Personal Growth

A Decent Man Understands He Must Do More by Lisa

It’s simple to criticize the misdeeds ⁢of others, ‍particularly sexual predators or bullies. We often depict them as monstrous, distant figures,⁢ while portraying ourselves as the enlightened alternative. However, even if⁤ their actions are​ extreme and their ability to evade consequences for so long is shocking, we must acknowledge that this is a result of societal‌ norms. It’s a monstrous accumulation of power and privilege, built on a⁢ foundation of silence, indifference, free passes, casual dismissals, ‍and the “boys ⁣will be boys” mentality. It’s​ heavily influenced by our⁣ collective complicity.

As the entertainment industry reels from the exposure of‌ Harvey‍ Weinstein’s ⁣sexual assaults against women – arguably the⁣ industry’s worst kept secret and certainly its most disgraceful -​ it’s an opportune moment to introspect. Have⁤ you been a ⁣decent ‌man?

A decent man doesn’t ⁣interrupt a female colleague, comment on her looks,​ or⁣ disregard her ideas. He doesn’t demand respect without reciprocating. He never questions her dedication because she’s‍ a mother, or favors a man because men can’t ⁣get pregnant. ⁣He notices when someone in a ⁣meeting​ naturally leans⁣ towards him, even though ‍his female boss⁢ is ⁣sitting ‍right next to him. He redirects ⁣attention, amplifies voices, and knows when to step back.

A decent man​ understands that any laughter resulting from “ironic” sexism is empty.‍ When he hears someone speak in such a⁣ manner, he doesn’t just walk away thinking it was wrong but remains silent because ⁣a) it was just a joke and b) what’s the use – everyone does ⁤it. He immediately calls it out.

When he hears a woman⁣ recount experiences ‌of⁢ attack, intimidation, or assault, he listens. He doesn’t defensively retort that “not all men are like that”, because even though it might be difficult for him​ to comprehend, he ‌believes a woman when she says that there’s no way to predict a man’s ⁣behavior – even one she ​knows.

A decent man⁣ doesn’t send an unsolicited explicit image, or become hostile when someone rejects ​him or takes time to consider his advances. He ​doesn’t retaliate⁢ by telling someone he didn’t find them attractive, he pitied ‌them, or that they should be grateful when he compliments them. He pauses‌ before responding and, in most cases, decides against it. He tries to accept ​a breakup and move on, not persistently attempt to change their ‌mind, because‍ if anyone is going to end it, it should be him. He accepts rejection. He‍ doesn’t believe anyone owes him sex because he paid for dinner, behaved appropriately all night, complimented ⁤them, or because⁢ they’ve had sex before.⁢ He ‍reads the signs; he doesn’t touch until invited ‍and understands that the ‍invitation can be rescinded at any time.

He doesn’t value anyone more or​ less based on their sexual availability to him, or lack thereof. ⁤He doesn’t judge someone for when ‍or how they sleep with anyone. He understands that women ⁣who assert themselves are not divas, bossy, or man-haters, and he⁣ communicates this to other‍ men.

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