How to talk to men about “women’s issues”

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Photos: Female Collective

The glass ceiling didn’t exactly shatter on Election Day like many wanted it to—and now, perhaps more than ever, what the future holds for rights like equal pay, access to birth control, abortion, and paid family leave (to name a few) is uncertain. These topics are often labeled as “women’s issues,” but if you’re a feminist (AKA believe in equal rights for all people), you already know these are human issues.

So, how can you get everyone to join you in raising their voices? And what do you do when you come across a guy who just does not get it?

Female Collective founder Candace Reels has some advice. As the founder of an awesome girl-powered clothing line and website, she has to explain its mission to a wide range of listeners. And she’s learned a thing or two about getting your point across to anyone.

Scroll down for three tips on how to talk to men about “women’s issues.”
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Female Collective

1. Make it personal

When the subjects of paid family leave, domestic abuse, or access to birth control come up, chances are, there will somehow always be that guy who wants to know why he should care. People tend to be self-interested—they want to know how something will affect them before they get behind it.

Reels’ advice? Get personal. “I’ve found that men listen more if you say something like, ‘How would you like it if your wife, girlfriend, sister, or daughter had to put up with this?'” she says. It provides a tangible example of how positive (or negative) change will affect those closest to them. 


Female Collective

2. Suggest ways they can help

After you get the guy you’re talking to fired up, be prepared to offer up ways he can get involved—after all, says Reels, most men are “fixers” by nature. “First, one thing men can do to further women’s rights is to simply speak up about them,” she says. “A lot of people are afraid to say something because they don’t feel they know the issues well enough. But speaking out shows you are someone who cares about women’s rights.”

To that end, she also says guys should do their research, becoming informed about the biggest obstacles women today face—paying close attention to rights and health care access that are in jeopardy come Inauguration Day. Then, they’ll know where their time, money, and voice will be best utilized.


Female Collective

3. Pick your battles

So what about the inevitable sexist jerks you might come across? Reels has seen her fair share of those, and her advice is to just let it go—as hard as it may be. “Sometimes, you just have to tell yourself, okay, this person is not ready to hear what I’m saying right now. At least they know they can come to me when they are ready to start asking questions,” she says. “Women’s issues are front and center right now—and they affect everyone.”

Want to do something proactive this January? Join the Women’s March on Washington. And if you’re finding that your news feed has become a trigger, don’t worry: This app blacks out every photo of Trump on your computer.

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