I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but I just wanted to put up a quick post about the Stop Street Harassment event last night with Holly Kearl at The University of Iowa. Despite some technical difficulties, the event went really well and we had pretty good attendance. I am so grateful that Holly was able to stop by and share her expertise about street harassment. She was wonderful to work with and I hope we can continue building on what we accomplished last night. Here is an article about the event in The Daily Iowan.
Holly introduced me to this cartoon last night. What a great illustration about the incorrect assumption that street harassment is just a compliment, which minimizes the negative impact on the recipient. The artist is Barry Deutsch. You can find this work and more by him, here. Please consider supporting his work. He is someone who is trying to raise awareness about these issues through his art.
I’ll post a more thorough review about last night’s event and compile some resources about street harassment in a longer post later this weekend. In the meantime, stop by Holly’s blog www.stopstreetharassment.com to learn more.
A clip went out over the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity listserv the other day. It is a video by Levni Yilmaz from his YouTube channel Tales of Mere Existence. I had never seen any of Yilmaz’s material before and was really impressed by the quality and content of the clips. He has a great style that involves deadpan humor mixed with existential issues. I found several clips that would be great discussion starters when working with or teaching about men’s issues and masculinities. Of the few clips I have watched, Yilmaz addressed being a boyfriend, the evolution of his relationship with his father, the grief and loss that follows a breakup, how he learned about girls, and messages about masculinity.
The particular clip that went out over the listserv was his How to be a man? clip below. Two lines from the clip that struck me are:
- A real should be able to close one eye, look at the position of the sun and be able to tell you what time it is
- So far being a man doesn’t feel much different from being an old kid
Click Read More for more clips from Tales of Mere Existence and a brief exercise about societal definitions about masculinity.
When most people see something inappropriate, they often do feel bad and wish that they could help. The most common excuses I hear from participants in our workshops is “I don’t know what to say” or “I don’t know how to bring it up.” Offering support to someone you suspect experienced something harmful or inappropriate is not difficult. It might be scary and unfamiliar but it doesn’t involve a lot of complicated steps.
All you need to do is ask and listen. Let them know what you thought you saw and ask how it affected them. Express concern but don’t assume that they need or want your help. Ask if and how you can help. Leave it up to them. Even if they don’t want your help, they know that someone cared enough to ask and there is support if they need it. If they are not sure what to do, help them explore their options. Direct them to someone that knows more about it then you do. Support them in their decision, even if you would make a different choice.
So what does it actually look like? Here are some examples of how to start this conversation.
- Is everything alright?
- I’ve been thinking about what happened at (class/work/group/lunch) yesterday? What did you think about it?
- This may not be any of my business, but are you ok?
- Sorry to interrupt, but do you need any help?
- I saw what happened and no one deserves to be treated like that.
- Is there anything I can do to help?
- Do you want to talk about it?
- I’m sorry that happened.
- Were you bothered by…?
- If you want to talk about it, I’m here.
It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. I’ve had people break down and cry and I’ve had people tell me to mind my own business. I perform interventions because creating a safer community means that members of that community need to be active in confronting inappropriate behaviors, holding offenders accountable and offering support and services to survivors. It also involves modeling bystander interventions for those around you. I would want someone to offer support to me or someone I cared about. I also do it because I was tired of remaining silent and then feeling like crap afterwards.
If you aren’t sure if someone needs help, ask!
Here is part two of yesterday’s comic post.
Update: Based on some feedback about the eerie similarity to XKCD’s stick figures…I drew my own! Thanks for the feedback.