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sexism

Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.



Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.


The party was a house party.

One of those parties people throw if they're renting a good-sized house in college. You know the type — loud music, Solo cups of beer, and somebody doing something drunk and stupid before the end of the night.

At some point, my friend had occasion to use the bathroom. When he went into the bathroom, he was disgusted to see that the hostess had left a basket of menstrual hygiene products on the counter for guests to use if needed.

Later, when my friend told me about it, he wrinkled his nose and said, “Why would she do that? Guys don't want to see that!"

When I suggested that she was just making them available in case someone needed them, he insisted they could be left in the cabinet or under the counter. Out of sight, anyway.

I wish I'd had, at the time, the ability to articulate what I can now.

To me, this situation is, while relatively benign, a perfect example of male privilege.

A man walks into the bathroom and sees a reminder that people have periods. And he's disgusted. He wants that evidence hidden away because it offends his senses. How dare the hostess so blatantly present tampons and pads where a man might see them? There's no reason for that!

Someone who gets a period walks into the bathroom and sees that the hostess is being extra considerate. They get it. They know what it's like to have a period start unexpectedly. The feeling of horror because they're probably wearing something they don't want ruined — it is a party after all. The sick embarrassment because someone might notice, especially if they're wearing light-colored clothes, or worse, they sat on the hostess' white couch.

The self-conscious, semi-nauseated feeling of trying to get through a social event after you've exhausted every avenue to get your hands on an emergency pad or tampon, and you're just hoping to God that if you tie your jacket around your waist (you brought one, right?), keep your back to a wall, clench your butt cheeks, squeeze your thighs tightly together, and don't ... move ... at ... all — you might get through the evening, bow out gracefully, and find an all-night convenience store with a public restroom.

Or maybe they came to the party during their period, but didn't bargain for the flow to suddenly get that heavy. Or they desperately need a tampon, but their purse or bag is in a room where a couple is not to be disturbed. Maybe they don't know the hostess well enough to ask if they can use one. Or they don't know anyone at the party well enough to ask. Or they figure they can make do with some wadded up toilet paper or something.

Whatever the case, they walk into the bathroom and hear the hostess saying, “Hey, I know what it's like, and just in case, I've got your back." They see someone saving them from what could be a minor annoyance or a major embarrassment.

The hostess gets it.

The person who just walked into the bathroom? They're either going to see that the person throwing the party is super considerate or they're going to be whispering "thanks to Jesus, Krishna, and whoever else is listening" because that is a basket full of social saviors.

But to the guy who wrinkled his nose, it's still offensive that those terrible little things are on the counter, reminding his delicate sensibilities that the playground part of a person is occasionally unavailable due to a "gross" bodily function that he should never have to think about.

In the grand scheme of things, it's a tiny thing. It's a tiny annoyance for the man and a more significant, but relatively tiny, courtesy for the person with their period. After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have. As a person whose life is partially governed by a fickle uterus that can ruin an evening faster than a submerged iPhone, his story has stuck with me.

How can you be so offended by a small gesture that has zero effect on you, but could make such an enormous difference to the person who needs it?

It occurs to me now that this is a small but effective illustration of how different people can see the world.

It's part of the same thought process that measures a woman's value through her bra size and her willingness to have sex with him — that everything about us is displayed or hidden based on how men perceive them or what he wants to get from us. Unattractive women should be as covered as possible, while attractive ones shouldn't be hiding their assets from male eyes (or hands, or anything else he wishes to use).

A woman who isn't smiling is an affront to him because it detracts from her prettiness, despite the fact that there might be a legitimate reason for her not to smile (or more to the point, there isn't a legitimate reason for her to smile). Her emotional state is irrelevant because she's not being pretty. It's the line of thinking where a man blames anything other than cheerful sexual consent on the woman being a bitch, being a lesbian, or — naturally — being on her period. Everything we do, from our facial expressions to our use of hygiene products, is filtered through the lens of “how it looks to a man.”

It's the line of thinking where a small gesture from one person to another, an assurance that someone else understands and will help without question or judgment, a gesture that could save a person's evening from being ruined is trumped by a man's desire to see an untainted landscape of pretty, smiling women with visible cleavage and bodies that never bleed.

And people wonder why we still need feminism.


This story was written by L.A. Witt and originally appeared on 8.12.16

Photo from Facebook page.

