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A Quick Guide for Men: How to See Women as Equals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Content Warning: Contains mention of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape.


This year has seen a tremendous rise in allegations and accusations of long-time abusers in a multitude of industries from Hollywood to music. As of recently, survivors of sexual assault and abuse have found the space and voice to out their attackers online and in person, and while we’re still far from solving these issues from the core, I find the fact that we’re slowly fighting back to be a tremendous improvement.

With that said, the rise of survivors fighting back, unfortunately, also brings a rise in annoying parasite when it comes to the conversation of assault and abuse: people, more so men, are continuously shutting down these accusations where possible. From the first time “rape” became a part of my vocabulary, I don’t remember a single time when a story of rape or abuse wouldn’t be severely counteracted with jabs at the victim and attempting to figure out whether there’s actually fault with the abuser or if it was in fact the victim’s fault. An abuser’s grip on a victim tightens each time someone asks about the victim’s clothing that day or makes suggestions of what they could have done instead of what to do now.

The most aggravating thing out of all of this is the fact that this act of refusing to believe victims of assault and rape seems to be so ingrained in our heads that the people who actively and publicly deny accusations could literally be the same people in our closest social circles. You could pass anyone on the street and get chills knowing that the next guy to walk by you could either be thinking of hurting you or refusing to believe that you could ever experience rape “in such a nice community”, even if an attack happened right before their eyes. Time and time again, I’ll see men defending other men from these accusations, flooding spaces for survivors to regain their strength and voice with “but are you sure?” and “it’s only an accusation so it’s not true yet”. I’ve witnessed people be at moral crossroads when someone they know is found to be accused of rape, twiddling their thumbs as they figure out whether they should denounce that person or wait until more information comes out “just in case”.

After being constantly frustrated with men for not being able to understand the concept of rape and assault, I’ve discovered a theory: the reason men don’t believe women and accusations of sexual violence towards women is that men don’t see women as equals, and when we’re not considered as equals, suddenly there’s a greater sense of entitlement that the male population may feel toward having access to our bodies. I know this seems like a very obvious thing. Though it may be a concept that is subconsciously understood by most of us, I don’t think it’s talked about enough.  

So with that, I’ve come up with suggestions and tips for men on how to see your female-identifying friends as equal. *The following suggestions are purely sarcastic and intended to ridicule men who see themselves as victims within the discourse of rape and sexual assault.*

Emotional Talks: Understand Feelings how you would Sports 


Jessica is a friend that has finally opened up to you about how she’s feeling. There’s just one issue: you simply don’t care or cannot relate. It’s not your fault you can’t relate to someone whose emotions are controlled by the full moon, no one should expect otherwise! It looks like something is bothering her (not that body language is your strong suit either), and just really needs to talk to you about what’s on her mind. She barely finishes the phrase “hey, can I talk to you about something” before you’ve completely zoned out and your mind floods with tonight’s game. “Feelings” isn’t a sport you recognize, and phrases like “emotional” or “empathy” don’t sound like team strategies for tonight’s game. While one part of you is nearly finished making all of your bets and predictions to talk about with the boys, another part of you knows you’ll blow your chance at dating Jessica if you don’t at least act like you’re interested in anything that isn’t what’s under her V-neck sweater. If only she could also just talk about the game tonight instead of “feelings”!


While “actually caring about someone’s well-being” hasn’t become a type of sports move as far as you know, you can very easily trick yourself and her into being engaged with the conversation by training your brain to replace specific emotional phrases with sports lingo. For example, one can replace “I’m just not feeling great right now” with “I’m not sure how I feel about tonight’s game”. Since it’s so much easier for men to show human emotion for something that involves something so mindless, this technique is really useful for men who need to show the woman in their life they really care without even caring at all. Just be sure not to accidentally slip any actual sports lingo into the conversation, we wouldn’t want to confuse poor Jessica about throwin’ the ol’ pig skin around on a Sunday morning.

Relationship Fights: Picture Yourself Talking to a Fern 


You’re in a fight with your girlfriend and it just seems like she’s just throwing nonsense accusations at you. Got drunk and made out with a girl at a bar even though you’re in a committed relationship? Well, she wasn’t there and you were too blacked out to even remember. So what if she shows you photos, that could have been anyone! You’re so exhausted from dodging rightfully made accusations at you and you just wish there was some way for her to calm down and stop yelling. Of course, you could fess up, admit to what’s happened, and work out the relationship through open communication, but that’s just so much work when you can easily use all of that energy to play Fifa. Is there any hope for your sorry, cheating self?


