Princess Bride and (less than) the royal treatment

By InformHer Staff Writer

“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today.”

 

But Princess Bride, is marriage really bringing all of us together?

When it comes to salary and income earnings, marriage helps men a lot more than it helps women, according to Claudia Geist’s 2006 article titled “Payoff or Penalty? A Comparison of the Marriage Wage Differential for Men and Women across 15 Nations.”

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Her examination of the hourly wages of married and unmarried men and women, between the ages 25 and 55, revealed something interesting, and a little upsetting. Men in the 15 countries studied (including the United States) earn noticeably more when they are married than when unmarried. On the other hand, women earn about the same as they would married or unmarried in a majority of the countries examined. Geist explains that this may be because of the types of jobs married women work, and the consistency of the cross-cultural belief that men are breadwinners. Further research is needed to confirm if this data is evidence of either of those claims.

“Chin-up, Buttercup,” because this study does not mean that women will suddenly be payed less at their job when they get married. Instead, the marriage wage gap points to a few likely problems, for example the harmful social pressure on men to be the breadwinner in a partnership.  Finally, this also illustrates how women’s work is undervalued and confirms that women’s potential for wage-earning is less than men’s.

Wait, women have a lower earning potential? 

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If this sounds sexist to you, it’s because it is. Women’s work is generally undervalued in comparison to men’s due to the fact that women make up the majority of the care-work workforce (think nurses, day care workers, maids, stay at home moms). Care workers do not receive comparable (or even adequate) pay. The solution is not to avoid being a careworker yourself, but to value care work and care workers, and to shape the dialogue that surrounds care work in a more positive way. Other factors that could explain why women earn less may be their negotiation ability and the amount of work they must take on at home.

The pay gap for married women is widespread, with numerous problematic causes, and numerous solutions. “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, now prepare to” forget about discovering a one-size fits all solution to this problem. Instead, we need to wholistically re-evaluate the roles of women in our workforce and the value we place on care work in our culture if we want to ever close the marriage pay gap.

A not-so-bundle-of-joy

By Bronwyn Neal

Imagine this:

You are at the height of your career, you’ve found the love of your life, had your dream wedding, and not too long ago, you brought a little life into the world. You’re at the top of your game and nothing can bring you down. Or so you think. What if I told you that your new little bundle of joy now influences the way your co-workers, bosses and future employers perceive you as a professional? Don’t worry boys, you’re safe. Ladies on the other hand, pay close attention…

Over the past few decades, women have been making their way out of the house and into the workplace, morphing the image of “woman” from housewife to professional. Although this all sounds fine and dandy, women have not made this transition smoothly and are still trying to claim their rightful place in society.

In 2004, researchers Amy Cuddy, Susan Fiske, and Peter Glick conducted a study to find out how professional women are perceived after becoming mothers.

Here’s how: 122 undergraduates of diverse gender read profiles of three consultants who worked at a corporate company and were asked to respond with their first impressions. The profile described either a man or woman, and provided a brief background of their education, job requirements, hobbies, and whether or not they were a parent.

After each description, participants were asked to rate the consultant on 20 traits using a scale of 1 to 7. Of the 20 traits, a handful measured competence and several measured “warmth”-related traits.The rest were “filler” traits, meaning that they did not necessarily factor into what the researchers were trying to study.  

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Although this approach sounds simple, the results they found were anything but.

When reviewing the results, they found that the working mom was perceived significantly more warm, but marginally less competent than working women without children. Men on the other hand, did not differ on competence regardless of if they were a father or a working man without a child. Furthermore, working moms were preferred less than women without children, whereas working fathers were preferred less than a man without children.

There is a lot more than meets the surface with a study like this one.

Women being perceived as warmer after having a child is not absurd (I guess I’ll give them that). What is absurd, is the fact that women are perceived as less competent due to having a child. Correct me if i’m wrong, but I don’t think that bringing a life into the world affects how well a woman can complete a task or do her job for that matter.

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This same accusation becomes even more ridiculous when men receive brownie points for doing what they are expected of them as a father, whereas women have to jump through hoops and bend over backwards in order to get a simple “good job” for going above and beyond what is expected of them. This difference in perception can be explained by  old original gender roles of men and women: breadwinners vs. housewives.

A woman and man have the same job, they both fall in love and have a family. The man is now seen as a great father and the woman, as warmer, motherly. And as for their work ethic? Nothing changed. Why? Because babies don’t affect competency. Point being: we, as a society, shouldn’t let them.  

