Despite supporting survivors, working against rape culture, and participating in the local feminist community for years, I had never really thought of myself as an activist or even as someone really worthy of speaking out. I felt unsure of myself, and didn’t want to be a know-it-all white guy speaking up just to feel important. But this sense of myself has recently begun to change.
I was moved last November after reading about Jen Kirkman, a comedian profiled on Jezebel who went on a Twitter strike until there was more public support from men about online harassment of women. She created the site MA’AM: Men Aligned Against Misogyny to give men a space to speak out and voice their dislike for sexist behavior. Jen described her frustration with her male friends’ reluctance to publicly challenge other men’s hateful, belittling comments (such as: “shut up, jen, you’re a bummer, go back to being hot or maybe funny for once in your life”), instead sending her private messages to voice their discontent. However, as the article’s author asserts, “Private assurances of support don’t cut it anymore. It’s time for the dudes to step up, speak out, and call out the creepers and the critics who’ve made the web such a uniquely hostile environment for women who dare to be smart, to be political, to be funny.”