male feminists

As a male feminist ally you should:

•accept that some spaces/conversations do not include you

•not attempt to dominate conversations with your experience of the world

•be aware of your privilege and bring this awareness to any conversations

•not ever use the ‘not all men’ defence. ever.

•not discount to experiences of women because they do not fall into your personal experience of the world

I hate how men suddenly become “male feminists” after they’ve held their baby daughters in their arms. You shouldn’t need to become the father of a little girl to understand that women are human. More than that, they still don’t even think all women are human; only their daughters. Not the women who gave them life, not the woman who gave them their daughters; only their daughters. They have to have helped create her to think that she’s human.

ideas for men

An actual male-focused feminism-style movement that was about more than just enacting misogyny would focus on:

  • dismantling toxic masculinity
  • ending the devaluation of femininity that causes 99% of the issues specific to men
  • ending homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, intersexism, and cissexism among men
  • providing resources to young trans, gay, bi, and nonbinary guys
  • ending mental illness stigma among men
  • teaching about consent, abuse, and how to spot it and what to do
  • acting as real allies to feminists by spreading feminist ideals among men

Men: If you want to know what to do since we don’t want you to take leadership positions in feminist spaces, consider this a wakeup call. This is your job.

Feminism does good for men, too. The hyper-masculine ideals of what men should and need to be are created by the patriarchy, and feminists regularly deconstruct those ideas and fight against the assumption that all men need to fit into that box.

One last thing about men: Most feminists do not hate men. It is true that men benefit from the systems set up today so that they occupy 81% of the seats in the US Congress, 95% of the CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies, and make a dollar to a woman’s 77 cents in the US. But this isn’t about hating men. This is about finding a balance.

5

Just in case you thought liberal feminism was anything other than debasing feminist beliefs for men. Men know that liberal feminism is a repackaging of what they have always wanted. Men want us naked, hairless, unquestioning, and catering to their wants. If they have to pat us on the head and call it “empowering", they will. 

From Maxim, 2003.

anonymous asked:

I hate to ask this because you've already talked about it so much and I don't want to be rude, but what are your thoughts on men who claim to be feminists or have feminist ideas in the celebrity-related sphere? YouTubers, or Actors, or whomever? I mean I personally don't have an issue with it as long as they're being supportive and not trying to take leadership roles in it, but I'm really interested in your opinion? :)

I used to be totally fine with it but the more men I see calling themselves feminists the less okay I am with it. Male feminists who don’t understand the most basic concept of how to be an ally have ruined it.

Seeing men take a leadership role in a movement that’s about ending their privilege and power over us makes me hugely uncomfortable, and I feel like they so often have NO IDEA that they shouldn’t do that.

Asking men to call themselves feminist allies seems like a great idea to me because it can spark a conversation about what an ally actually is and what men are expected to do as feminist allies. It makes it very clear that feminism isn’t a movement for men.

Also, as loads of feminists have pointed out it’s kind of a great litmus test to see how well guys can handle taking a subordinate role in the movement - if someone throws a fit at simply being asked to call himself an ally instead of a feminist, is he actually here to work with us for our goals, or is he going to insist his views take precedence even here, a movement to end his unfair power over us?

So yeah, in my opinion a guy who really wants to support feminism should call himself a feminist ally.

Men As Feminists

So a few months ago, I stopped calling myself a “feminist”, and started calling myself a “profeminist”, and as much as I think it’s worthwhile that we get men to view feminism in a positive light, I do find it to be a bit problematic that Joseph Gordon-Levitt calls himself a “feminist”.

At its core, feminism is an activist movement which pursues equality of the sexes. But we can’t really overlook the fact that as a social movement, it creates safe places for women to empower themselves. Regardless political views, background or sexuality, men cannot be seen to be intruding on these circles.

By calling ourselves feminists, we’re saying that we feel entitled to the same sort of feminist voice that is entitled to women who have been sexually abused, discriminated against in the workplace, or suppressed in any way because they don’t enjoy the same level of privilege that we do.