One small step into daycare for man, one giant leap for (wo)mankind

By Eliana Huffman

ABBA. Cold winters. Gender equity and social acceptance of women’s fight for equality in the workplace, at home, and with their romantic partners…oh my?

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Now that you’ve been reminded of the existence of this tiny Scandinavian country, let’s take a more in-depth look at Sweden’s family leave policy and the effect it’s having on the construction of fatherhood and romantic partnerships.

Before we begin, let’s go over some basics on what this family leave policy offers and how it works. The benefits for Swedish citizens start before birth, with expectant mothers given free prenatal care and group support benefits—but that’s not all. Even parents who don’t give birth to their children biologically are allowed to take parental leave (for example, adoptive parents). This total paid leave period lasts 480 days, and can be split however the parents desire. Parents also get a monthly allowance per child to offset the exorbitant financial costs that come with, you know, raising a whole human being.

Because this policy is so egalitarian, it has been the source of great curiosity. Starting in 2012, researcher Thomas Johansson set out to interview 20 men living in Sweden who decided to share their parental leave period more or less equally with their partners. He focused his discussion mostly on four men in particular to show better representation of the different types of partnerships people have in Sweden. The first man was in a gay partnership, the second man and his female partner both worked part-time, the third man went from spending all of his time at work to all of his time at home, and the fourth man was a stay-at-home dad whose wife was and still is much more career-oriented.

Johansson discovered very common themes: men felt not only a social obligation to split family work equally, but felt they were treated like kings when they did so.  They also felt a strong moral obligation to be partners who contributed to childrearing equally.

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What’s missing from this study is the perspective of Swedish women, but what we can confirm from other research is that when men contribute more equally at home, women make more of their equal share at work. This calls for further research, but perhaps indicates a link to Sweden’s reduced pay gap compared to the United States.

What can we apply from this study to our own lives in America?

For starters, men who report contributing equally to their partners say they’re happier and have better partnerships, so we can throw that myth of men feeling emasculated or “losing out” to their wives right out the window. Secondly, we can start giving verbal praise to men who do their part, as this clearly is a source of encouragement and social change—but let’s not forget the awesome ladies that do these behaviors, too.

One small step into the daycare for man, one giant leap for (wo)mankind.

Women’s health is human health. Period.

By Erika Harrington

A few months back, news broke that Italy has introduced new legislation requiring workplaces to offer three days of menstrual leave each month for female employees. News flash: It’s highly controversiallet’s try to break it down together.

While we traditionally base InformHer articles on academic research, there isn’t a lot to go on here. So instead, I’ll offer an overview of the conversation surrounding menstrual leave, and while I’m at it, make a tasteful call to researchers to explore this topic further.

My attempts to find such research revealed the under-explored world of menstruation’s social and psychological implications. There are studies about the attractiveness of women with endometriosis. Attractiveness. Not actual health or, you know, treatments. I’ll let you ponder that.

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Okay, let’s refocus. Menstrual leave, what is it? According to the legislation, women who suffer from dysmenorrhoea–or debilitating menstrual pain–are entitled to 3 days of menstrual leave each month. This accommodates women’s unique needs without cutting into the sick leave that their male co-workers also receive. While some find this sensible and well intended, others were quick to point out the faults in the policy.

For one, some feel that this is not fair at it’s core because it gives women special treatment. Scrolling through article comments and hearing general sentiments about working women from public figures like our dear president’s son, it’s clear that many people believe that if women can’t handle the demands of the workplace, they shouldn’t be in it.” *Rolls eyes*

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On the other hand, many proponents of female empowerment disagree with this legislation because they think it diminishes women’s perceived abilities. They believe policies like these send a message that women are weaker people who need to be coddled *rolls eyes a little less*. With that, many of those on this side of the debate think a solution is not to give women added days alone, but rather push for more sick leave for all employees (which could be beneficial for those with chronic conditions that are completely unrelated to their sex).

Further, there’s an audible viewpoint that I haven’t been able to find in the public discussion, but was mentioned to me by a fellow InformHer writer. She explained that if your cramps are painful enough that you can’t go to work, it’s indicative a larger health issue that should be better researched and treated—like endometriosis, adenomyosis, STI’s, miscarriages, or fibroids, all of which which affect hundreds of millions of women across the world but are both under-diagnosed and (often) incorrectly diagnosed.

