Welcome to Ask A Feminist! Playboy’s new column that hopes to create a dialogue between feminism and the Playboy readership. Here we hope to cover everything from sexism in entertainment, to feminism in politics, to relationship and sex questions, and everything in between. Please send your queries for our columnist, Chloe Stillwell, to AskAPlayboyFeminist@gmail.com. We’re excited for this to be a space for discussion, and some columns will be more serious, while others more playful. It’s all what you want to make it, and we hope you’re ready to Ask A Feminist!

In this first edition of Ask A Feminist, a question that felt important and timely to tackle, that I myself, and many women have been asked by men, is what we think of the current upheaval surrounding our society’s awareness of sexual misconduct. For many of us it feels a lot like someone finally turned the light on in the dark and dusty attic of our culture. An attic we’ve been begging them to clean out for years, only to be met with assertions that it’s fine up there, or it would be too much work to change. Now we’re all staring at the hideous wreckage together, and it’s hard to know where to start to unpack it all.

Entering 2018, it feels as if we’re almost in a new age. A slew of high-profile women have spoken out, accompanied by thousands of women echoing in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. Swift justice in the court of public opinion has been laid to many rumored abusers, some famous and some unknown to the masses. Many men are looking to women to explain to them how they should feel about the loss of some of their comedy, film, television and even business heroes. But in a world where women have long been doing the emotional labor of men, this is a delicate area.

Emotional labor can be a foreign concept to some, at least packaged in that feminist vernacular. But it’s a concept that any woman knows well, even if she can’t articulate it. Emotional labor is an umbrella term that encompasses all areas of psychological digestion. Therapy and meditation are emotional labor. So is compartmentalizing or just debriefing a tough fight with a partner. And it’s work that has historically been forced on women. This has happened subtly and over centuries, as the patriarchy has narrowly chiseled the idea of manliness. Stoicism, machismo, an unnatural eschewing of emotions that are labeled “feminine,” like crying or doting on children.This has created a society in which women must do this labor on behalf of men and often society, and trust me, we aren’t in the mood to do it for anyone when it comes to sexual assault.

Many women-identifying individuals are dealing with messy emotions right now. Seeing men brought to their knees for careers fraught with systemic abuse and cover-ups is cathartic, but it also can be a reminder of abuse that’s occurred in our own lives that we have learned to hide. Survivors of more heinous abuse oftentimes block it out as a sort of defense mechanism. Those individuals are even more vulnerable right now, as the constant chatter on the topic can trigger buried memories.

It’s alright to ask close friends and family what their thoughts are, especially if you’re familiar with their experiences. But it’s important to know that you could have no idea that someone has suffered sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct, no matter how close you may be to them, because we have been taught that often it is easier to hide it. It’s important to enter these conversations lightly, with consent from the other party, and to not boundary push if the conversation gets uncomfortable.

But most importantly, if you’re struggling with accepting that certain men you held in high esteem were perverted predators, or that sexual harassment is engrained into almost every aspect of our society—it’s not a woman’s job to warm you up to those ideas. Read. Learn. Write in a journal. The internet is a vast well of resources about sexual assault, feminism and emotional labor. It can’t be the job of the oppressed to educate the oppressor, and once you’ve come to a clearer understanding of sexual assault, you can have a dialogue that’s way more productive.

(It’s also crucial to note that if your goal is to delegitimize the experiences of women, you should just stop talking to them all together—but I’m assuming if you’ve read this far, you’re not one of those kinds of people.)

Last night, Seth Meyers hosted the Golden Globes, one of Hollywood’s most adored award shows. Many actors and actresses wore black in solidarity with survivors and as a protest for change in the industry. This was a prime opportunity for a man to do just what I’m discussing here, do his own emotional labor, and then be an example to others. On top of delivering painfully accurate zingers on Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey, Meyers said of the opportunity to speak out, “…for a lot of women, this is not something that just happened. So the best thing any man can do right now is listen and try to learn, because none of us are experts in this thing that we have not experienced.”