One Man to Another: Human-Up

By James Burns
In Blog
March 17, 2015

business team giving thumbs upAs a male feminist, I just watched Emma Watson’s live stream from London today on International Women’s Day. The question came up, “What can men do in their everyday lives to help establish equality for women in society?” I came up with four immediate answers to this question.

Don’t buy into the mindset that there is a gender war.

Those men who feel a gut level objection to the word feminism have to realize that they have had the issue incorrectly framed in their minds. Those who object to feminism think that only dominant and submissive positions exist in the world. They think women’s rights means female dominance and male submission in society, which is not the case at all. We need to understand partnership relations, not just hierarchical. Compassion, cooperation, and empathy have to replace authoritarian, competitive, and callous attitudes. Dominant and submissive attitudes are all about imbalance, and it is time to restore balance.

group of business people hands togetherTreat gender slurs like you do racial slurs.

 Do not let people get away with these derogatory remarks or put downs. In the hallways of the schools and the fields of male sports, boys are constantly being told not to be a wussy, pussy, or woman. This is damaging to how the boys see girls. Think about it! Gender slurs are one of the most effective ways to establish women’s second class status in the minds of men and women. Gender slurs should never be tolerated and it is our duty as men to tell our fathers, brothers, sons, and friends that such talk is offensive and makes them sound small minded, ignorant and undisciplined.

 Turn the “bro code” into a “human code”.

If you knew a man at your place of work was getting paid less because of his race, I have a definite feeling that the “bro code” would motivate most men to stand up for their fellow male employees. The civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s was successful because white servicemen stood up for their African American veterans when it came to Little Rock and Alabama. Well that code has to now become a “human code” so that we stand up against gender discrimination/injustice wherever we see it.

Support paternity leave as an employment practice.

A woman starting a family is said to interfere with her getting ahead on her career path. This is only an issue because men aren’t afforded the same privileges as women when it comes to child rearing. If men were also given paternity leave, then maternity leave wouldn’t be a special consideration in employment hiring and promotions.

He For She


James Burns as himself!

If you agree with what I have written and you are a man, then please go to the HeForShe website and sign the commitment to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls. It will take less than one minute to scroll down the front page and click the button to show your support for what is one of the most important issues in all of human history. Thank you!

About Has 1 Posts

James Burns
I am a father in a patchwork family of four girls. My wife/partner opened my eyes to the cause of women's rights more than 20 years ago. I am a writer so I began studying women's history. My favorite feminist writers are Betty Freidan and Riane Eisler. My favorite male feminists are Frederick Douglass and John Stuart Mill. My personal women's rights hero is Lucy Stone. Our family mission statement is "Women's rights around the world within my lifetime." I live in Ensenada, Mexico
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