…Rightly, we’re starting to demand justice for our sisters. But how often do we stop and think about how we, as individuals, can change the reality of violence? Instead of asking “What are they doing about it?”, do we ever ask “What are we doing about it”? And how often do we take an opportunity to speak about the issue with our friends and family, or stand together and say publicly that we believe in the safety and happiness of all women?…
How do I manage conflict in my relationship?
Of course, there will always be disagreements in any partnership, but when that happens, how do I deal with it? Do I shout and swear and call my partner names, or threaten her or hit her so that I get my own way? Or do I sit down with her and try to calmly work it out? In other words, do I truly seek to love and be loved, or do I just want to be obeyed?
Do I show my sons and daughters what respect and equality really mean by trying to live a respectful life myself?
Do I do my fair share of the housework? Do I take an active role in nurturing my kids instead of just being a good-time dad? Do I treat my partner with kindness and respect by valuing her contributions and making space for her interests? Do I show my kids that a man doesn’t have to be the tough-guy in control of every situation? And do I celebrate the achievements of my boys and girls equally (or is a win in the footy somehow better than a win in netball)?
Do I talk to my kids about their world?
We know that children these days are bombarded with movies and games and ads and websites and instagrams that portray men as all-powerful warriors and studs, while portraying women as either meek nurturers or man-obsessed nymphos. Kids take those messages in. Of course, we can’t stop them from absorbing this stuff, but we can try to teach them that these images are a fiction, that real life isn’t like that, and that there are different ways to be a real man or an authentic woman. We can teach them what it means to give and expect respect.
Do I ever say anything to my friends or colleagues when they speak about women, or to women, in ways that I know are out of line?
I mean, we all know that feeling of embarrassment when one of our mates makes a joke that goes too far, or when someone runs down their partner in a really awful way, or calls out something really crass to a woman passing by. But do we ever pluck up the courage to actually say, “Hey mate, come on…”? Do I ever actually talk with my mates about this stuff at all?
Do I truly believe that men and women are equal, even if we’re different?
Do I really hope for a world where all the women I love get the same opportunities for happiness, success and safety that I want myself? Or do I secretly think that men have a special place of privilege in this world that women will never share?