A clever message written on her T-shirt.

A Lawton, Oklahoma, student who goes by the Facebook user name Rose Lynn had the last laugh after being sent home from school for wearing an outfit deemed "distracting." Rose Lynn believes her outfit attracted the attention of school officials because of her figure.

She proved it by posting a photo on Facebook of her modest outfit, which consisted of black leggings, a t-shirt, long cardigan, and boots. In her post, she wrote that she was sent home "because I'm developed farther than the average girl my age," and because she's a "CURVY woman." Rose Lynn also thinks the appropriate response shouldn't have been to tell her to cover up, but to teach boys to "to respect the boundaries of young ladies."


Her father, Lance Miles, agrees with her. "If she was built like a board or as round as a ball she wouldn't have been sent home but [since] she has a figure she was told she had to change," he said in the comments of her Facebook post.

"This is 100 percent on [Lawton Public Schools] because they have left the rule up to interpretation. She has been taught that if you believe in something, do what you must and be prepared for the consequences. She has done that," he continued.

Rose Lynn's post:

"So today I was sent home from class, after being in school for two hours, for my outfit. Because I'm developed farther than the average girl my age, I am required to go home and change... Because I look like a CURVY woman and may distract young boys, I have to miss class and change my outfit.

So once again, society has failed to advocate young ladies, by confining them in a box, where they are stripped from their sense of self respect and self expression, rather than teaching young men to respect the boundaries of young ladies. My response: #Feminism #YoullDistractTheBoys #SocietyIsFailing"
school policy, sexism, women, Oklahoma

The before and after images for following a dress code.

Photo from Facebook page.


On the day Rose Lynn was sent home, she was due to take a 20-minute algebra exam. She asked school officials if she could take the test before changing her outfit, but her request was denied. So the next day, she got her revenge.

Rose Lynn returned to school wearing an oversize t-shirt. On the front she scribbled a quote from school officials in black Sharpie, "It doesn't cover your crotch"; on the back, "You'll distract the boys." That day, Rose Lynn was called to the office and sent home again. This time it wasn't for her outfit but for not wearing her student I.D., which she had left in the classroom after being called to the office.


This article originally appeared on 05.17.19





This is YouTuber and makeup guru Manny Gutierrez.

Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for People.

He's taking the beauty world by storm, one tweet at a time.


Maybelline just recruited Gutierrez to be the face of its new mascara campaign — the very first time the role has ever been given to a man.

From a promotional standpoint, the move was a smart one. Gutierrez has amassed millions of social media fans who follow him for his expert makeup advice and hilarious online presence.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Maybelline New York.

But with all the extra fanfare lately, Gutierrez, who is openly gay, has attracted some unwanted attention too.

On Jan. 6, 2017, conservative blogger Matt Walsh tweeted out a photo of Gutierrez, writing, "Dads, this is why you need to be there to raise your sons."

Dads, this is why you need to be there to raise your sons.pic.twitter.com/8ybirgppKi

Needless to say, Walsh's tweet — which racked up nearly 5,000 favorites and over 1,600 retweets — encapsulates a whole lot of bigotry and ignorance in less than 140 characters.

Walsh's rhetoric wasn't just harmful, though, it was factually incorrect too.

Gutierrez's dad, "Manny Sr.," has been there for the social media star.

In fact, he's been one of Gutierrez's biggest supporters.

After Walsh's example of fragile masculinity went viral, Manny Sr. — who works for his son and is "so proud" of him — decided to throw in his two cents. He wrote a message addressed to Walsh and asked Gutierrez to share it on his social media accounts:

My dad is a fucken SAVAGE, I can't with him pic.twitter.com/iWceEmZ6L4

"Not only am I proud of what [my son] has accomplished, but I'm more proud of the person he has become," Manny Sr. wrote.

"I know the words you speak are from lack of knowing anybody from the LGBT community," he wrote. "If you did, you would soon realize they are some of the most real and kind hearted individuals that walk this planet of ours."

Fortunately, Manny's tweet with his dad's message has spread much further than Walsh's original hateful comment, garnering more than 12,000 retweets and nearly 60,000 favorites.

Gutierrez's dad's love for his son reflects a broader shift in parents who are accepting and supportive of their LGBTQ children.

