Most men have been appalled at the abusive behaviour unveiled by the #MeToo movement. We have reflected on past indiscretions, salacious conduct and incidents of raw maleness and we feel shame. We wish to show contrition and demonstrate our commitment to feminism but we just don’t know how. We feel excluded by third-wave feminism and we are in awe at the oncoming fourth wave.
Something had to be done. So I went undercover and ‘identified’ as a feminist woman to produce her/his guide to help you/him/her become a true feminist, a ‘FeMan’ in fact. Just follow these simple steps.
1. How to look at a woman
Feminists have discovered that sometimes men are sexually attracted to women. Men become aware of the physical attributes and characteristics of a particular woman and they are enticed. For example, a man may appreciate the elegant curve of a woman’s neck, the way she laughs or smiles, or a man may have noticed the outline of a woman’s breasts as she scanned his avocado at Waitrose. Historically, women have sometimes found the physical attributes of men attractive too.
However, it is important to understand that sexual attraction is demeaning and that lust is the modern sin of ‘objectification’. When you experience feelings of sexual desire, you are unconsciously negating the personality and achievements of the woman in question. In doing so, you belittle all women with a single glance.
To become a FeMan, you must recognise that women’s bodies are not objects and therefore that women are not, in fact, physically attractive to you. If you find a woman sexually attractive, ask her to put a paper bag over her head. She will become relaxed and appreciate your considerate approach.
2. How to ask a woman out
Relationships between men and women are fraught with difficulty. As a man, you are in a position of privilege and power and thus must take full responsibility for anything that does or does not happen during flirt-ation, dating and sex. We now understand that unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate flirting and rejected attempts at seduction are forms of sexual abuse.
A woman must give full and conscious consent to each stage of a liaison. So when you meet a woman for the first time, start by discussing the possible outcomes of the relationship. Jointly draw up a list of possible activities and discuss the various emotional responses that each of you may experience. The list must include all possible communications (talking, Snapchat, phone calls and emails), physical touching (holding hands, kissing, sex, massage, etc), emotional needs and expectations, as well as long-term hopes for the relationship. When you are both happy with the finalised list, append the official ‘standard terms’ consent contract and ask one of the bar staff to act as a witness to your joint signatures. You may now engage in early-stage flirtation.
Although it can be difficult to explore every scenario before the relationship has actually started, guarding against potential abuse is essential. Pre-approved consent is the best guard against the dangers of spontaneity.
3. How to have sex
Sex is an important time to show your female partner that she is valued. Previously, you may have both enjoyed the physical intimacy of sex. You must now appreciate that objectifying a woman during the intensity of a sexual liaison is sexist and belittling. Before proceeding, remember to gain consciously opted-in consent. Modern technology can help make this easy. Simply record a ‘consent video’ of you both describing the type of sexual acts in which you may possibly engage, then post it on Facebook so that all your online friends can act as witnesses.
When engaging in the sexual act itself, remember to avoid any focus on body parts which are associated with female objectification. Bottoms and breasts are widely portrayed in pornography so these should be rejected. A woman’s face, hair and neck are also portrayed in sexist advertising to sell products. Women want to be appreciated as rounded characters, not physical body parts. Try arousing your partner by discussing her accomplishments at work or asking for her thoughts on major news stories. If your partner is having difficulty in achieving an orgasm, ask her about her greatest achievements and how they made her feel.
4. How to talk to women
A FeMan doesn’t talk; he listens. Men have talked for centuries and women’s voices have not been heard. Feminists are making up for this iniquity by talking on behalf of all women. Feminists articulate the injustice experienced by women who are less able to speak for themselves. When a feminist talks, she represents every other woman and, therefore, has to speak very loudly.
When a feminist outlines her views she carries the moral authority harvested from centuries of oppression. You must take responsibility for your privilege and show contrition by simply agreeing with what she says. Show your respect by being supportive.
5. Understanding working-class women
Patriarchy is insidious. The vast majority of women simply get on with their lives, study, work and sustain relationships without ever becoming conscious of their own oppression. Working-class women are particularly susceptible to ‘internalised misogyny’. They have been known to drink freely in pubs, flirt with men and seemingly live happily with brothers, husbands, sons and fathers. When asked what would most improve their lives, they often refer to more money, better jobs or improved childcare. Working-class women simply cannot see that they have absorbed the ideological framework of patriarchal oppression.
Help feminists to make women aware of their suffering. It has been discovered that the most oppressed women are arts advisers, media executives, actresses, newsreaders, Guardian journalists, bloggers, charity and NGO executives, as well as female Members of Parliament. Support the fight for senior female BBC executives to be paid higher wages. Empathise with Holly-wood actresses who suffer the indignity of ‘glamour’ from an insatiable media in exchange for mere wealth and fame. As you gain confidence, shame those women who take jobs as ‘hostesses’, or ‘darts girls’. Try tweeting #BadWoman every time you see a woman who is displaying signs of unconscious misogyny.
6. Support radical action for equity
Women are under-represented in many levels of society. They may be playing a greater role in politics, business and trade unions but bastions of male over-representation remain. You should demand equity at all levels and call for radical action. Some ideas for you to consider:
— Street-level drug dealing is dominated by men: is it time for women to reclaim the streets?
Job swaps would rapidly create equity between the sexes. You could propose that ‘bin men’ swap with primary school teachers; building workers with nurses and car thieves with social workers.
Equal representation requires radical action.
7. Laugh — feminists are funny
It is a sexist myth that feminists do not have a sense of humour. Simply reading the tweets of many feminists shows that they are, in fact, extremely funny. We should not confuse heightened moralistic outrage with a humourless approach. Feminists love jokes. For example:
Q: What is the quickest way to a man’s heart?
However, some jokes are designed to normalise the patriarchal ideological hegemony. When you hear these, you should ask the joke-teller to reflect on his inherent misogyny and apologise. An example could be:
Q: How many feminists does it take to change
If you hear the following joke, you should report the teller to the police. He would be guilty of a hate crime:
Q: How many men does it take to change a light bulb?
Show your support for feminist women and avoid the public shaming that results from making a mistake.
Be a new man. Go FeMan.