Seriously, though. Let’s look at it in the most concrete way possible. Imagine you’re a woman who has been beaten, abused and oppressed by men her entire life. Seeking self-empowerment and solidarity, you go along to a feminism meeting at the local community centre, only to find a bunch of straight, white guys sitting there alongside the women. “Uh, yeah? We’re feminists too, you know?”

And yeah, I think it’s so important that men understand the importance of feminism, and see the value of it in a progressive society. But then I see the likes of Joss Whedon at Make Equality Reality and I’m like, “Come on, dude. You’re not entitled to a voice in this debate. You’re not entitled to announce revolutionary paradigms about how we see gender equality, because you benefit from the inequality in the first place.”

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that there are men who call themselves “feminists” because they genuinely believe in the movement (I was one of them up until recently), but no matter how well intentioned they are, at the end of the day, all they’re doing is adding another layer of entitlement to their gender. "We can be feminists, too! We want in on your little girls club! Why are you excluding men? What are you, sexist?!“

So now I call myself a "profeminist” instead of a “feminist”. I believe strongly in the feminism movement, and will do everything in my power to further it. But I’m not entitled to a feminist voice. To call myself a “feminist” when I can still walk home at night without looking over my shoulder feels dishonest, and somewhat indicative of my white male privilege.

feminist allies vs male feminists

I trust men who identify as feminist allies a lot more than men who claim the “feminist” label, because they’ve actually listened to what feminists are talking about and have learned how many feminists would prefer they do that. And then they listened.

Listening to women is a problem for many “feminist” men, and choosing to call themselves “allies” indicates that a man is making an effort to listen and show his support in ways feminists have actually asked for.

In any movement for “equality”, whether that’s feminism, antiracism, disability rights, etc., the people leading the movement should be the ones affected by the problem that needs solving. People who are oppressed are entitled to lead the movement to end their own oppression.

So feminism is for people oppressed by patriarchy. It isn’t focused on what the more privileged group - men - wants or needs. It would be counterproductive if it were, since men already have a disproportionate amount of power to make social change. Feminism is a team of oppressed people fighting for their own rights while having much less power, in an oppressive environment where men’s voices are considered more important.

Men are valuable as allies! But they are not the focus of this movement, and because they bring their privilege everywhere they go within a patriarchy, it’s important for them to understand that other people will listen to them over women. So their role as allies is to support women, listen to women, signal boost women’s voices, and not speak over us.

Some men become very upset that they can’t be leaders within the feminist movement. Being relegated to “ally” feels like hatred to them. That’s male entitlement showing. The first step in being a good ally to feminists - to any oppressed group you’re not part of! - is unlearning all the conditioning that taught you that your opinion is always more important than theirs. Your opinions in a movement to end your privilege and power are less relevant than those of someone the movement is for.

What Men Can Do To Be Better Allies

By: Alexis M.

Allies are an important aspect of any community. Although men are directly affected by patriarchy as women are, men are also direct beneficiaries of this type of social order. To have male allies involved in the feminist community is extremely important because it shows solidarity within the feminist community and it puts a huge emphasis on male engagement in reversing and questioning the effects sexism has had on our society.

For clarity, an ally is an individual or group who join with other individuals/groups to achieve a common goal. For example, since the purpose of the feminist community is to combat sexism, male allies are people who join the feminist community to contribute to this goal as well.

It is so important to have allies in any community because it shows that this issues faced by that group are not just issues that that group as a singular entity needs to solve on its own. Rather, it’s a human rights issue which needs the help and support of other communities in order to resolve the current problems. Sexism is not just a women’s issue, transphobia is not just a trans issue, homophobia is not just the LGBTQ’s issue, racism is not just people of colour’s issue. They are all human rights issues which need to be addressed by all communities.

As someone who has a lot of male friends who identify as feminist or with feminist ideals here are a few tips on what they can do to be better allies.

Tip #1: Listen

To be an ally to a community is to be someone who is concerned with the treatment and issues that another group in society has. The best way to really understand issues in the feminist community is to be an active listener. Listen to the experiences of others and to the concerns they have, then take those concerns and experiences at face-value as legitimate.

