How not to be sexist: a beginner’s guide

It’s not always easy calling out people when they are being sexist. People can get defensive and use the age-old, “but I don’t do that,” excuse. So if we are going to root it out, men need to join the fight as well, which is why we’ve compiled a guide on how to not be sexist. Before you go all #NotAllMen, please take a seat and listen.

1. A catcall is not a compliment – so just don’t do it

For women, a walk down the street can be met with whistles and a “hey baby,” from a number of unknown men. This is harassment and definitely not a compliment. Rather than shouting out lewd comments, leave them alone, or actually go up and speak to them like you would to another person you consider human instead of an object. Also remember, no means no so don’t persist.


2. Don’t tell us to ‘brush it off’ or ‘just accept it’

It’s important to speak out against sexism and patriarchy wherever it lurks. What makes this difficult is that people just accept it as a normal part of society, spewing bullshit like “boys will be boys”. Next time someone you know tells you about an incident that disturbed or harmed them, don’t tell them to “just accept it and move on”.


3. Don’t mansplain

It doesn’t matter if a woman is an expert in her own field, someone will always find a way to explain how to do her job the “right” way. Guys – can you please accept that women are smart and know what they are talking about? Instead of trying to explain things you can actually try and listen. You’d be surprised at just how much we know.


4. Don’t be patronising

Calling women ‘sweetie,’ ‘darling,’ or ‘girl’ while asking them to get coffee for the team, when it’s not her job to do that, is sexist AF. This is one of the most annoying things that you could possible do and is quite insulting. Women are not there to be patronised or condescended to, so just don’t speak to them in that way.


5. Women are not ‘sluts’ – so just STAHP!

When women sleep around they’re called sluts, but when men sleep around, they’re legends. This double standard persists, but it’s something that needs to change. Please understand that women can be confident in their own sexuality and shouldn’t be shamed for it.


6. No touchy!

Sneakily groping a woman’s bum or deliberately brushing up against her just so you can feel her boobs is not only sexist, but disgusting and amounts to assault. Women were not put on this earth for others to freely grab when they please. Our bodies are our own – respect that.


7. Sexist jokes are getting old, so stop it

It may be that you’re just joking around, but making a “women belong in the kitchen” joke is not funny. Joking about it actually perpetuates sexist stereotypes rather than breaking them down. So before you make a sexist joke, think about how offensive it actually is. And perhaps rethink your sense of humour.


8. Women can do the same things that men can – accept that

Whether its being an engineer, a software programmer, a professional gamer, or a lumberjack, women can do the same professions as men. For some (patriarchal) reason, it’s assumed that they can’t, or would do a bad job of it. If you encounter a woman who’s working in one of these male-dominated professions, don’t act surprised or ask if their brother/husband actually does all the work for them.


Featured image via Flickr