Nicole Stamp has a few ways men can do better
While many were shocked by the sheer number of women sharing #MeToo on social media, Nicole Stamp had another reaction.
"My initial reaction was 'Oh this again,'" said Stamp.
"Every single woman, [every] trans woman that I know has been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed, and I don't think that should be a surprise to anybody anymore. Every now and then we're expected to tell our stories of pain and I sometimes don't know why. I don't understand why we have to do that, like, who are we trying to prove this to?"
Stamp started to write #MeToo, but it didn't feel like the right conversation for her. That led her to think about the actions — specifically the inaction — of the people who had been present when she'd been assaulted and harassed.
"What about those five people who watched it happen, what could they have done? Because it was never alone, none of these happened in a dark cave somewhere — these happened like at work in the office," said Stamp.
What Stamp ended up with was a list of 14 things that people of all genders (but especially men) can do to help women.
Some of the things on the list include:
- Boost what women say at work. Listen for men dismissing women's contributions and make a habit of listening and saying things like "Hey Zahra has a point".
Follow some 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 women don't get to disengage from. Here are some accounts I like- but there are lots. Follow a few.
When a woman is walking alone and you end up walking behind her — especially in dark or secluded areas — please slow down to increase the distance between you, or, better yet, cross the street. Literally go out of your way to help her feel that you're not following her.
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" and "intersectionality" to learn more), the only correct response is to be quiet and listen and try to focus on the topic at hand rather than centre your own feelings. It's hard. It's worthwhile.
When Stamp shared the list, she was mainly posting it for her group of friends, and she never dreamed it would be liked over 68,000 times, and shared over 70,000 times.
"Instead of focusing on the monsters, I want to use the monsters to draw our attention to the entire climate that allows the monsters to flourish, and I want to fix the climate," said Stamp.
You can see Stamp's complete list here, and to hear her top 3 things men can do better, listen to the interview above.