Tag Archives: #guyswhoareintowomensrights

I’m a feminist! She’s a feminist! He’s a feminist! Wait…what? (Part 1)

18 Dec

So, I consider myself a feminist. Yeah, I said it. I dropped the f-bomb. Feminist. Such a loaded word that often invites skepticism & eye-rolls, but also encapsulates a far-reaching movement of people—regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or any other classification—dedicated to fighting against gender discrimination and advocating for equality.

That movement of people includes men. Yup, the people without lady parts. I know that a lot of people tend to think of feminists as only women, but who’s to say that men can’t believe in equality? Sure, we all arrive on the scene with our own biases; our own blind spots caused by various privileges we take for granted. But that’s not to say that those are things that cannot be overcome. I’m sure that sounds nice and idealistic, but I think that things tend to become more believable with human stories and real people.

My very best friend, Bryan, is a feminist. He’s also a straight guy and no, he’s not pretending to care about women’s issues to get in my pants. (I have been asked these things on numerous occasions.) During my senior year of college, Bryan and I co-directed a production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. In my director’s notes, I dedicated the show not only to all of the strong, amazing women I know and on the stage, but to Bryan and all of the caring and compassionate men in my life that have shaped me and provided me with the strength to keep going on my worst days. And Bryan? He wrote this:

I may not have lady parts, but through this year’s production of the “Vagina Monologues”, I hope to empower those who have experienced a form of violence and raise awareness of this issue in both men and women. The females affected by actions such as rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery need every person, regardless of gender, to join in the fight. It will take an army of warriors to stop these crimes against humanity, but it only takes one person to make a difference.

See. How could we not be best friends? I love that man for being kind and decent and courageous—the same traits that I admire in anyone willing to lend their voice to this ongoing movement to see and treat all of the people in this world as equals.

I’m grateful for the men in my life who have helped to lift me up. (And the women, too.) Take a minute and thank someone—regardless of their gender—who has left you a better person with a more equal view of the world.

Thanks, Bry.

Bry & I played this at the end of our show. Thank you to everyone out there–men & women–who provide support and understanding to survivors of abuse.

This post brought to you by Dawn.

Unsolicited Advice

17 Dec

Sometimes, when people discover that I’m a guy working at a women’s rights organization, they take on the sort of expression and tone that one might if learning I have some sort of horrible disease.

I think I prefer the “what’s wrong with you” reaction to the alternative, which is often “why the hell are you doing THAT?”

Yes, I’m a guy, a 24 year-old grassroots lobbyist for women’s rights. I’m also straight, which I only mention because for some reason being gay makes it “ok” to be a guy working on women’s issues. [Note: This does not make sense to me.]

I’ve devoted my so-far-quite-brief professional career to advocating for gender equity, against gender discrimination, and for equality of opportunity. This doesn’t mean I’ve had a perfect relationship with every woman with whom I’ve crossed paths (I haven’t). It doesn’t mean I was a women’s studies major (nope!); it doesn’t mean I’m hypersensitive to politically correct gender terminology and it doesn’t mean I believe, broadly speaking, that women deserve more of anything than men do (I’m not; I don’t).

I don’t think there’s something wrong with me, other than empathy (which, admittedly, appears to be losing steam as a virtue). I don’t think my career choices warrant righteous feminist anger that there are dudes interested in fighting for gender equity too.

And yet I still often get the “what’s wrong with you” or a “why the hell?” responses, particularly from women my age (the exception being colleagues and coworkers, who generally “get it”).

Ready for some unsolicited advice? Try to see us guy women’s rights advocates as allies. Don’t think of us as usurpers, posers, or the terminally confused. And try, with your tone, expressions, and words, to make us feel welcome. We’re on your side.

This post was brought to you by Sam.

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