Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Male Feminists

So in response to this article by a writer at Jezebel (, a male reader made this comment:

Which I think is great. I think it's wonderful that there are men out there who bother to read Jezebel and who aren't posting terrible things about how all feminists like to be victims (unlike someone else who had commented). For him to actually be supportive of Jezebel writers and feminists is kind of amazing. About half of the responders to his feed thought so, too.

But then there were those who bashed on him. Here:

I thought his question was extremely appropriate and thoughtful. I mean really, how can a man possibly know what to do in this situation? If he tries to take over the fight and be protective over her, he'd get yelled at. If he didn't do anything, that'd also be bad. Feminism can be a very touchy, sensitive thing (not feminISTS, you stupid trolls), and it's hard to know what is helping and what is overstepping boundaries.

The same sort of bashing on a male feminist happened in this article that argues against Hugo Schwyzer: I'm not going to comment on the author's other points against his article (I didn't read his article). But she goes on to say at the end of her piece that Schwyzer, who is frequently featured on Jezebel, should not be a voice for feminism because the oppressors (men) cannot lead the oppressed (women) out of their oppressed state. That would just be more oppression.

I happen to love Schwyzer's articles, as they are well-written and delve into the reasons why men act in a sexist manner, which is a perspective you don't get from female feminists. But also, I think it's ridiculous to say that a man cannot speak out for feminism.

First of all, feminism is not just about women, despite the "feminine" root in the word and its reputation. A large part of its movement does involve women, but it is not limited to that. Feminists believe that men also suffer from sexism, as they are similarly subject to media that pressures them into a specific kind of masculinity, etc. Feminists believe in equality for everyone, which often includes gay marriage, another factor that affects men.

And also, assuming that sexism is only a problem that affects women ... so what if men decide to be a voice in support of feminism? Isn't that a good thing? Wouldn't converting others to our way of thinking and educating them be exactly what we want?

Seriously, I think you're being a bad feminist if you're trying to exclude men who genuinely want to support the movement. If you think they're in the wrong, you can try to educate them, but ostracizing them not only gives feminists a terrible reputation, but is also extremely hypocritical.

Edit: I have since found out that Hugo Schwyzer tried to kill his ex-girlfriend in a murder suicide attempt, and other not-so-flattering misogynistic things about him. (Here: This definitely changes my feelings about him, and, at the very least, I take back my praise.

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