Woman Shares 14 Things Men Can Do Better After #MeToo Campaign Goes Viral

"Thanks for trying to be decent men. We see you."

Earlier this week, the hashtag #MeToo went viral after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted the idea based on the Me Too movement started by activist, youth worker, and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke in the the mid-2000s. The movement aims to support and amplify the voices of survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and exploitation. Women shared the words "Me Too" to affirm that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted to bring awareness to the magnitude of the issue. 

The idea spread all over social media. More than 60,000 people responded directly to Milano's tweet, while others posted directly to their social platforms. This reaffirmed what so many already knew. Sexual harassment and abuse is a rampant problem that affects women of all ages. 



In the aftermath of the viral #MeToo campaign, many men wanted to know what they could do to make a positive impact. Toronto-based director, actor, writer, and TV host Nicole Stamp noted all of the men asking, "How can I help?" and shared a list of suggestions on Facebook for being an ally. Of course, both women and men can experience sexual harassment and assault, so Stamp's advice is worth noting regardless of gender. 

"I wrote this specifically for a small group of my own male friends who were explicitly asking for advice after being stunned by the ubiquity of the #MeToo abuse hashtag," Stamp wrote. She followed with 14 concrete examples of how we can make a positive impact to help prevent sexual harassment and assault. 

"Practice these phrases: 'That's not cool' and 'That's a shitty thing to say.' Say them to other men who are saying disrespectful things to or about women," Stamp suggested. 

Follow feminist writers on social media. "Sometimes what they write may seem 'exhausting' or 'too angry.' Put aside that discomfort because that feeling is your male privilege allowing you to disengage from an important conversation that womxn don't get to disengage from," Stamp wrote. 

She advised that we put in extra effort to boost female voices. For example, "when there's an issue and you're going to share an article about it — especially if it's a gender issue — take a minute and try to find one written by a woman," she wrote. "Same goes for other marginalized groups." 

You can also boost female voices in the workplace. Listen. If you see women are being dismissed or their contributions aren't being recognized, speak up for them and back them up. 

"Be mindful of how you introduce women — particularly at work functions. Role-model extra respect into your introductions," Stamp wrote. "So often you hear men being introduced with job titles and accolades, and women introduced as 'the lovely' or 'the beautiful.' I guarantee that no matter how good she looks, she'd rather be introduced by her job title and accomplishments." 

Don't realize how often this happens? Stamp points to a study which found men introduce male doctors by their professional titles 72 percent of the time on first reference while female doctors were only introduced this way 49 percent of the time. "While a male colleague would be introduced as 'Dr. Joe Smith,' for example, the women were often simply called 'Julia,' 'Anita,' and 'Sharonne,'" a Washington Post article about the study explained.  

When you're talking to or about women at work or just out in the world, refrain from calling them names you'd never call a man. "Don't call women cutesy names like 'honey, baby, darling, kiddo, young lady, girl, or dear.' This is a subtle way of putting them down, elevating your own status over them as a man who is choosing to vote them as attractive, and reminding them and all present that they're just cute little ladies that nobody should listen to," Stamp explained. "Make a special effort to speak to women using the kind of person-to-person respectful address you use when speaking with male colleagues. Hint: Use their name." 

If you do make a mistake and call a female colleague by one of these names that put them down, own up to it and apologize. 

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When you're engaging or thinking about engaging in sexual activity, remember that consent is about communication

"At every step, listen with your ears (or ask with your words) for the word 'yes,' and then you can escalate the encounter together," Stamp suggested. "Seek explicit, enthusiastic, and active consent before you proceed. Proceed together. And constantly observe the other person's body language for the hesitations that mean 'no.' If this means you have to cut down on alcohol or substances to stay present and have self-control, please do that." 

Kzenon / Shutterstock


In a perfect world, we wouldn't insult anyone ever. But, if you must, "don't use gendered or misogynist insults," Stamp wrote. "Use insults that work on everyone rather than insults that specifically target the feminine as weak, lesser, and undesirable. 'Asshole' is a nice multipurpose choice. We all have one." 

We can also all serve to do a lot better when we're interacting with children and teenagers. Be a role model to them and teach them that femininity does not equal "less-than." This is particularly important to teach boys. 

"Challenge them on their dismissive ideas around what counts as 'girl stuff.' Buy them a doll. Paint your nails together. Show up wearing pink. Do something that's coded as traditionally 'feminine' in a way that embraces the feminine as a valid way of being, not in a way that mocks femininity," Stamp wrote. "Buy them books and watch TV and movies that prominently feature female characters. Verbally challenge their stereotypes about what men do and how women are lesser. Seeing women as people starts in infancy." 

Take note of how you interact with girls and teens and do better. So many of us are quick to tell young girls that they're cute or pretty. We'll ask them about their clothes, hair, and nails. Fight the urge to do this. Instead, ask them about their opinions and interests. Remind them that their thoughts are so much more important than the way they look. 

Women can sometimes feel scared or nervous when they are walking alone and there is a man or group of men walking behind them, especially in dark or secluded areas. Sometimes, this fear stems from having been followed, sexually harassed, or assaulted before — or knowing another woman who has. So, if you find yourself behind a woman walking alone, do what you can to put her at ease. 

Teach others they can do better, especially older family members. Grandparents and other family members who make sexist, racist, xenophobic, or inappropriate comments at home may seem relatively harmless, but they interact with others outside the family. If they aren't currently cared for by women or people of color, they may be in the future. Their age is not an excuse. No one deserves dehumanizing treatment or to be disrespected because of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or religion. "Call it out," Stamp wrote. 

Recognize your privilege. "Don't argue so much in conversations around types of oppression that you don't personally experience," Stamp wrote. Once again, a little bit of research goes a long way. "Try this — if you don't believe something is an issue, use the Googles. Find, say, three articles *written by people in that demographic*, and read them," Stamp suggested. "Look for patterns in their analyses. You'll find that these ideas aren't weird militant fringe notions. 

Finally, don't shut other people out when you're in the midst of a conversation about privilege. "If you feel uncomfortable during conversations about sexism (or racism, or ableism, or cultural appropriation, or whatever because all these systems are related, Google 'kyriarchy' to learn more), the only correct response is to be quiet and listen and try to focus on the topic at hand rather than center your own feelings," Stamp wrote. "It's hard. It's worthwhile." 

Stamp's post has since been shared nearly 55,000 times since it was first posted yesterday and has over 51,000 likes. Her suggestions are just the start. There are, of course, other ways you can be an ally and help to prevent sexual harassment and abuse. If you need more suggestions for how you can do better, talk to the women in your life and really listen to how you can help. 

"Thanks for trying to be decent men," Stamp ended her post. "We see you."

Cover image via Unsplash

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