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How to treat women

The Rules of Respect

How to treat all the women in your life

Relationships

Leonie Cooper on the new rules of behaviour towards women - your partner, your boss, your mother, hell even strangers. Because it's men's responsibility to do better...

Hello, men – woman, here. We know now is a testing time for you, but damn, try being us for the past few thousand years – the hetero-normative patriarchy hasn’t half screwed us over. I’m here to try and make things a little bit easier when it comes to knowing how to treat women you know and some you don’t in order to make their lives – and yours – better. So follow these few easy steps and always remember, if you wouldn’t say it to a man, why on earth would you say it to a woman? We’re basically the same as you, just ever so slightly more fragrant and with longer life expectancies.

Colleagues
This is an important one. Unless you’re living the freelance dream and firing off a few emails from an Amazing Spaces style modernist tree house, then colleagues are likely to be the people you spend the most time with. The most important thing here is to listen to us. Don’t talk over us. Don’t simply repeat ideas we’ve said in meetings only a little louder and take all the credit. Shut the fuck up sometimes. Be open to the fact that sometimes we know more than you and you could learn from us.

Platonic friends
Respect the ‘platonic’ in platonic friends. Be aware of the fact that women aren’t simply for shagging or for looking after you. There’s another way and that’s friendship – you know, like with Dave. And Steve. And Mo. Those guys. So invite us out to pub quizzes, all-you-can-eat wing buffets and sporting events – some of us like football and even understand the offside rule. Bring a few women along to your next lads’ night and you’ll probably wake up the next day with much less spiritual ennui.

Girlfriends
Include us in your lives – we’re not just there to mop up after you and be a substitute mother. Encourage us to hang out with you and your pals and come out with us and our mates, but for the love of god don’t flirt with them. And of course we all need our own space, but we shouldn’t be leading separate lives. Share out the boring shit; cook for us, clean for us and worship us and we’ll do the same for you. Oh and don’t cheat on us – if you want out, then be enough of a man to tell us to our face. Communication is underrated.

Wives
Respect us – and that means respecting us enough to tell us when you’re not happy. Remember all that stuff you said at the wedding about loving and honouring? Well do that and if you can’t do that, then talk to us about it. If there are children in the mix then please never ever refer to looking after your own children as ‘babysitting’. They’re your kids too, dude.

Mothers
Call your mum every week, but don’t be a creep about it. We’ve all seen Psycho. She kept you alive for the first 18 years of your life, now do the same for her. Buy her dinner on the regs and more importantly, eat that dinner with her and ask her how she is. If she isn’t doing ok then help her out by whatever means necessary, but steer clear of anything too illegal. Just be there for her – you kind of owe her.

Daughters
Love us. Look out for us. Be protective, but not over-protective. Don’t threaten to beat up our boyfriends. Don’t tell us we can’t go out wearing that. Respect our independence. Don’t be distant. Talk to us. Support us. Don’t embarrass us in front of our mates. Hide your favourite bottle of Scotch from us. Try and limit yourself to one naff dad joke a day.

Passers-by
Cat calling is never ok. Even if your intention is to flatter, it will not, it will make us feel like a target. Compliments are nice but hissing ‘beautiful lady’ as we walk past you on the way to work is not a compliment, it’s a power play.

Early dates
Learn to read signals. If we’re into you, we’ll laugh at your jokes even if they’re shit, we’ll get the next round in, we’ll ask you all about your life and tell you that your knock-off Supreme hoodie is, like, super cool. However, if we recoil from any kind of physical attention, are constantly glancing at the door or saying ‘no, thanks we won’t have another drink because it’s a school night’ then for the love of god, back off. We’re not playing hard to get, we’re just not that into you and trying not to hurt your feelings.

Bosses
Do what we tell you to do and don’t be a grump about it. We’re not bitches just because we’re powerful and know what we want – we’re strong.

Follow Leonie @leoniemaycooper

Read more: Toxic masculinity – the phrase we need to bury  on The Book of Man

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James
James
3 years ago

I’m so happy this exsist! I wish every guy would read this! I hate when guys talk so vulgar about women! she’s a person not a piece a meat. just common decent respect.

AnnMargaret Streety
2 years ago

What are your thoughts on how men should treat their sisters? I’m asking because I have a 34 year old son and there’s tension and distance in the relationship between him and my daughters who are 32 and 24 years old. They were all once very close and the tension started when he got married and he did not consider them in the planning or to be part of the wedding party. My daughters did not attend his wedding. He has since divorced and I suggested that he initiates the conversation to begin healing the relationships with his sisters. He is now dating  someone else and the tension between him and his sisters has increased and he is oblivious. My daughters actually feel sorry for his ex wife and the new girlfriend because they feel that his relationships with women are unhealthy.

Obama Prism
Obama Prism
2 years ago

This is ok and most of it I agree with, but it seems slightly hostile. I don’t think that helps if you want the readers to change.

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