The reality is some women experience extreme pain that can lead to nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, fainting, anemia, and diarrhea–symptoms that you’d experience once a month, or even daily in some cases. Currently, the only non-surgical way to mask (not treat) these symptoms are often hormonal birth control medications, especially IUDs and implants.

My take on this situation? What we need is to stop looking at women as only economic commodities, and as real people who need improved access to research (and doctors well-versed in this research who can treat them). Because a healthcare system that doesn’t acknowledge a uterus as more than a special interest is just wrong. Period.

The Fortune 500 Popularity Contest

By Rachel Garretson 

We all know that board numbers are critical to success in basketball (ok, maybe not all of us), but what about numbers on different types of boards? Say…corporate boards? What numbers matter there?  

Bear, Rahman, and Post used data from the Fortune 2009 World’s Most Admired Companies List and the Mergent database of annual reports (as well as various other public sources) to conduct a study on how how diverse members on a corporate advisory board affect a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) score.

Spoiler alert: diversity matters.

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    For those who might need a crash course in CSR ratings (I know I did), they’re a big deal. Good scores attract more job applicants, obviously, since none of us want to work for a company with a bad reputation, and they’re linked with high job satisfaction for current employees—because hey, if all your buddies think the place you work at is awesome, you’re going to feel better about your job and be less likely to start seeking work elsewhere.

    Beyond providing benefits to employees, good CSR ratings enhance corporate image itself, helping organizations grow. It also positively affects ~minor~ things like financial performance, institutional investment, and share price. And further, companies can accumulate it like capital. If companies have a lot of them, they can be used to offset a some of the consequences of any nasty little publicity crises that may happen along. We’re more likely to forgive a mistake by a company we like than a company we already hate.

    So CSR ratings are a big deal for the companies, but why did these researchers care? The bottom line is that they found gender diversity on a company’s board helps increase CSR ratings. For example, women bring different ideas to the table and differing decision-making styles to the table. This benefits the company in general, as almost all successful corporations pride themselves on innovation. Another way women helped out is just that they tend to be more aware of and sensitive to CSR. Since women are more aware of the company’s reputation and how that can affect it, they make more conscientious decisions that take those factors into consideration. In fact, women just being present is a big factor. Not just one token woman too. What our fearless researchers found was that as the percentage of women on the board increased, corporate reputation increased as well.

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Need another reason to expand diversity efforts within your organization, especially by including more women? Now you have it. When boss ladies join the table, everyone else benefits, too.

Now I’m Mad

By Erika Harrington

Have you all seen the #BlackWomenAtWork hashtag? If you haven’t, you need to check it out right now. Sparked by Bill O’Reilly’s comments towards congresswoman Maxine Walter, the trending tag is a perfect example of the layered problems professional women of color face throughout their careers, a problem characterized by a policing of emotions and anger.

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But let’s back up for a second. What are we talking about when we talk about “anger”?

A snide comment? A side-eye? The silent treatment? Or, if you’re like me, a tearful and dramatic outburst? However you show it, we all get angry sometimes. Things get frustrating, things get tough, and people get vicious. And they can get frustrating with family, get tough with friends, and peopleyes, even professional peopleget vicious at work.

It’s natural and it’s something you can recover from…right?

Well, let me clarifyit’s easy for some people to recover from. It’s a little tougher for women because when they get mad, it tends to be perceived as the result of their over-emotional and irrational nature. But we’ve already covered this.

And we know there’s a misconception that when women get angry, it’s because they’re just inherently emotional. But men? Well, men were obviously just reacting to something upsetting.

Now this actually makes me mad. If Tina from accounting has been dodging my emails and skipping our meetings, and our project doesn’t get done because we never worked out the budget, and then my boss chews me out for not delivering, I’m going to be bitter. And Tina and I might have to have an unpleasantyet professionalconversation. And no one, and I mean no one is going to tell me that it’s my fault that I’m mad. Yes, yes, we all know there’s more to it than thatbut you get my point.

So I’ve spent a lot of time ranting on something we’ve already read about–I just can’t help it, these matters always get me riled up. Must be my angry nature, right? I want to take time to remind you all that is even worse for women of color, specifically black women who have to deal with the ~angry black woman~ trope.  

