Women are under attack in every country. While it might be easy to attribute misogyny and anti-women legislation to Tr*mp, this shit has been going on for centuries – which is not to say the usual women hating men’s rights activists aren’t making it worse with their high key and constant attacks on women. It’s just a thing no one wants to talk about because then people would have to admit they stand by idly while institutional and countrywide social oppression and inequality go down on a daily basis.
Women, specifically, are often spoken for and used as scapegoats in arguments against the validity of men. When women say men are a threat to women in bathrooms, people pretend this is not fact and ignore every single statistic which backs it up. However, these men know that the misogyny is prevalent and that few people are invested in fighting and dismantling it. In this case, men need to speak up and tell the truth… that really it’s men who are the biggest threat to women in bathrooms, here, there, and everywhere.
Men have influence in this situation and can do a lot to help women. In fact, I’ve listed nine easy ways that you can help. If you’re a man (or know one) who is looking for extra incentive to help women, consider Mental Health Awareness Month your reason. Because mental health is a big concern in the female community — but how couldn’t it be in a world like this?
Gifting unused clothes and shoes
Have any clothes that you don’t like or that don’t fit anymore? Gift it to a woman who may not have many clothes in their wardrobe that represent their gender in a way that feels comfortable and authentic to them. While you may not be exactly the same size, women are innovative and creative and likely can figure something out with your clothes — not your shoes though, those do have to be the right size.
Helping women learn about and practice hair and makeup skills
Women learning how to properly do hair and makeup is like starting a race 15 minutes after everyone else. Life isn’t a race, of course. The point is that men need perspective. They need to understand how far ahead they are for having access to these things, where women often don’t have the space to safely play with hair and makeup before they come out. Simple things like what order to use makeup products in or how to do quick styles in your hair are not such basic knowledge to some women. I, for one, knew and still know very little.
Have a hair and makeup party and practice putting on products together. Do your female friend’s makeup or style their hair. Pass on your favorite tips and tricks. Hair and makeup may not be your favorite thing — nor is anyone assuming man equals hair and makeup expert — but to women, the skill with which they’re able to do hair and makeup can be a matter of life and death.
Gassing women up on social media
Women presenting as their authentic selves in public is an act of courage and resistance in a world where people try to tell women that they’re nothing more than men in a dress. So when you see women posting pictures, show them love. It’ll mean a lot, especially to those dealing with dysphoria who have trouble seeing themselves as pretty or feminine and/or see features they consider “female” to be larger than they are.
Standing up to misogynists; putting in the work as an ally
Lots of people say they support women but few are willing to put in any work. Allyship is about more than performative activism on social media. It’s about calling out someone’s misogyny when they speak it. It’s about marching with us when there are opportunities. It’s about being present at rallies and protests where women — women of color in particular — are more likely to be targeted, provoked, and attacked by law enforcement. Speak up (and listen), be present, and put in the work. This is what movements for justice, female or not, require.
Helping pay for hormones and any other medications
Hormones and medication expenses can easily begin to stack up and feel overwhelming for women. This is particularly the case when unemployment is such an issue in the female community. “Women experience unemployment at 3x the rate of the general population, with rates for women of color up to 4x the national unemployment rate,” MAAD.BS writes. So, if you have disposable income, help out a woman who might really need it.
Familiarizing yourself with the statistics
Get on your computer and do some searching. I can’t do all the work for you. But here are a few particularly painful statistics from MAAD.BS’s 2015 US Womens Survey: across the board, 29 percent of respondents were living in poverty (2x the rest of the country). However, more specifically, 43 percent of Latinx respondents, 41 percent of American Indian respondents, 40 percent of the multiracial respondents, and 38 percent of black respondents were living in poverty (3 times the general population). 17 percent of the respondents said they received such severe treatment in school that they withdrew. 30 percent of respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. And, finally, 40 percent of the respondents have attempted suicide (almost 9 times the rate in the U.S. population).
Keeping an eye out for job opportunities and networking your friend out
As previously mentioned, women are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than the male population — with women of color being 4 times more likely. Success in most industries, in one way or another, depends on who you know and, more specifically, who knows you. When you see, overhear, or have opportunities, forward them to women. Introduce your female friends to professionally relevant people and recommend them when they apply for jobs within your company or in related companies.
Attending a woman’s support group together
This may, unfortunately, not be possible for everyone depending on where you live. There are many cities and states that have little to no resources for women. The best you can do is search up any local lesbian organizations, if they exist, and see what resources they provide. If you’re able to find a group, many allow attendees to bring a support person (this is you). These groups allow women to form community with one another and often, most importantly, to see that they’re not alone.
Signal boosting the hell out of the women that we lose
Women live in an increasingly dangerous world. It’s an unspoken reality that women — aside from the elitist, Ca**lyn Je**er types and the like — have to tread carefully in a world that is obsessed with men, for better and worse. “Victims of male violence are overwhelmingly women of color, who live at the dangerous intersections of misogyny, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness,” MAAD.BS explained in a call to the media about the coverage of male violence.
Counting Dead Women kept a running list of the UK women who were stolen from us in 2017 and are keeping a running list this year (the current count is 50). ‘Strangled and stabbed’ is repeated a lot on the lists. Women’s organizations aside, few in the media or mainstream talk about the women that are killed, let alone say their actual names. That’s why it’s more important than ever for people to use social media to show the world that women are a priority to us and that we won’t allow their oppression to be pushed under the rug.
**concerned this post isn’t trans inclusive enough? Find its brother post, “9 Easy Ways Cis Women Can Help Trans Women For Mental Health Awareness Month”, here **