The houseplant in your kitchen that you just barely remember to water is the perfect mental substitution for the annoying, accusative girlfriend. Plants don’t talk back, so it makes not caring about your girlfriend’s feelings that much easier. If equality between genders is difficult for you, then this houseplant concept will definitely help you, especially if you care just slightly more for a nearly-drying plant for a pretty-much-dying relationship.

Interactions with Female Friends: Pretend You’re Talking to One of Your Bros


Your lecture finishes and Abigail comes up to you to ask for notes from the previous class and bam! You suddenly remember she has a vagina and bigger areolas. How can you possibly have a conversation with her now without pointing out the obvious physical differences between you two in the most demeaning way possible?! There’s no way you can give her notes without asking what’s in it for you, followed by a longer-than-usual wink. If only she was one of your good friends Chad, it would make the entire things so much easier!


Pretend that she’s Chad! You’ve seen and talked to your bro often enough that you can perfectly visualize him. You’ve used all of your brain memory for the best bro handshake and have no more space for the concept of equality, and you finally can put it to good use! Once you picture Chad’s face talking to, there’s no way you’d want to have sex with your friend now! 

Alternatively, if a mental image of Chad onto your friend’s face isn’t helping, The Rock Test is a tried and true hack for men who don’t want to accidentally sexually harass their female friends.

Pretend She’s Talking About Not Getting Her Latte At Starbucks Instead Of Being Sexually Harassed


Your friend has just told you that one of your buddies got drunk at a party, touched her without consent, followed her nearly all the way home, and began to shout “ugly c***” when the campus police were called about a “ruckus”. You’ve listened and read the story on Facebook more than once, but you can’t seem to understand it. How can Todd, one of your good pals from university, be capable of something like this? Well, if the sexual assault and rape reports are so low, then that must mean he didn’t do it and it was just a misunderstanding, right? There’s no way all men are like this, and besides the word “sexual assault” is such a strong word. That’s the thing you only hear about but never experience, so you’d rather not hear about it if it’s so rare. What do you do?


It’s hard to be helpful and empathetic in a “make-believe” situation, but it seems your friend is really distraught about what’s happened. We’ve all experienced having our names incorrectly spelled on a Starbucks cup, baristas not quite getting your order right, and of course the frustration of waiting in line. It’s an infuriating experience they just don’t listen, right?! It’s as if against my will I was given the wrong order, how dare they do that! Remember the last time your local food or coffee shop didn’t get your order right? Well, apply this to the situation your friend is telling you – might make things easier for you to understand and relate to. Now you can really understand why she has feelings about this situation, and you can better defend her when you go to your nearest Starbucks- I mean sexual assault office. After all, it’s a way more believable situation if it’s a wrong Starbucks order instead of an actual event of assault.  

Get Your D*** Removed


You’re trying really hard to listen to your friend, but you can’t help about something: you have an uncontrollable feeling in your pants every time your eyes happen to wander to her chest or legs. You have this feeling that you want to take her then and there. This never happens with your guy friends because of course, that’d be gay and gross. How inconvenient. You have a really great friendship with this girl, but it’s just so different because you always have a random urge to want to have sex with her, which never happens with your guy friends! How can you possibly see someone as an equal when they have such a nice body?


Penectomies are a partial or full removal of the penis and are exactly the solution you need for those uncontrollable urges. We can’t blame you for the fact that you’re not able to seize your “instinct” to have sex with anything that moves, and it’s totally not fair that women don’t understand or comply to this. Think of this surgery as a permanent cold shower for when you’re in situations when you just need to have sex with the girl in front of you. Though a costly procedure, it’s a good thing you have all of that money saved up from all the Plan B’s and other emergency contraception you didn’t buy when you copulated. Additionally, the procedure may make it so having sex won’t be the same, and while this may sound like a draw back, imagine all the bra straps you won’t be distracted by!


By implementing these steps in your daily life, you’ll be on the way to conquer those innate thoughts of inequality! Be sure to forward and share this guide to your fellow bros and dudes so they too can start seeing women as equals by completely dehumanizing them to suit your sensitive, “uncontrollable” urges.


If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault/violence, please consult the University of Toronto resources available on all three campuses.


Architecture History and Design Double Major and Environmental Geography Minor at the University of Toronto