Researchers Durr and Wingfield did an extensive study of black, female professionals with participant observation and in-depth interviews. One notable conclusion was the strain and wasted energy that participants experienced when trying to avoid certain stereotypes. They find themselves constantly worried that they aren’t controlling their emotions well enough. They must “pick their battles” so that they aren’t viewed unprofessionally, but the reality is that, in any job there are times where you have to fight for the ideas that you believe in.

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So while it’s more than troublesome that black women deal with a constant threat of being stereotyped, it’s especially problematic when avoiding the stereotype hinders one’s ability to forward their contributions. This can have long-term effects on careers if it prevents individuals from taking the career risks that are key to success. Speaking of impacts on career, let’s consider the emotional cost of constantly worry about not acting “too black” for the workplace. All that time black women spend concerned with image, they could spend doing, oh I don’t know, their actual job maybe?

So what’s the solution here? Well, many advise women to make sure that their anger is accompanied with justifications. When things get frustrating, make sure you’re communicating in a level-headed manner, with fool-proof explanations so your accuser can’t claim that you’re acting irrational. This is good advice day-to-day advice for black women. But let’s also encourage others  to make work environments inclusive and free of prejudice. If your black, female co-worker gets mad and “goes off,” and you find yourself thinking “typical,” then you need to check yourself. Better yet, be willing to check others. A simple “I think her response was appropriate given the situation,” can go a long way at the water cooler.  Remind yourself, or anyone who makes comments like these, that they aren’t angry because they’re black, they’re angry because it be like that sometimes.

Oatmeal cookies and so-called workplace rookies

By Staff Writer

Twenty-first century feminism is kinda like an oatmeal cookie; it looks pretty sweet, but when you bite into it, it’s still just hardened oatmeal.

Since the beginning of the feminist movement, women have been claiming that they do not need feminism. Less passive dissidents have even suggested that the movement is over and that women don’t need feminism anymore. It’s easy to think this way; in the US, more women are in business and political leadership positions than ever before, the wage gap is (slowly, painstakingly) beginning to close, gender discrimination is technically illegal, women can vote and own property, Not All Men, #NoMakeup, Emma Watson’s speech, birth control’s sheer difficulty (not impossibility!) to access, and Gloria Steinem’s feature alongside tote bags in the spring 2016 Land’s End catalogue. Could it get any better for women? I mean, it could. It really could. But some women don’t think so.
“TOP GIRLS?”, published by Angela McRobbie in 2007, explores the ways that post-feminism has constructed a “correct” and “incorrect” professional woman. She argues that the attitude that feminism is over, or no longer needed (known as post-feminism), is actually a signifier of gender re-entrenchment: the process of defying gender norms in a way that paradoxically reassert masculine dominance. When successful women take on masculine behaviors in the workplace, their performance of masculinity highlights their commitment to performing their gender and ironically harms women who can’t or won’t act out these same masculine behaviors.

So no, it’s not bad that you wear a power suit to work while another woman wears a dress. Your power suit, instead, highlights that you are a woman with a higher achievement capacity, creating a dangerous hierarchy of workplace-acceptable women. 

An easier breakdown of this:
Dianne has short, cropped hair. She spends little time on care work, she delegates non-essential tasks, and does not talk about her personal life while in the office. She wears a power suit. Every. Day. She does not have any kids. Dianne is a feminist.

But meet Jane. Jane has long hair, and wears blouses. She does care work around the office, does not actively take credit for her work, and often asks “is there anything I can do to help you?”. She has two children, and their pictures are all over her desk. She had to take a day off once last year to stay home with one of them when they were sick. Jane is a feminist.

Both of these women are good workers, and could probably perform the same tasks to the same degree of adequacy. But, Dianne is regarded as having more capacity to achieve. In the competitive meritocracy of feminism, Jane just doesn’t measure up. Dianne’s ability to adopt masculine social and professional styles in the workplace is both a product of the feminist movement, and the success thereof a signal of postfeminism dawn. Women like Jane cannot succeed under current patriarchal structures that are perpetuated by successful post-feminist examples like Dianne.

“But I love blazers!”

I hear ya. But, the problem isn’t solved by eliminating this “top girl” who performs masculinity in the office. Instead, the fix is to regard femininity and the feminine as equal to masculinity and the masculine.

Feminism, in its most basic sense, means granting women political, social, and economic equality with men; and by definition, that means valuing femininity as much as masculinity. In order for women’s continued growth, we must catch ourselves when we judge other women for acting “too feminine” or valuing a woman with masculine behaviors more than an equally competent woman with feminine behaviors.

