Advertisements for diet programs, gym memberships, and exercise equipment have been dominating the television screen lately. Of course! It’s the time of year that many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Often, we aim to change something about our individual selves for the better; we resolve to lose weight, stop smoking, or pay off our credit cards.
Rarely do our resolutions focus on making a change that has broader impact.
In consideration of the epidemic of violence facing our nation, wouldn’t it be wonderful if more of us made and kept resolutions to strengthen the health and safety of our communities?
Here are a few ideas for resolutions that can promote wider change:
- Make a commitment to stop using “the language of violence to communicate opinions and/or beliefs.” For the full pledge, go to Know More.
- Make a commitment to “stop demeaning the feminine by saying things like ‘you run like a girl,’ ‘you throw like a girl,’ or ‘he cried like a little girl.’ That includes referring to men or boys as ‘girls’ when you are meaning something derogatory. Don’t refer to a woman as a ‘bitch,’ ‘ho’ or ‘whore.’” Read more at Care2.
- Make a commitment to “challenge comments that tease or harass men and boys for not being ‘manly’ enough. Let people know that you find it offensive and limiting.” Thanks to A Call to Men for this idea and many others.
- Make a commitment “to take the time to listen to the women in [your] life and acknowledge that their perspective is valuable and is as equally important as [men’s perspectives].” This is one item on the Stand Up Guys pledge.
- Make a commitment to “interrupt sexist and rape jokes.” This action is included in the Clothesline Project pledge.
- Make a commitment to stop funding sexism. “Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.” This is one idea on Jackson Katz’s list of 10 Things Men Can Do to Prevent Gender Violence.
- Make a commitment to “ask first. Whether it’s holding hands, kissing, or more, it’s important to communicate.” This idea and others come from White Ribbon Campaign.
- Make a commitment to support passage of the Violence Against Women Act and/or other policies that hold violent offenders accountable. For the latest developments on VAWA, go to http://4vawa.org/.
Here’s to 2013! May we each take steps to promote safer, more peaceful places of learning, working, playing, worshipping, and living.