Stop Excusing Your Guy Friends For Their Misogyny

We all know those guys. They’re generally great friends: supportive, easy to talk to, fun to be with. But, there’s a catch: they are men. Unfortunately, this probably means they’ve said some pretty dumb things about women before. These might just be harmless, offhand “jokes” about how women are better suited than men for housework, or how women are expected to have children. But does their innocuous intention excuse them? If they can get away with these jokes, what else can they get away with? What if they think women should not have a say in their own reproductive rights? And, if someone makes these outdated and sexist comments, do they act on these ideas, even subconsciously? I’m not sure. Regardless, we need to speak up.

It’s 2019. People should know by now what jokes are, and what types of statements should not be acceptable. Although there’s a huge stereotype that women are sensitive buzzkills who can’t take jokes, the truth is that men are just straight up inappropriate sometimes. There are other ways to be funny without putting down women. If a friend makes a joke that upsets you, you probably have a valid reason to be upset. After all, nobody knows what women go through, other than women themselves. Some men might think sexism doesn’t exist anymore and that jokes are just jokes, but we know that’s not quite true. Words do make a difference, even if others don’t think so. Misogyny is incredibly prevalent in society, whether it’s double standards about personality traits, sex or careers, and it is so easily excused. You might not be able to eradicate sexism, but you can at least interrupt the cycle, just a little.

I know confrontation is scary, but it shouldn’t be. If this person really is your friend, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to him. Of course, it’s easier to just let a comment slide here and there. Nobody wants to be seen as that girl who argues all the time, and brings down the mood of the group. It’s tempting to choose being liked over doing what is right, but chances are, you’re not the only one who has noticed someone’s insensitivity. By choosing to speak up, you’re being the voice for more than just yourself. Besides, you don’t have to see confrontation as a precursor to a huge fight. It’s likely that your friend has never taken the time to really think about his words. So, make an effort to teach him. View it as an opportunity to educate others, rather than having an argument. Even if you do end up arguing, I think misogyny is a topic worth arguing about.

Sexism is something that women face on an everyday basis. We should not have to face it among our friends too. If your friend truly refuses to see your point of view, and continues to make inappropriate comments, is he really worth your friendship? We can’t choose our family or our politicians, but we can choose our friends. Believe it or not, there are men out there who believe in feminism and are good allies to the movement. Don’t feel pressured to stay friends with someone who doesn’t. Trust me, I know it’s hard to cut off a friend. But at the end of the day, being friends with someone who disagrees with your core values is just a waste of time.