Why? Because it’s time for you to listen. It is not time for cisgender men to hold the microphone in any capacity. You don’t even get to breath in the microphone. (Unless it’s simply to pledge to do better). But mostly you all are purely audience at this point. But yet so many men I know (hell, even some I like and love) think it’s clever to speak to this topic right now. Don’t fall into that trap. Shut your trap.

Here’s why:

Because you cigender man have at some point in your life perpetuated rape culture in America. Probably unwittingly, but still. And if you’re asking what rape culture even is, than you’ve definitely perpetuated it. But here’s some questions to ask yourself (alone, in a room because I don’t really want to hear you speak on this topic). If you see that status circulating Facebook, the “Me Too” one and you feel a small urge, to write,

“I’ve been harassed too”, and you later go on to tell women that you think it’s funny … maybe step back for a second and consider shutting up. Because what you’re doing is violent and gross. There really hasn’t been much laughter this week at all. Lots of triggers though.

If you decide to go on a woman’s post about Emma Thompson and declare that the other women are heroes and Thompson is not, perhaps you might consider shutting the _____ up for the rest of your life. Because now absolutely IS NOT the time for you to make judgment calls on how women should handle these situations when you’ve NEVER been in that situation.

If you feel the urge to tell the heroic story of the one time a girl was “a little too out of it to make wise choices” and applaud yourself because your parents didn’t raise a “scumbag”, I’d advise you to go jump in a lake. A thread of women discussing how harrowing rape culture in our society does not need a delightful anecdote about the one time you didn’t rape a girl.

If you come into a woman’s space and say something like

“Sorry, I’m not a rapist”, realize that EVERYONE on the thread is side eyeing you harder than before we knew of your miserable existence. People who don’t rape women never have to say that.

  1. Do you work in a male dominated industry? Have you actively had a conversation with your superiors about hiring more women for positions of power?
  2. Do you have a friend that everyone refers to as a “dog” or a “lady’s man”, knowing full well that he has not been nice to more than one woman? Are you okay with it? Still friends?
  3. Have you laughed at “watercooler jokes” in your place of work? If you didn’t laugh were you silent when it was happening?
  4. Do your friends talk about women in negative, violent ways? Have you laughed at sexist jokes not at work?
  5. Have you judged a woman based on her sexual history or whether or not she’d be willing to have sex with you?
  6. Have you ever used the phrase “friend zone”. (The friend zone doesn’t actually exist. Women aren’t objects you can con into sex).
  7. Are you friends with someone who had a sketchy date with a woman where he claims something happened but she claims something different happened? Have you experienced this?
  8. Have you ever said the words “women lie about rape”, knowing good and well that in our modern society, women have too much to lose by coming forward?
  9. Do you interject in conversations when women are talking about sexual violence instead of just listening?
  10. Are you desperate to let women know that you’re one of the “good guys” meanwhile something on this list applies to you?

Spoiler alert: You’re not a good guy. You’re not a good guy if your first thought is to proclaim your own goodness. And separate yourself from the mess.

You are not listening. But it’s time. It’s time to listen, men.