December 11, 2014
It is time for a tough conversation when labeling oneself as an “ally” co-opts movements that seek genuine unity. As such, Abi Bechtel discusses her hope for her sons to grow up as men who do not merely apply a label to themselves, but rather demonstrate genuine unity with marginalized groups.
Ms. Bechtel also provides much needed directives for people of privilege who want to support those who experience systemic discrimination and prejudicial antagonism.
“Sometimes the best way a privileged person can act in solidarity with oppressed people is to have the hard conversations with fellow privileged people so that the oppressed people don’t always have to do it. Dealing with patriarchy on a daily basis is already emotionally draining; I don’t want to be the person who has to explain rape culture to my male classmates, or point out why the joke someone made was offensive and misogynistic, or defend myself for being angry about microaggressions. This is a place where men who want to be ‘allies’ can step up and educate their peers, call out misogyny, and (as Bethany Suckrow put it) ‘directly address the [garbage] happening in their own spheres of influence.’”