You may feel the need to speak a lot in workshops, during group conversations and at meetings, and it’s great that you want to contribute to conversations about and with feminists, but be aware of how much time you are taking up. Your role as an ally is to help lift up the voices of others, but not to talk over them. Ask yourself: Are you dominating the conversation? Are you dictating it’s flow? Are you making it about yourself? Make sure you are aware of these things when you’re speaking in feminist spaces.

Tip #2: Self-Awareness

Speaking of awareness… self-awareness is key to becoming a better ally to the feminist community. This means being mindful of your presence, of the space you take up, of the way you speak and other things you may have not considered in your daily routine such as the privilege you have as a man.

Male privilege is essentially the ways in which men benefit in society over other groups based on their maleness. Examples of male privilege are not getting cat called while walking down the street, feeling generally safe walking home at night, being hired for a job because you are male even though you and other female applicants may have the exact same credentials, having your sex represented in multi-faceted ways in different forms of media, the chances of your personal mistakes/failure being attributed to your entire sex are slim… the list goes on and on.

The point of recognizing or checking your own privilege is to challenge the way you have interpreted the world and question ideas that reinforce gender norms. By checking your own privilege and realizing the advantages you have in social, political and economic spheres over other groups, you have already taken a big step forward in being an ally to the feminist community.

For more on how to identify your own privilege and call others out on theirs, don’t forget to check out our Feminist Dictionary entry on privilege.

Tip #3: Do Not Play Devil’s Advocate

As a philosophy major I can understand the appeal of playing devil’s advocate in hypothetical, philosophical situations/discussions, but when you’re dealing with the lived experiences of real people this is not okay.

If you’re coming into a feminist space to ruffle feathers, argue pointlessly and start a fight it is not the space for you.

Of course there are legitimate criticisms that can be discussed within a feminist community such as inclusivity, diversity, representation, etc. It’s great if you want to discuss those issues, but if you’re coming into a feminist space with the mentality that you need to prove someone wrong, then you really need to reconsider if you have sincere intentions for wanting to be more involved within the feminist community.

Tip #4: Get Active

A great way to get involved in the feminist community is to go to rallies, protests, workshops and events hosted by local feminist groups. Donate to a local women’s shelter and volunteer your time if you are able. Getting active is a great way to be a better ally because it shows that you want to be involved and want to learn more and do more for the community.

If you don’t have the time to be physically present at rallies or organizations that’s okay! There are plenty of amazing online communities that can help you get your start in feminist activism. Tumblr has a huge feminist community that was actually the first place which sparked my love of feminism. Consider creating a feminist tumblr or join a discussion forum on feminism. Everday Feminism has great online forums to help get you involved and connect you to other feminists!

Tip #5: Do Your Research

I cannot begin to count the amount of times that I have been used as a feminist encyclopedia for my male friends. I don’t mind being asked questions, but there comes a point where it becomes exhausting and irritating. Answering the same basic questions over and over again is not fun, and if you’re really interested in feminism then there is plenty of literature available at your disposal.

Do your own research, don’t make feminists explain why their oppression matters. Don’t make them prove to you that it is a legitimate concern. We don’t owe you that information. You owe it to yourself, however, to learn about these issues.

Tip #6: Call Others Out

If you see sexism being perpetuated by your friends or other people you know in your life, call them out on it. Explain to them that what they may be doing/saying is really harmful to women (i.e. catcalling, calling women inappropriate slurs, degrading women). Question their values and ideas, especially in spaces where women aren’t present.

For example, if one of your guy friends makes a joke about sexual harassment, rape, violence against women etc. tell them it isn’t funny. You don’t necessarily owe them an explanation as to why it isn’t funny but it couldn’t hurt to explain why exactly the jokes they are telling are problematic and harmful.

Being a feminist is a full time job and you can’t pick when to be one and when not to be. If you want to be a good ally, you need to be one in every space you are in.

Want to learn some more tips on becoming a better ally? Check out these articles: