If We Want Men To Treat Us Better, We Have To Demand It

It’s sad but it’s true — in order to get the treatment we deserve from men, we women are going to have to stand up and demand it. Too many of us have accepted much less for far too long. If we don’t require proper respect, we’ll never get it. Here’s how we need to go about getting what we want:

  1. We need to value ourselves. If we don’t think we’re worth anything, men won’t feel that they need to behave like we are. Not all men out there will treat us only as well as we allow — there are good guys in the world. Unfortunately, there are plenty that will take advantage of us if we don’t ask for what we need.
  2. We can’t stand for bad behavior. We have to stick together and institute a no-tolerance policy across the board for any treatment that is less than respectful. If we allow it, it’s bound to happen. Whenever a man treats one of us badly, we have to do ourselves a favor and speak up about it. We’ll be doing each other a favor as well by teaching guys that their stuff won’t fly.
  3. If we see men treating other women poorly, we need to call them out. It feels uncomfortable, but think about how grateful you’d be if you were on the other end of things. If you see a man mistreat a woman, especially in public, you have a responsibility to her and yourself to be an ally for her. Maybe she doesn’t have anyone else in her life to do that for her. The worst that can happen is that you’ll be in an uncomfortable situation, but the positives of standing up for someone far outweigh the negatives.
  4. We absolutely can’t tolerate abuse of any sort. It’s unacceptable. When women are abused, the whole world suffers. This goes for any sort of abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss subtle abuse if there’s nothing physically harmful going on, but step back and look at the situation logically. We all know deep down when something isn’t right and we have to be brave and confront it.
  5. We can’t make excuses for terrible guys. A huge part of the problem is that we tend to overlook and excuse bad behavior by men, especially when we have low self-esteem or think that their positives somehow outweigh whatever negatives are involved. Of course nothing will ever be perfect, but we should always expect to be treated like human beings. There’s simply no excuse in the world for anything less.
  6. If we don’t get what we deserve, we have to drop those guys stat. It does no good if we complain and demand what we deserve, but then don’t get it and stick around anyway. That defeats the entire argument. We have to stand by our worth and get rid of anyone in our lives who doesn’t appreciate and value us. Otherwise we are allowing bad patterns to continue on.
  7. We have to support each other instead of tearing each other down. As women, we can be a great foundation for one another. Unfortunately, sometimes we choose the petty, backstabbing road instead. This is completely unproductive and harmful both to ourselves and the other women we treat this way. We can’t demand stellar treatment from men if we’re too busy treating each other poorly.
  8. We need to help educate men. Whether they are our fathers, brothers, lovers, friends, or sons, we have to lovingly but firmly teach them what is acceptable and what isn’t. If they’re not young enough for us to instruct them on what’s right before they learn poor behavior, we have to take on the arduous but worthy task of retraining them how to properly respect women as equal humans.
  9. We must support and encourage those men who already understand our worth. There are a lot of wonderful men in the world! Not only do they find the behavior of the lesser guys embarrassing and abhorrent, they often take a stand against it. It’d be much easier to simply live their way and let other men do whatever they want, so when a guy uses his voice and action in our support, we should give that a lot of appreciation. Positive reinforcement encourages more awesome behavior.
  10. We have to destigmatize the word “feminism”. Feminism literally means that all people are treated equally, but the term has been misused and misconstrued so often that it gets an enormously bad rap now. We need to reclaim the word and educate those who are willing to listen on its true, powerful meaning. We need to keep standing up and fighting for the truth.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at amyhorton.net.