What Men Should Know About #MeToo: It’s About Them

What Men Should Know About #MeToo: It’s About Them

“Here’s what men don’t get about the #MeToo movement: It is not about women, it’s about us,” Wade Davis, a former N.F.L. player turned educator and activist, said at the New Rules Summit. By “us” he meant men.

Women “are laying themselves bare to awaken us, so we can do better,” he said to a crowd attending the panel “How to Be a Male Ally.” The two-day conference, held in Brooklyn, focused on gender and the workplace.

Michael Ian Black, a comedian who is outspoken on social justice issues and politics, joined Mr. Davis on stage. Mr. Black — who earlier this year wrote about “the brokenness of the country’s boys” in a New York Times Op-Ed called “The Boys Are Not All Right”— spoke in personal terms about advising his teenage son about boundaries, consent and ego.

“There will be girls in your life who you like, who don’t like you back,” Mr. Black said he had told his son. “And that’s O.K. You’re enough. Let it go.”

Mr. Davis, who speaks at colleges about sexual consent, said that parents often do not discuss this issue with their children, especially their sons, because they do not believe their child is capable of sexually assaulting someone. “Parents have a huge responsibility to talk to their children about consent as soon as possible,” he said.

When asked by a man from the audience what men and boys can actively do to educate themselves, Mr. Davis said they need to “spend a lot of time reading books about women, written by women.”

In school, boys are not educated about women’s lives, he said. Instead, boys are taught that men have created our world, and that frames their thinking and decision-making. On top of that, Mr. Davis said, every day is an opportunity to be a better ally to women, particularly if men can put their pride aside and take responsibility if they behave badly.

“I’m sick and tired of people saying, ‘He’s a good guy,’” Mr. Davis said. “No one cares if he’s a good guy.”


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