Even the most 'woke' of men can still have a lot to learn when it comes to feminist issues. And that is ok, as long as they are fully committed to learning. Sometimes though, it's super hard to express feminist ideas and theories to guys without getting frustrated by their lack of understanding. As long as the men in your life are receptive to these kinds of conversations and willing to hear about female experiences, it is possible to have these crucial chats.
"Many of us have experienced getting into a fight with a man while trying to explain feminist ideas or one of the million issues faced by women in the world each day," women's coach Kitty Waters says. "What came from a simple conversation about the gender pay gap or sexual harassment can easily turn into a full blown fight if emotions are raw, but it doesn’t have to be this way." So how can you have these difficult conversations without them ending up in an argument? Kitty explains.
1. Pick your moment
Like with the discussion of any contentious issues, be smart about timing: don’t start this conversation when your boyfriend has just walked through the door, or when he's stressed or anxious. If you are going to discuss a complex subject like feminism - a topic that takes time, communication and patience - it really does help that you are both in a good space. Wait for a better time when you feel he is ready to listen and hear what you are saying.
2. Be moving
Years ago I was taught by an ex-boss that the best way to discuss difficult things is if you are walking along with the person. The mere action of moving takes the confrontation out of the conversation. This technique really does work, so try it at home with your partner or at work with an employee. It gives more space and positive stimulation to your conversation - it can be as simple as having a big chat while walking your dog together. If you can avoid doing this in a hectic scenario such as a busy street with lots of traffic, this might give a better sense of calm and focus to your talk. An added bonus is that being outside in public decreases the chances of you getting angry and shouting at each other.
Tumblr/Feminist Ryan Gosling
3. Agree to disagree
If things get contentious you don’t have to resolve it there and then. Get your ideas out on the table, then make sure the both of you go away and digest the ideas. Nine times out of 10 you’ll see the other person’s point of view more once you’ve had the time to take their ideas into consideration. This way when you come back together again you will find yourself more willing to meet halfway. Also accept it may take some time for a man to understand your point of view as he doesn’t share your experience, he is after all not a woman. He simply doesn’t know what it’s like to be a woman in this world, so the more descriptive, calm and patient you are, the smoother the conversation will go.
4. Don’t retaliate
If the conversation does get nasty, don’t retaliate. While it is easier said than done, this is still the best option to not say anything you’ll regret in the heat of the moment. If you get into a fight and your partner says something that hurts, just say ‘Ouch' that hurt rather than biting back. This way he will have to sit with what he said and think hard about it.
5. Use back up
Help yourself by reading up on some stats and figures to back up your argument and use them when talking. Now you are talking a factual language and are more likely to be well received. Make sure you demonstrate that you're not just stating your opinion on the subject, you're also citing facts that are backed up by studies, testimonies of authority, books and other materials therefore adding weight.
Or speak from experience. If you know this man and you have personal anecdotes of experiences that were unfair or upsetting, it might help to weave this in. If they care about you, they should care about how this issue has affected you personally.
Once you’ve opened his eyes to the issues you might just see him become more proactive in changing things.
H/T Cosmo UK