#Opinion

How You Should Deal With Your Male Misogynist Friends

Male misogynist friends, Misogyny Sexism Indian Politics
For women of different caste, class, race and genderqueer folk, both subtle and overt sexist and misogynistic remarks have become a part of their lives.

So, what does everyday sexism look like? It refers to the everyday things we say that are rooted in gender stereotypes from the way we talk, and behave to our interaction with one another – we do not know how we reinforce gender inequality. While calling out sexism is difficult and may seem uncomfortable at first, especially when it is our friend whose misogyny and sexism disturbs us, it is important that we do.

Male misogynist friends

We see the red flags waving at us during conversations about dating. Maybe a lot of casual references to “crazy” exes, or the way women are disliked and hit on literally by all her male friends. But the men at that cafe on our first date refuse to do any self-reflection. No wonder, a woman always thinks, “What did I do wrong?” “What about me is putting my potential romantic partners off?” “Do the people I’m physically and romantically attracted to seem to actually respect me?” ” Will any man seen me as a friend rather than a potential romantic/ sexual partner?”


Suggested Reading: How Internalised Misogyny Breaks Indian Women


It is going to take a while but when women strengthen their feminism, hell breaks lose for those who had hurt them – whether it is Harvey Weinstein or Roman Polanski.

Three days ago, someone posted on reddit that said, “Ladies, when was the last time your male friend(s) said or did something misogynistic? (Intentionally/unintentionally). How did you respond?” One of the responses was, “I used to share an apartment with two guys. Once, one of them (who was indeed quite misogynistic) came home a bit sad, as some girl he liked had told him that he acted misogynistic sometimes, and he couldn’t believe her.”

“He kept on asking: “Do I really act misogynistic?”. I told him YES, and then… he asked the other guy we lived with, “as he trusted his opinion more.” I mean, point proven.” The user also said later, “This happened some years ago, and eventually his best friend P. learned about feminism as well and told him that he didn’t want to be friends with him anymore if he didn’t change. So, he did. He’s still not exactly an ally, but I believe he’s a lot less moronic.” Indeed, a comment figured out  that he became less misogynistic as he wanted a man’s approval.

It is important to note that to instigate change, our sexist “guy friend” needs a better understanding of his misogynistic behaviour and how it impacts the women around him. The reality that seemingly “woke,” seemingly “nice” people can also be misogynists is well-established. That does not make it any easier to deal with when sexism transforms into misogyny and rape jokes in your friends’ group. If you have the feeling that someone you know is not actually the feminist they claim to be and you are unsure how to deal with it, here are some things to try.

For starters, we can stop letting them use “funny” as an excuse to promote misogyny. With inputs from VICE, in a 2017 essay about ironic sexism for The Lifted Brow, Emma Pitman writes that, “irony doesn’t negate sexism, it just helps it dodge accountability.” She continues: “Ironic sexism will always bring you to a frustrating, paradoxical junction, because hipster culture mocks earnestness and it takes earnestness to call this stuff out. … Instead of valorising earnestness in the abstract, I’ll get literal and make the vulnerable, uncool admission that ironic sexism hurts me.” The simplest way of establishing some boundaries is by saying, “I am not even sorry that I do not find your joke funny.”

Confronting people, criticising their sexist and misogynistic behavior, kicking them out of our group chat is difficult and painful for everyone involved. Besides the awkwardness and discomfort and fear of not getting enough support, actually caring about ourselves as women, it is fair to care enough to not let negativity prey upon our mental well-being.

Views expressed by the author are their own. 

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