Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro
i.e., I Can’t Believe You Guys Are Being for Real
by Adrian & Emilyn with special thanks to Christa.
DISCLAIMER: We recognize that the tone of this piece is probably a little aggressive or angry. That’s because we were really angry and upset and in a bad place when we wrote it. We’ve come back a few months later, removed some of the profanity, and tried to be not so confrontational. But it was also important for us to be able to express these things that we’ve felt for so long, and haven’t been empowered to say. So please, when you’re reading this, try not to get defensive, and try to acknowledge where we were when we wrote this.
dude bro: (noun) \ˈdüd \ˈbrō
1. a gender-normative male-bodied person who acts in a patriarchal way
2. one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible
1. something/someone with the qualities of a dude bro
2. dominated by men
cisgender: (noun.) (in this piece we use cismale/cismen/cisdude)
1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth
- Stop prowling (also, stop denying it when you are).
- Stop lying to yourself — you’re not a good feminist.
- STFU&L (shut the fuck up and listen).
- STFU&SPTL (shut the fuck up and stop pretending to listen).
- Stop kidding yourselves. And stop kidding women. Stop pretending to understand women, women’s issues, and feminism.
- Stop doing that manly thing where you feel you need to take charge and fix everything (specifically if you are not involved in the situation), because you’re really only dealing with it in the worst way possible.
- If you’re having issues with women, don’t go to men to talk about it; they’re not gonna give you real insight into what women think.
- If you’re having issues with men, don’t expect women to solve y’alls problems for y’all.
- Stop judging women / your female friends based on whether they will ever sleep with you.
- Don’t befriend trans folks/genderqueer folks/women just to get them to sleep with you (or be upfront if those are your intentions). AND don’t just stop talking to them because you realize that they don’t want to sleep with you (don’t think we don’t notice). Perhaps you should entertain the idea that they just want to be your platonic friend?!??!?!?
- Don’t assume that trans folks/genderqueer folks/women need mentorship, leadership, education, etc. by you.
- Acknowledge your emotions. keep a journal, work on your shit, talk about your feelings with other men, and don’t just dump all your feelings on your (least?) favorite female and/or genderqueer and/or trans friend(s).
- Keep yourself accountable to yourself. Hold other men accountable. Don’t expect women/queer/trans folks to hold yr hand, kiss yr ass, and calmly and politely explain to you why you’re being hurtful and how you can change.
- Realize that when trans folks/women/genderqueer folks call you out, they do it out of a place of love. (Seriously, if we didn’t care about you guys, we wouldn’t be trying to help you change, we’d be getting you out of our lives.)
- If you’re having a conversation about theory, pay attention to who’s talking. If you look around and realize that cismen are the only ones talking, acknowledge that, and then stop and think about why that’s happening. (Also, check to see if there’s a genderqueer person/woman/trans person in the kitchen cooking food for everyone while you’re having that discussion. If there is, for god’s sake, help them!)
- It is not necessary to post long diatribes about links people post on facebook or similar venues. We really don’t need a pissing match on our wall and we have more important things to do than listen to your opinion on everything or read the billion links you suggest we read.
- When someone tells you that you’re being patriarchal or hurtful, that you’re making them feel uncomfortable, etc… listen attentively, don’t get defensive, and don’t make excuses.
- The only thing worse than a dudely dude is a dudely dude who complains about other men being dudely dudes. (Does that sentence even make sense? Emilyn and Adrian think so, and that’s all that matters, right?)
- Stop pretending you’re soooo totally over your patriarchy. You’re not. You never will be. It is a process you will always need to work on. Accept that. No one likes a self-righteous dude bro.
- Please try to listen to what we’re saying, not how we’re saying it. (i.e., Don’t play the tone police. No one likes cops.)
- Don’t expect women to be supportive of all your decisions; if they are, recognize that it doesn’t mean that the whole feminist community thinks it’s okay, too.
- If we ask you a question, don’t assume we don’t know any information on the topic as a whole — we didn’t ask for a whole fucking history report.
- Don’t be emotionally supportive only when it suits you–NO STRINGS ATTACHED!??!
- Just because you give me emotional support, doesn’t mean I need to give you emotional support.
- Don’t come over for social engagements and expect everyone to be in an organizing mindset.
- Recognize that being emotionally supportive is emotionally draining, and that people can’t do it for you 24/7.
- Understand that there ain’t nothing like female/trans/genderqueer companionship, that we sometimes need to get away from cismen, and that it’s nothing personal.
- Remember that calling yourself a feminist doesn’t mean much on a practical level. Recognize that it doesn’t mean women/trans folks will automatically trust you, talk to you about feminist/women’s issues, sleep with you, etc.
- Don’t bother getting into pissing matches over who’s a better feminist or who’s better about women’s/queer/trans issues. It just makes you look like a jerk.
- Don’t use feminism as a pick-up line.
- Pay attention to how often you interrupt and/or talk over women/trans folks/genderqueer folks. Don’t dominate conversations.
- Don’t try to lead women’s events or to dictate feminist politics. Allies are great, but allies support by following, not leading.
- Respect the ways in which women (and other oppressed folks) deal with their oppression. (e.g., Don’t try to tell us that joking about our oppression is inappropriate, or that we should do X, Y, or Z to combat our own oppression.)