Dear Men: So You Say You Want To Be An Ally…

In the five months since the #MeToo movement revolutionized the way we think about sex and power, it’s become rather clear that men have a lot of self-reflecting to do. Oftentimes, these reflections came off as a variation of mansplaining: Men who believed they had done nothing wrong seemed angry, defensive, scared, and ultimately confused. But these provocations, and other earnest attempts at reckoning with how men behave, are evidence that #MeToo has also created an opportunity for everyone.
The fact is: It's hard to pinpoint another time in history when men were expected to rethink their gender role so publicly and profoundly. As we reckon with how pervasive sexual assault and harassment have become in our continued fight for gender equality, it’s clear that frank conversations about masculinity (and not just “toxic masculinity”) are crucial.
That’s why Refinery29 is committing to facilitating this chapter in the #MeToo conversation. In reality, all men aren’t assaulting or harassing women. But most of the people who assault and harass women (and people of all genders) are men. So, we’re tapping experts to tackle some questions that men seem to be asking: How should men handle “making the first move” in the #MeToo era? What should they do if they see someone being sexually harassed? And perhaps the most fundamental question: What does it look like when we rethink masculinity?
We’ve grappled with these issues since October, but today we’re letting men know that, if they need help forging a new kind of manhood, we’re here to help.
How do you make the first move while being mindful of consent?
For starters, you'll have to think beyond "no means no."
What sex myths do men need to unlearn?
Myth #1: Men have to be aggressive and horny all the time.
What should you do if you see someone being sexually harassed?
Don't underestimate the power of validating someone's experience.
Is masculinity inherently toxic?
We miss the point — and give men a pass — when we label masculinity "toxic."
Is it okay to date someone you work with?
The simplest way to put it? It's complicated.
To kick things off Monday night, we hosted a panel discussion with Ted Bunch, chief development officer of A Call To Men; Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn; and Jennifer Wyse, supervising social worker at Safe Horizon.
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