You don’t have to rock femininity, but you can’t knock it either; instead, use your new knowledge of gender re-entrenchment to specifically empower and speak up for individuals who perform femininity.  

High-power humor

By Rachel Garretson

Laughing is good for us. We all know that. It reduces stress, it increases productivity, and it can be used to reduce conflict. These are all reasons to get giggling in life and at work, but we want to introduce you to a few more targeted and lesser-known ways humor is used in the workplace.

Jacqueline Watts conducted a two-pronged study analyzing how women use humor in a male dominated industry like the UK civil engineering profession. The first was an ethnographic study, which is a method that uses long term immersion in a culture to learn more about the beliefs, values and practices of the culture. For the second study, she conducted 31 interviews with U.K. women in various civil engineering positions.

What she focused on was three distinct ways in which women and men use humor in the workplace.

The first way was humor as a tool for resistance. Groups with limited agency like minorities (hint: women!) employed this strategy against dominant power structures. But this can be any group when applied to real-life scenarios.  Watts gives one example of construction workers mimicking the site foremen, or younger employees teasing their older counterparts about technology. This kind of humor lets us challenge inferior status within organizational power structures in an acceptable way, as long as we don’t push too far.

While resistance humor is something all of us use, humor as refuge is something Watts found to be more specific. Refuge humor, almost exclusively used by minorities, was (and is) used to create a safe space, a shared community. It was built upon a common position of relative weakness. In Watts’s study focusing on women in the male dominated engineering sector, female construction workers found comfort in engaging in innocent gossip with the secretarial staff (almost all women). The opportunity to engage in light hearted banter eased the burden of being a minority.

The third type that Watts presents is not so good: humor as exclusion. While women know humor as a tool for exclusion is definitely not an exclusively male trait, Watts found that men used humor to make women a distinct other. This strategy  often challenged women’s professional credibility but are couched as jokes…that it was just “teasing”. The problem is that when these types of jokes are consistently aimed at women, it lumps them together and solidifies a possibly unconscious “us versus them” mentality. This can really wear a woman down. The best coping mechanism is to not internalize it. How?  Maybe strategy #1 and #2 can help.

Sometimes women who experience exclusion take on partial responsibility by saying they aren’t presenting a professional enough image. “It was what I was wearing or how I acted.”Guilty of this? Stop! You know how badass you are. If you don’t, have someone remind you.

Humor is a great tool in the workplace, but don’t let the bad banter get you down. So keep on loling, lmaoing, and rofling. You’ve earned it.

I see London, I see France, I see…

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Me in France in fall of 2016, gracefully walking myself away from all of that gender inequality nonsense.

By Eliana Huffman

I see London, I see France, I see gender inequality all over the darn workplace. Case in point? At one French company in particular that I’m going analyze for you for the next 500 words.

Lady boss researchers Cécile Guillaume and Sophie Pochic interviewed 60 people, of either top management positions or ranked as “top potential”, within a large French company on the issue of women’s ability to access top positions and corporate diversity in general. They combined  interviews with secondary informationHR and workplace statistics provided by the company’s private databasefor analysis.

In short, the researchers confirmed that the glass ceiling is very real; women who worked at the company faced a whole lot of barriers to success that men didn’t. Some of the biggest ones? Promotions later in their tenure with the company than men, little support for employees who chose to raise a family (tackling child care and family work is a role that is usually socially prescribed to women), and being considered less educated for attending liberal arts schools even if the subjects were functionally transferrablefor example, being frowned upon for having a B.A. in Public Relations even if a B.B.A. in Marketing would produce a nearly identical skillset.

Additionally, almost double the amount of women as men in the company were partnered with someone who also worked for the organization. Those women consistently held lower rankings in the organization than their spouse, and did more family work at home. So in the wise words of Billy Rae Cyruswhat to heck? This implied that the organizational climate was more favorable towards men, even plucked from a partnership where both spouses worked full-time professionally, and obviously had the same socioeconomic status.

Now let’s talk about what this means for us. What can we do to stop organizations like this one from hindering women so much? And what is the greater impact that we can have for gender equality long-term?

We can start with paid family leave policies. Paid family leave has been proven to reduce the wage gap, help women be more productive at work, and boost their salaries in the long run.