While the popularity of same-sex marriage doesn't necessarily indicate progress on all queer issues, it does serve as a general barometer to gauge Americans' evolving attitudes on LGBTQ rights. And in that sense, we've come a long way.

Not only has national approval of marriage equality trended upward in recent years — surpassing 60% in 2016 — but, more specifically, parents of a certain generation are coming around to the idea too: A 2016 WedInsights study found that 60% of married same-sex couples reported having emotional support from their parents — up from 46% in 2013.

There are many more Manny Sr.'s out there.

In response to the letter, fans applauded Gutierrez's dad.

Whether it was through an abundance of exclamation points...

...attempts to recruit Gutierrez's dad for public office...

Can we have your dad for president?!

...or sending him a simple message of love via hug.

Fans loved Manny Sr.'s message of inclusion. And that message, of course, wasn't lost on Gutierrez either.

"He's the best," Gutierrez wrote in response to one fan. "[I'm] so lucky to have him."


This article was originally published on 1.18.17


With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men and the feels.


Note: This an excerpt is from Sarah Cooper's book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings.

In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they're not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent.

One way to do that is to alter your leadership style to account for the fragile male ego.


Should men accept powerful women and not feel threatened by them? Yes. Is that asking too much?

IS IT?

Sorry, I didn't mean to get aggressive there. Anyhoo, here are twelve non-threatening leadership strategies for women.

women\u2019s communication, women in business, men

Encourage.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you're telling him what to do and more like you care about his opinions.

Sarah Cooper comedy, women, success

Sharing ideas.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When sharing your ideas, overconfidence is a killer. You don't want your male coworkers to think you're getting all uppity. Instead, downplay your ideas as just "thinking out loud," "throwing something out there," or sharing something "dumb," "random," or "crazy."

emails, comedy, gen

Email requests.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pepper your emails with exclamation marks and emojis so you don't come across as too clear or direct. Your lack of efficient communication will make you seem more approachable.

office politics, men, relationships

Idea sharing.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let's face it, no one might've ever heard it if he hadn't repeated it.

sexism, sexist comments, sexual harassment

Sexism.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside.

threats, non-threatening, mansplain

Mansplain.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men love explaining things. But when he's explaining something and you already know that, it might be tempting to say, "I already know that." Instead, have him explain it to you over and over again. It will make him feel useful and will give you some time to think about how to avoid him in the future.

leadership, work mistakes, hurt feelings

Mistakes.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pointing out a mistake is always risky so it's important to always apologize for noticing the mistake and then make sure that no one thinks you're too sure about it. People will appreciate your "hey what do I know?!" sensibilities.

promotions, management, coworkers

Promotions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Asking your manager for a promotion could make you seem power- hungry, opportunistic, and transparent. Instead, ask a male coworker to vouch for you. Have your coworker tell your manager you'd be great for the role even though you don't really want it. This will make you more likely to actually get that promotion.

rude behavior, ignored, self esteem

Rude.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Sometimes not everyone is properly introduced at the start of a meeting. Don't take it personally even if it happens to you all the time, and certainly don't stop the meeting from moving forward to introduce yourself. Sending a quick note afterward is the best way to introduce yourself without seeming too self-important.

interruptions, resilience,expression

Interruptions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you get interrupted, you might be tempted to just continue talking or even ask if you can finish what you were saying. This is treacherous territory. Instead, simply stop talking. The path of least resistance is silence.

typing, off-putting, work skills

Collaboration.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When collaborating with a man, type using only one finger. Skill and speed are very off-putting.

disagreements, solution, problem solving

Disagreements.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When all else fails, wear a mustache so everyone sees you as more man-like. This will cancel out any need to change your leadership style. In fact, you may even get a quick promotion!

strategies, power dynamics, team player

In conclusion...

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Many women have discovered the secret power of non-threatening leadership. We call it a "secret power" because no one else actually knows about it. We keep our power hidden within ourselves so that it doesn't frighten and intimidate others. That's what makes us the true unsung heroes of the corporate world.

About the Author: Sarah Cooper
Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian, and author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. Her new book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, is out now.

humor, satire, executives

The comedic book cover.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

A satirical take on what it's like to be a woman in the workplace, Cooper draws from her experience as a former executive in the world of tech (she's a former Googler and Yahooer). You can get the book here.


This article was originally published on 3.25.19