How to be an effective male feminist:
- Stand with women, not for women. Don’t make yourself the voice of a movement that isn’t yours!
- Listen to all women. Listen to women of color. Listen to trans* women. Listen to disabled women. Listen to low income women. Listen to lesbian women. Listen to bi women. Listen to women from different cultures, religions, and ethnic backgrounds…. You get the idea: listen to all women.
- Understand intersectionality. Know that some women have more hurdles to jump over than others.
- Acknowledge your male privilege, and use it to help the movement. For example, speak to other men that may not be receptive to women on women’s issues and help them understand why they should listen to women and why feminism is important.
- Respect safe-spaces for women. Do not invade spaces that are meant to be shielded from men, and understand why safe spaces are necessary.
- Don’t use your involvement in feminism to try to get into women’s pants. You’re not entitled to rewards for your involvement in feminism. Be involved because you actually want to help, not so that you can receive praise or rewards.
- Call out other men on their misogyny. Explain to them why their words or actions were inappropriate and how they should change so that they aren’t being oppressive.
- Understand that you should not be making decisions on women’s bodies and life choices.
- Don’t expect women to follow gender binary. Don’t criticize women for their appearance or self expression.
- Learn to say sorry. We all make mistakes, and if you make one, own up to it. Do not get mad if someone calls you out for a prejudiced behaviour, but rather work in trying to prevent it from happening again.
- Do not try to relate to a woman’s experiences with sexism. Avoid the phrase “I know how you feel.”
- Don’t get mad at generalizations of men, misandry jokes, etc. Sexism against women is more important than your feelings. Understand that defense mechanisms against patriarchy are valid.
- Sexualization/fetishization of women/feminism is a no-no.
- Ditch chivalry. It’s creepy.
- Try to learn something new every day. Research how sexism affects different aspects of society, and listen to women’s experiences.
- Listen to women!!! It’s already been mentioned, but it can’t be stressed enough. Listen to women. Listen to women. Listen to women.
These are just some steps in how you can be an effective male feminist. Remember that feminism isn’t exclusive to women, and that you can help in smashing the patriarchy too, even if you’re a man!