how do you think this makes her feel?

are two more handy catch-phrases to add to your kit.


To round off this post, one more cartoon from Punch by Duncan.

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