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Why should there be a "he for she"? - A man's perspective

Violence against women has been going on for centuries. If you are watching the news regularly, it is highly possible that you have seen many reports on this. You have probably come across domestic abuse, rape, harassment cases. There is also the issue of children brides. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with these. Women have been undermined throughout the course of history in different manners. One of the ways men undermine women in this century happens at work. Women rarely get equal treatment in their jobs.

There are many things people suggest about decreasing this inequality or, maybe one day, putting an end to it. As far as I have observed, most people think that it is important to increase the punishment. Surely increasing the amount of punishment will do a lot to deter many people but unfortunately it won’t be enough to end discrimination and violence against women. People who see themselves above women will continue to see them that way, even if they are passive about it. It may not be clear immediately but the future outcomes could be dramatic because the children raised by these people will likely have the same thoughts. Being raised in a sexist environment is at the core of the problem.

In order to prevent this and, hopefully, one day end it, education is our most important tool. If people are educated about equality of both genders, then we might have a chance. However, the most important question is who should be educated?

It is important that women are educated about what they can and should do to stand up against inequality in the workplace, harassment or domestic abuse. However, it may be more important to educate men, as they are the ones responsible for these acts. If men can see the error in their thinking about women, then it can be possible to see fewer reports about violence against women in the news. I would like to give an example about how I personally learnt about feminism and how I changed.

As a man, I have always felt responsible for bad things happening to women even if I never physically had a hand in it. It wasn’t like I was supporting these tragedies; on the contrary, I was against them since I started learning about equality. A few years ago, I did something bad: I used a sexist swearword for the first and for the last time. A friend of mine told me how wrong that was. She didn’t yell at me or anything. She said she knew me as a person valuing equality a lot and me saying that word sounded very unlike the person she knew me to be. I didn’t have in mind to use it as an insult against a woman. The problem was that I didn’t think one word could have such a huge meaning. She told me what this word meant on a deeper level. I was honestly shocked to learn that even one swearword could tell so much about what a person thinks of women. I was ignorant of the effects of the things we do or say every day. Unfortunately, we do some things every day because we think they are “normal” but if you think about them a bit more thoroughly, you can understand that they could be extremely wrong. My friend educated me about this and whenever I asked her about something related to feminism, she always took the time to explain it. However, what I learnt was that being sad or simply learning more about feminism didn’t do anything to stop these kinds of behaviour in other men.

Some men think that “women are whining” when they talk about inequalities or harassment they go through every day. These men think that it is “normal” or that these women “exaggerate” what they go through. Some of them even say that “she might have misunderstood the guy’s intention” when it was a plain harassment. These reasons made me think that maybe another man can have a chance to change these men’s minds. That’s why I thought about doing something about it. The least I could do was to inform people - particularly men - around me about inequalities women go through in schools and the workplace, warn them about the sexist words they use... It was like an awakening for me to know that I can make a difference, however small. Even if I change only one man’s perspective on the subject it is a win. “Shes” in life should fight for their rights but “hes” should also stand by their side and help them in this fight. We can make a difference together!

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