Yes, it really is about achieving equality, but to get there, we have to recognise that while gender stereotypes can have negative impacts on men as well, the vast majority of structural gender inequality: socially, politically, professionally and economically, as well as the overwhelming burden of sexual violence is disproportionately borne by women. It means believing that everybody should be treated equally regardless of their sex.
Women of all ages in countries around the world are raped at all different times of day, in different circumstances, wearing all different kinds of clothing including in countries where the majority of women wear completely covering clothing.
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The one thing they all have in common? They came into contact with a rapist. So logically by far the most effective way to tackle rape is to focus on rapists - both by prevention and education, and by fully placing the blame and responsibility with perpetrators. A huge amount of what feminists are fighting for would have major positive impact for men as well as women. Take the male suicide rate, for example. So men are less likely to reach out for help and support with mental health issues.
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If you think quotas mean the best person not getting the job, you have to believe that the best person always gets the job at the moment. Do you really believe there are more than three times more men named John qualified to lead FTSE companies in the UK than all the women put together?
Nobody thinks quotas are a great win for women - the win would be removing the discrimination and inequality that creates under-representation in the first place. But in the short term, alongside other measures, they can be an effective way to make progress happen faster. It would have to be a pretty HUGE conspiracy for every reputable major news outlet to report on it annually if it was a massive feminist lie.
Add in the extra issues that women perform the vast majority of unpaid caring and domestic labour; that women of colour earn significantly less than white women; and that women also bear the hugely disproportionate burden of austerity cuts and you have a very gendered economic problem that is complex, yes, but certainly not imaginary. Do you ever ask anyone else this? Do you accuse a pancreatic cancer charity of not dealing with multiple sclerosis?
It's likely your girlfriend might remember certain aspect of the fight differently than you. This is normal. It does not necessarily mean one of you is being untruthful. It's just that stress can cause memories to be inaccurate.
Express your feelings. After an argument, you need to accept and experience your feelings. While we may dislike emotions like anger and sadness, it's important to acknowledge them rather than ignore them. Stifling your feelings can cause an explosion down the road. Accept that emotions are not always rational. If your girlfriend hurt your feelings, for example, logically knowing she did not mean to do so might not help you let it go.
Know that you and your girlfriend are both entitled to an emotional response to a disagreement, even if that response is not entirely logical. Plan a conversation. After you both have calmed down, suggest a time to discuss your conflict. After a big argument, it's important you schedule time to talk to assure you are both calm going into the discussion.
Pick a week or weekend night when neither one of you has to work early in the morning. Aim to talk in the early evening sometime after dinner so hunger and sleepiness cannot interfere with your conversation. While you might feel odd discussing your relationship in public, a neutral ground might assure no one feels uncomfortable.
You can pick a place where not many people are around, like a spacious, quiet coffee shop or a public park that's not usually crowded.
Use open body language. When discussing your conflict, use your body language to demonstrate that you are open to dialogue. This can allow the discussion to happen in a relaxed, effective way. Nod occasionally to show you are listening. Never cross your arms or do anything that makes you look tense. Try to avoid nervous tics, like fiddling with your clothing or ringing your hands.
Use good verbal communication skills. When discussing your argument, use solid verbal communication as well.
2. Sit down and chat about things.
Your girlfriend needs to know you are open to working things out, so make sure you communicate with her effectively in the aftermath of a fight. Be clear and concise when speaking. Do not include too many details and try to get to the point of what you're going to say. Do not interrupt your girlfriend when she's talking.
Always ask if she understands what you're saying. Ask for clarification if she says anything you do not understand. These assure that you're expressing your own feelings rather than placing objective judgment on the situation.
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For example, instead of saying "You overreacted about me being late and embarrassed me in front of your friends" say something like "I felt embarrassed when you called me out on being late in front of your friends. Validate your girlfriend's feelings. It can be very frustrating to feel someone is not validating your feelings in a romantic relationship. Even if you do not agree with your girlfriend's assessment of a situation, make sure you strive to make her feel that her feelings are validated.
Often, the simple act of allowing someone to feel the way they do removes a lot of tension from a situation. This releases pent up negative energy and will make your girlfriend feel like you genuinely care about making her happy. I'm sorry I made you upset. Figure out where you disagree. Most couples will have a few issues about which they cannot agree.
This is normal, as humans are unique.
Take an argument as an opportunity to figure out where the two of you differ and how you can reconcile these differences. If you have different expectations regarding time together, the relationship as a whole, or lifestyle choices, it's important to identify them and find a solution. See if you can figure out if there's an underlying issue that drove your argument. If you had a big argument, it's doubtful it was over a minor matter.
Try and figure out where you disagree and what you can do to reconcile the disagreement. Sometimes simply acknowledging that you feel differently about a subject can help ease tensions. The two of you will end up taking certain things less personally if you understand where you differ personality wise.
Constructive arguments can be a pathway to growth.
Do: suggest ways to limit conflict, such as avoiding contentious activities or topics while you're together. After contemplating your actions and role in the argument, apologize for any wrongdoing.
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Make the apology as specific and sincere as possible, to demonstrate that you have heard and understood your girlfriend's concerns. Do: accept her reaction calmly, even if it's "Yes, you were a jerk.
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Discuss new issues immediately. When you notice a problem is brewing, do not ignore it. Instead, discuss the issue before it becomes a large problem. This way you can prevent future blow-ups. This can make your girlfriend feel attacked and bombarded.
When a problem arises, address immediately. Even a small issue can lead you to build resentment over time. Create a process for resolving arguments without anger.