Guys. Fellas. Good, decent men. I’ma need you to do me a solid, and I’ll explain why.
If you are ever out & about, and you see a dudebro approach a woman he clearly doesn’t know, and, with no other context, you hear this dudebro ask said woman (say for example someone with insomnia walks to her local 7-11 to buy some juice at 4:30 in the morning and a dudebro is behind the counter & does exactly this): “Do you have a boyfriend?” Please, please, for the love of whatever, PLEASE, step up, give him that fellow dudebro-to-dudebro look, and say, “Dude, don’t do that. It’s creepy. Just let the lady buy her juice in peace.”
1. No really, it’s just creep AF. Trust me. The answer to that question is alway “Yes.” because that shuts down the conversation. “No.” invites a conversation I have no earthy desire to have with dudebro. “Go fuck yourself” or any other honest answer usually results in, at best, “Fuck you, bitch, why ya gotta be like that.” and at worst, well, we’ve all seen the news stories.
2. Honestly, some guys really don’t know that this is not okay, and dudes listen to other dudes because patriarchy and sexism and shit. It is not my job as a woman to put myself at risk of physical harm to try and explain this to dudebro (though sometimes I absolutely do, because I’m old and I don’t give a fuck, because I want things to be better for the younger generation, and because obviously no one else in their lives is stepping up & telling them this. Toxic masculinity, et cetera, et cetera.)
3. Bystander intervention. Do the fucking work. If you know it’s wrong, and you don’t do anything to stop it, you are part of the problem.*
In other news, Go Smart Pressed Organic Juice is on sale at 7-11 right now, and it’s really fucking good.
*So here is a thing that is helpful for putting this into perspective, which I learned from a panel about White allies supporting POC (sadly, and of course, I was one of only 3 White people in the room, which is obviously part of the problem–as White people we need to seek out these spaces/educational opportunities proactively):
When you think about the risk you, as a White male, are taking in such a situation, take note of how uncomfortable and threatened you feel. Think about how your pulse is quickening. How your brain is kicking into fight or flight mode.
Now pause for just a second.
That level of feeling uncomfortable and threatened IN THAT MOMENT is what minorities (women, POC, immigrants, LGBTQ, et cetera) feel EVERY DAY, for just existing as we are.
So that might help you decide whether or not it is worth risking your own comfort/safety for a moment. It has certainly helped me, when faced with the decision to participate in bystander intervention or to talk through sexism with a street harasser.
It’s hard work, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to systematic systems of suppression and discrimination and sexism that are so ingrained in our culture, and that minorities suffer the consequences of every single minute of every single day.