Like I said the other day, feminism is a movement of people—including men—who believe in gender equality. Men like my fellow writer Sam; men like my best friend Bryan.
Too often feminists push these allies away. It’s bad enough that we have to battle the whole “f-word” taboo, but why battle amongst ourselves, too? Sure, feminism includes a lot of different thoughts and beliefs as individual as all the people who call themselves feminists, but can’t we all just get along?
Tom Digby and Patrick D. Hopkins both write of the taunting and exclusion they faced as men identifying in feminists in Men Doing Feminism. Hopkins even poses the following question: if feminism is perceived as about women and for women, does that mean it should be by women as well?
This exclusionary definition is going to hurt the movement for equality. If feminists want to be on equal footing, then how can we throw men under the bus?
We have to remember that not all men are perpetrators of violence and discrimination against women. Not all men are out to get women. Some men—I’d even venture to say most men—want to help. Jezebel regularly features stories about men (like Ryan Gosling) speaking out against gender discrimination and inviting readers to share stories about the amazing men in their own lives. It’s so great to see fantastic stories like that.
Too often, men are seen as the enemy of feminism. IMO, it’s not men, but our socialization (and ridiculous gender stereotypes that perpetuate everyday prejudices and inequities) that is feminism’s arch nemesis. Like Sam said, we’re all on the same side; we’re allies.
So let’s not go mislabeling men who proclaim themselves feminists or champions of gender equality to have ulterior motives, less masculine, or obviously gay. Why can’t they just be human; compassionate people who want to help society take a few steps forward?
This post brought to you by Dawn.