No one is perfect. And yes, men shouldn’t have to watch everything they say about women or to women. And yes, not ALL men are disrespectful or harassing or have ill intent. But those that are all those things have made it a priority for the good men to do even better.
1. Speak out against injustice. As a man, you are privileged. If you see a woman being harassed, used, treated less than equally, use your privilege as a man who gets respect to help. Do not simply stay quiet because you don’t want to get involved or it is not your place, because it is your place.
As a man respecting women, it is your duty to stand up for what is right. You have the ability to take action without consequence. Take the responsibility to push others to respect women too.
2. Accept no as an answer. Whether asking a woman on a date, a woman in the office to help with something, or a friend of yours to do you a favour, accept her response.
If you asked a male coworker for help and he said he was too busy, you would simply move on, but if a woman said the same thing, don’t think she is a bitch or unhelpful or on her period. Just accept her response and move on. If you ask a woman out, and she said no she is not interested. Do not complain about being friend zoned.
Her friendship is not a consolation prize. Her rejection does not make you less of a man. Your reaction is what defines you, not your ownership or control over women. Respect what a woman says to you at face value, just as you would a man.
3. Would you behave this way in front of your mother? This is a good measure of whether or not you are being respectful. If uncertain, ask yourself this question. Would you feel comfortable saying what you say or do in front of your mother? If the answer is no, stop doing it, because it is disrespectful.
If you can’t treat women how you want to be treated or how you expect to be treated, then treat women how your mom would expect you to.
4. Do NOT expect a woman to be a certain way. Whether this is a woman you know or just met, do not expect her to be polite or friendly or docile. Yes, some women like a gentlemen who opens doors and offers their coat when it is cold. Other don’t. And that is totally fine too.
Neither of these behaviours make a woman any more or less of a woman. So accept her the way she is. Do not expect her to be shallow because she wears makeup. You do not want to be judged on your appearance or how other men behave, so give her that same consideration.
5. Do NOT say “you’re not like other girls.” Because if you do, she will immediately think, what is wrong with other girls? You may think this is a compliment, and it may be for a man, but women respect other women for the most part. In order to know how to respect women, you cannot pick and choose, you respect them all.
By showing the woman you are with that you view all women equally and respect them all, she sees authenticity in your respect.
6. Listen. Yes, this sounds simple, but it is a known fact that men constantly interrupt women in all parts of life. At work, at home, everywhere. So, next time a woman shares her opinion or tells a story, listen. Listen and respond to what she actually said, not what you think she said.
7. Do NOT mansplain. This may be one of the most well known and patronising ways to disrespect a woman, and many men sadly do not even realise they do it. If a woman shares something with you do not act like you know more than her.
No matter what the topic is, twisting what she says to seem like you’re helping or fixing something is not only disrespectful, but insulting and frankly quite arrogant. You are not smarter than a woman because you are a man, have a degree, or are older. Take her thoughts at the same level you would if talking to a man.
Would you talk down to a male coworker? Would you try to seem as if you knew more than him? Or would you respect what he was saying? Treat her like that.