An open letter to feminists from grumpy old men

Dear feminists

You feminists and women’s rights activists get a bad rap, and it’s mostly because of how you behave and your tone. Here’s what we men have to say to you women about how to do feminism right to get the best results. You’re welcome.

Pick your moments

Pushing the ideals of feminism shouldn’t be a relentless task for you. Rather than tackling us on changing our attitudes when we’re in a rage about some stupid woman at work, wait until we’re in a good mood — for instance after we’ve had a promotion and you’ve cooked us a nice meal. But please don’t ruin that nice meal by being difficult and aggressive.

Pour us a drink

Two fingers of whisky, two ice cubes, one finger of water. We are far more amenable to difficult notions when we have a dram or two under our belts.

Do not have a drink yourselves

Women become irrational and emotional when they have taken drink. For clarity of communication (and to avoid all sorts of nasty accusations later), we feel it would be better for you to stay sober.

Don’t display any emotion

No matter how sound your argument, no matter how much you believe you’ve been wronged, if you start to sound shrill or get tearful, your points will be immediately disregarded. Displays of negative emotion are in fact powerful enough to undermine any argument you have made previously or ever will again. Be calm and reasonable, like us.

Dress right

Dressing right for effective feminism is hard and we don’t expect you to get it right first time. If you are overweight and come to us in cargo pants and Birkenstocks, you will immediately be downgraded from femi-Nazi to lesbian. If you show us too much cleavage, we’re not going to take you seriously either. Aim rather for sexy but not slutty (we’ve heard you’ve reclaimed that word, and we’re afraid we’re claiming it straight back). Think Christina Hendricks in Mad Men. She’s got all the tits and ass in the world, but she leaves a whole lot to the imagination. And you’d better believe we’re doing the imagining.

Use gentle language

You yourselves have said that feminist doesn’t have to mean unfeminine. So please, calm down on the swearing and try to comport yourselves like ladies. You get better results with honey. And while we’re at it, patriarchy and misogyny are such ugly words. Speak to our specific actions rather than prevailing attitudes wrapped up in pseudo-academia.

Let’s get a realistic definition of ‘rape’ on the table

While we’re on the subject of language, we’re not happy about what you’ve done with rape. This broadened definition is allowing for innocent men who were just being assertive or exercising their marital rights to be damned along with the real rapists. Let’s put rape back where it belongs — defining a forced sexual act by a stranger in a dark alleyway. Otherwise, please use non-consensual sex or not-really-in-the-mood sex to avoid all kinds of confusion and unnecessary accusations.

And as for this ‘rape culture’ nonsense …

We’ve heard the argument that prevention of rape should rely on changing men’s attitudes rather than encouraging women to protect themselves. That’s very admirable, but it requires a change in the status quo, rather than for you to simply respond to things the way that they are. Changing the status quo is hard. Who has that much energy? Rather fight the battles you can win.

Pat yourselves on the back

Really, you’ve done so well. You have the vote. You’re supposed to get equal pay. We’re even supposed to look the other way when you take three to six months off work to sit at home and do nothing after you’ve had a baby. There are women CEOs with children, for God’s sake. So go and make yourselves a cup of tea and put your feet up for 10 minutes. You’ve done enough; you don’t need to do it all.

Don’t let feminism interfere with your other role

It’s lovely that you have a little cause that you’re behind. It’s important for women to have interests outside the home (and workplace now, we suppose). But please don’t let this ideology of yours interfere with the basic structures of the family. If you’re out marching and campaigning and writing letters and shaking things up on social media, who will look after the children? Who?

We believe that if you consult this list carefully and take some of these suggestions to heart, you will find that men will become far more accommodating to feminism. It may not be quite the feminism you had envisioned, but it’s one that should please all concerned parties.

Yours sincerely,

The men

Disclaimer: This is written by a woman. It is satire. Please do not print it out and distribute it at your patriarchal misogyny rallies.

@georginaguedes on Twitter

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