Empowerment

Read Part of Amber Tamblyn’s “Male Ally Manifesto”

"Below is a Male Ally Manifesto for every kind of man, be it your boss, your friend, your partner, or your husband."

Amber Tamblyn, an actor, filmmaker, activist, and Time’s Up co-founder, wants to show how men can be better allies to women in a time of deep divisions within the feminist movement and the country. 

Tamblyn released her book, “Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution” in 2019 about her exploration of feminism after a personal low period. She uses her own and other women’s experiences to discuss misogyny and discrimination, reproductive rights and sexual assault, white feminism and pay parity.

But the book isn’t just for women. One of Amber’s favorite sections of her book is the “Male Ally Manifesto” – a guideline for men to be better allies and support systems to women. The following is an excerpt from her book:  

AT THE END OF 2017, a few months after millions of women told their stories of sexual harassment and assault across the world, my friend, the actor Ryan Reynolds, said to me, “I get it. I get what women are asking for right now. They would like us to back off and sit down and be quiet for a change while they figure out what they need. You don’t need us giving you our opinions. You need us to take a time-out. Then once you’ve figured out what you need from us, you’ll tell us, and we’ll need to get on board and support you.” I blinked rapidly and thought, Yes, my favorite man-feminist, yes. That is exactly correct. 

Below is a Male Ally Manifesto for every kind of man, be it your boss, your friend, your partner, or your husband. Here are what I think are the five most important ways in which men can be proactive peers and help to create a more balanced world for women, but also for men.

1. Listen more than you assert. Read the emotional room and see what women need, not what you think they need based on your opinions. Support the efforts for equality and change being led by women—most especially women of color and in the LGBTQIA community. Let them lead the charge; don’t lead by taking charge. 

2. No matter what your job title is, if there is a woman in your field of work who is doing the exact same job you are doing, tell her how much money you make and then do something about it when you realize how much more you are being paid. Men earn almost double women’s salaries and almost triple the amount made by women of color. The pay gap between genders and races in America is indicative of the overall equality gap in America, and one of the best ways men can help level it out is by being transparent about their income. Talk to your bosses about getting women additional pay, or support the efforts of a woman in your field trying to get paid more. Make space for women to be on staff and make sure they are paid not just what they deserve, but what their potential is, the same way you would nurture young men’s potential. Ask your CEOs, your chairs, your managers, your directors, your staffers to include women in their rooms.

3. If you see something, say something. If a woman is being harassed, bullied, or silenced in your presence, have a zero-tolerance policy. Don’t tell yourself it’s their problem to solve. Workplace harassment and assault can often be ended if someone of parallel privilege and power does something about it. Put your neck out on the line for those who, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said, live with feet on their necks. When more women are in positions of power and there is equal representation in the room, there is less space for the abuse of power, physical or otherwise.

4. Put your money where your matriarchs are. Support organizations and causes that help to build and strengthen the next generation of women, from politics to creative writing. Organizations such as the Pink Door Writing Retreat, TWOCC (Trans Women of Color Collective), EMILY’s List, Girls Rock, Time’s Up, and Jack Jones Literary Arts, to name a few.

5) When it comes to men being accused of bad behavior, leave Sir William Garrow and his ancient law to the messy American justice system and instead listen to the rational and reasonable intelligence of women like Roxane Gay. On whether or not she believes Woody Allen did or did not molest his daughter, Dylan Farrow, she once wrote: “I know where I stand and why. I know I would rather stand where I stand and eventually be proven wrong than support Woody Allen and eventually be proven wrong.” In other words: Err on the side of women, not on the side of your brethren.

ICYMI: During the first Women's March in 2017, NowThis sent one of our correspondents to find out from women how men can be better allies. Watch it below: