Advice for Men From Men Who Want to Protect Women From Toxic Men

A few days ago, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) posted a video of a man harassing and insulting her on the steps to the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Parliament.

Apart from the racist and sexist comments of this toxic man, it also stood out that the Capitol security officers did not react. AOC commented that this was no longer anything unusual for them, as they had known at least since the January 7, 2021 riots, when a mob incited by Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, that security officers responsible for the safety of congressmen and senators had in some cases actively participated.

Also in response, she asked on Instagram what suggestions “good men” had for encouraging reluctant men to take action against toxic men and for helping and protecting affected women who are insulted, harassed or threatened by toxic men. And here’s what they said:

Standing up for the right thing won’t make you look stupid.

Take a stand. Don’t be idle, but don’t be aggressive either. Defendin =/= escalation

Don’t look for approval just do what’s right, say something, do something, don’t do nothing.

Make it a point with friends to confront together if we run into people like this. Power in numbers.

Break the veneer of normalcy FAST. Be direct, be serious, be confrontational – immediately.

If “it’s just a joke” you respond: “I don’t get it. Explain it to me.”

Speak up, make it awkward, make the jerk uncomfortable, check in on the recipient.

Even if you don’t what what to say, taking the focus off the victim for any amount of time is a good thing.

Stand up to your friends and family as you would to strangers.

Challenging power when you havr that same power will feel uncomfortable at first!

There is absolutely nothing masculine about disrespecting others. It makes you smaller

Doing the right thing is stressful, but always feels good, and will earn respect from those that matter.

Physically placing yourself between them and acting oblivious seems to help.

Halt these convso in men-only spaces and groups, if you stop it there, it stops it elsewhere.

Think, in that moment, how guilty you’ll feel if it escalates and you did nothing to stop it.

Just do it. As long as there aren’t fatal mistakes, you develop and refine your interventions over time.

Speak up as soo as possible, especially if it’s your friends, they won’t do it again if you voice it.

Address it there and utilize shame as a tool to drive the point home.

If it’s a joke, as them to explain in detail why it’s funny.

You can yell “NOT COOL BRO” while walking past.away and still make a difference.

I know my son would have gotten in his face. He is incredibly intelligent and hates misogyny.

Take a bystander intervention training. It literally can help diffuse a dangerous situation.

Took me ages to realise masculinity didn’t have to be the 60s definition of “manly.”

Learning from women during college helped me a lot. I’m working on creating safe spaces for women.

Masculinity doesn’t subjugate others, insecurities do.

Its still extremely hard, but trying to be OK sharing emotions / feelings.

Parents raised me homophobic, but now I hang out with LGBTQ people and they are cool people.

To be a man is to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Learning that allowed me to be a better man.

Was lucky enough to be in positive masculinity programs in high school.

As a trans guy it’s easy to feel like I need to do that to belong. Trying to resist and be better.

My moment was years ago being confronted, just like people are saying.

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