AOC asks ‘good men’ for their advice to men who want to stand up to ‘abusers and harassers’

·4-min read
AOC asks ‘good men’ for their advice to men who want to stand up to ‘abusers and harassers’

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared the replies she received after she asked men on Instagram to share their advice for other men about standing up “to abusers and harassers”.

The Democratic congresswoman, who recently spoke out about her experience being harassed on the US Capitol steps, posed the question to her more than 8.6m Instagram followers on Thursday, asking “good men” to share their recommendations for other men who “want to protect others” but “aren’t sure how”.

“Good men: what advice do you have for other men who want to be good too?” she wrote on her Instagram Stories.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez then shared screenshots of the numerous responses she received, which included suggestions such as “be direct” and say something “immediately,” as well as responses claiming it can be helpful to “make it awkward” so the individual causing the problem is “uncomfortable”.

“Break the veneer of normalcy FAST. Be direct, be serious, be confrontational - immediately,” one individual wrote in response to the congresswoman’s prompt.

Another said that it’s important not to look for “approval” before acting, writing: “Don’t look for approval, just do what’s right. Say something, do something, don’t do nothing.”

Someone else suggested making the individual in question feel uncomfortable by speaking up and making the atmosphere “awkward” can also be a useful way to confront a situation.

AOC asks men to share advice for other men who want to stand up and protect others but don’t know how (Instagram)
AOC asks men to share advice for other men who want to stand up and protect others but don’t know how (Instagram)

“Speak up, make it awkward, make the jerk uncomfortable, check in on the recipient,” they wrote.

AOC shares responses she received after asking ‘good men’ for advice for other men who want to ‘stand up' (Instagram)
AOC shares responses she received after asking ‘good men’ for advice for other men who want to ‘stand up' (Instagram)
AOC asked men for their advice after sharing her experience being sexually harassed on US Capitol steps (Instagram)
AOC asked men for their advice after sharing her experience being sexually harassed on US Capitol steps (Instagram)

Others encouraged men not to be aggressive in these scenarios, while someone else said it can be useful, and easier, to confront a situation with friends.

“Make it a point with friends to confront together if we run into people like this,” one reply reads. “Power in numbers.”

In response to Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s question, she also received replies from men who urged other men to think about the guilt they would feel if a situation “escalates and you did nothing to stop it”.

The question prompted men to share their advice for dealing with situations of harassment among their own friends as well, with one individual noting that it is important to speak up as soon as possible if it’s your friends that are wrong. “They won’t do it again if you voice it,” they said, while someone else added: “Stand up to your friends and family as you would to strangers.”

According to another man, if the individual causing an issue attempts to use the claim “it’s a joke” to defend their behaviour, it can be useful to ask them to “explain in detail why it’s funny”.

“Even if you don’t know what to say, taking their focus off the victim for any amount of time is a good thing,” someone else wrote.

In follow-up posts on her Instagram Stories, the 32-year-old asked men how ideas of masculinity have played a role in their beliefs and behaviours. Men revealed in response that it is “extremely hard” to break free from toxic beliefs associated with masculinity.

“Took me ages to realise masculinity didn’t have to be the 60s definition of ‘manly,’” one person revealed, while another said: “It’s still extremely hard, but trying to be okay sharing my emotions/feelings.”

According to someone else, “to be a man is to allow yourself to be vulnerable,” a realisation they said “allowed [them] to be a better man”.

“Masculinity doesn’t subjugate others, insecurities do,” another person said.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s quest for advice came after she revealed on Wednesday that she was harassed by a far-right troll on the steps outside of the US Capitol building, and that Capitol police officers did nothing to intervene.

The incident saw the congresswoman approached by far-right commentator Alex Stein, who filmed himself as he sexually harrassed Ms Ocasio-Cortez as she made her way up the steps.

“Here’s AOC, my favourite big booty Latina,” Stein said during the encounter. “I love you AOC, you’re my favourite. She wants to kill babies but she’s still beautiful, you look very beautiful in that dress, you look very sexy.”

Ms Ocasio-Cortez later posted about the “deeply disgusting incident” on Twitter, before noting it’s a “bummer to work in an institution that openly allowed this”.

On Instagram, the congresswoman also said that the “thing that was so crazy” about the incident was that it “happened on the Capitol steps right in front of a Capitol police officer”.

“This wasn’t about a political opinion or protest or anything like that, he was engaged in very clearly sexually threatening aggressive behaviour right in front of a Capitol police officer, he wasn’t even asked to take a step back,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting