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5 Ways to Put Men in Their Place: Habits to implement in your daily routine.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It is no secret that men are given more lenience for their behaviour in society. It is seen as acceptable for men to take up more space, voice their opinions, and assert themselves over others. Putting men in their place does not diminish them, but rather reminds them that they are not superior to anyone else. Here are 5 actions to implement in your daily routine to subtly put men in their place. While these 5 tips may not be applicable to every man you encounter, these are helpful in asserting your dominance and holding them accountable when necessary. 

Disclaimer: These tips will by no means dismantle misogyny or the patriarchal system; however, it may change the behaviour of some individual men… plus, it’s fun. If only one man changes his behaviour as a result, I consider these habits a success. 

(P.S. This article is partially satirical, so enjoy it with a grain of salt!)

1. Play “patriarchal chicken”.

There seems to be a reactionary phenomenon to how most men expect others to move out of their way on sidewalks, rather than moving themselves. “Patriarchal chicken” is when you refuse to move from your path on the sidewalk, forcing the men to either move for you or bump into you. The purpose of this ‘game’ is to subtly teach men that they are not the dominant force and should not expect others to cater to them. Play this game with caution, assess each situation based on your judgment and always keep your safety in mind—“patriarchal chicken” is not worth putting yourself in danger.

2. Don’t boost their ego. 

Men thrive off of being praised for the bare minimum levels of effort, intelligence and respect, while it is assumed every non-male will exceed expectations. One way to remedy the encouragement of their mediocracy is by raising the standards. Instead of appreciating a text back, be disappointed that he didn’t do more, as women and other non-men are expected to do. Remember to expect the same level of effort from relationships, friendships, and other connections that you exert for them.

Bonus tip: Do not laugh at a joke that is not funny. Men commonly pride themselves on their sense of humour, which is often laced with problematic themes or is simply unamusing. Not laughing may cause some awkwardness but it will be a reminder for them to think before they speak.

3. Don’t shrink your interest or beliefs.

Men often shrink the complexities of women into something digestible that meets their expectations of what an acceptable woman should be. Though some men have the belief that women have no hobbies or interests, the subjects that interest women are typically looked down on by men. Allow yourself to take up space in every room, do not shrink your interests or passions for anyone. Don’t pretend you’re not into astrology if you are. Discuss birth charts until your heart is content, and if they are annoyed then so be it. Your interests are more important than the opinions of a man.

4. Keep your elbows up.

If you have been to any of the bars or clubs that Kingston has to offer, you would be aware of how common it is to be pushed around by men on the dance floors. Men commonly practice taking up more physical space, often at the discomfort of others around them. Stand your ground and keep your elbows up! Clubbing can be a full-body workout at times, having to wrestle to not be pushed out of the way. Pushing back and keeping your elbows up demonstrates that you will not be overpowered by them. Though this tip may be physically difficult, if able, it reinforces the idea that men cannot clear the floor when they desire. Once again, know your limits—do not get hurt for the sake of a good spot on the dance floor!

5. Call them out.

Anyone is capable of speaking out of line and openly expressing their misogynistic, racist, homophobic (etc.) thoughts, however, men are the least corrected on comments. If you hear a man talking out of line, be confrontational and correct them. Ask them questions so they elaborate on their frame of thought. This will force them to either admit they are wrong in their line of thought, or they will talk themselves into admitting their true character. It is important to remember, however, that some people’s opinions will never change no matter the amount of confrontation, and some are too dangerous to confront at all. Do not start arguments with men that you cannot have a safe discussion with.

Macayla Preeper

Queen's U '24

Queen's University | Third Year, Sociology Major