And with this knowledge, how can men do their part to reduce the wage gap and make the workplace more friendly towards women? Well, easily enough, they can do the laundry, be there to take dinner out of the oven, change diapers or pick up around the house. All of these things reduce the amount of time women have to spend on housework and plus, contributing equally like this might increase men’s own relationship satisfaction and benefit them, too.

We can also vouch for greater HR training to teach recruiters the skill sets that different degrees and institutions of learning bring to the table, and spread information about the financial, and organizational, benefits of having people with great soft skills/feminine communication styles in the office.

So yeah, there’s London…there’s France…and do I see a beaconing horizon of hope over in there in the distance? Yep, that is definitely a beaconing horizon of hope. Let’s figure out how to get a little closer.

Should men be allowed at women’s marches?

Should men be allowed at women’s marches? Well obviously, they should.

But, if you’re like me, after the women’s march you committed an age-old atrocity: giving men more credit for doing the same (or even less) work as women.

Men who went to the Women’s March on Washington and elsewhere got a lot of credit, acclaim, and Facebook shares simply for being men at a women’s march. How hip, how cool, how modern ~male feminist~ of them to opt into something that supports women.
Eyeroll, eyeroll, eyeroll.  

Just as in anything else, women do not get as much credit as men for doing the exact same thing.

But before we go any further, we need to establish that this is not an attack on men who are allies or consider themselves “male feminists”. Allying yourself with protests and advocacy groups is difficult for anyone, even those with the most social power. If you are one of the male march attendees, thank you for your participation, passion, and gumption. Now, let’s take a closer look at your role.

Feminist scholars and marchers have asked: should men even be allowed at women’s movement protests and marches? What impacts do men have in women’s spaces? How do they orient themselves within movements? These are easy questions to ask if you’ve ever wondered what men give to or get out of feminism.

According to Kelsey Kretschmer and Kristin Barber (2016), there are answers to all three of these questions. Their research analyzed newspaper coverage of Take Back the Night and Slutwalk events, two recurrent feminist marches that protest sexual assault and sexual violence against women as well as victim blaming.

At a basic level, their research revealed that keeping men out creates more media attention for these events.

First, movement boundariesevent boundaries (or declarations of the in and out crowd) are as old as feminism, and have been used along lines of race, gender, sexuality, age, and ability. Kinda like the VIP section at a club, or eating with the popular kids in middle school; declaring in and out crowds creates power where power did not exist before. And, those who are declared ‘in’ are given power they might not have had previously. In everyday life, women are not part of this in-crowd. Giving them this social power is key to healthy protest and sustained marches.

But declaring women in sometimes means declaring men out. Take Back the Night (TBTN), for instance, has historically flipped the script of public protest by distinctly asking men to not participate because it would shift the center of focus away from women’s issues. However, this sharp event boundary almost always garners media attention, and allows organizers to highlight their core issues and demands. TBTN events that did not specify participant gender typically had less media coverage, if any at all.

Uninviting men can be better for the march in terms of media coverage, but also allows men to re-assert themselves as a group who inherently deserve to be permitted in the space.

By not including men in order to keep focus on women’s issues, organizers gave men a platform to have their opposition voiced. The focus cannot be shifted away from men.

Second,  Kretschmer and Barber conclude that (not including counter-protesters and non-participants) men orient themselves in three distinct ways in women’s marches:

Men as allies:
“I can’t believe this happens, and I am here because I want it to stop happening.”

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Men as victims:
“I can’t believe this happens to you. It happens to me too. We can work together to stop it.”

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Modern organizers of TBTN and Slutwalk have begun to shift focus away from violence against women, and toward male violence against all people because of these identities.

Men as co-opters:
“I can’t believe this happens! But it is important for me to be here to show that not all men…”
“I am here today because I think that men get a bad rap…”
“I’m not like other men…”
“Men also have it pretty tough…”

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Co-opting is bad for the co-opter and the co-opted because it unnecessarily and ineffectively disqualifies what is being protested, without actually solving anybody’s problem.

If you’re a man with a feminist plan (and we hope you are!), it may be time for you to evaluate your role in the movement if you have ever fallen into the trap of co-opting. If you find yourself in a space created by and for women, use your voice not to speak over the voices of said women but to instead help amplify theirs. While men’s issues absolutely deserve to be heard, consider the context in which you want to deliver these messages; there’s no reason men’s voices need to compete with or broadcast over top of women’s in a space designed for women.