Talking Politics

 

Male Feminist

 

I should probably try and temper my language, but I still feel obligated to drop the f-bomb. Ready? Hold your breath, here we go:


Feminist..


Sorry to use such shocking language. Or rather, I’m sorry that such language has become so shocking. Every time I mention the word, the conversation seems to skip a beat or even come to a screeching halt. I may toss terms such as “liberal”, “conservative”, “environmentalist”, and so forth without anyone batting an eyelash. The moment I mention feminism, they are either waiting for the punch line or an apology.


It causes me no end of confusion. How can we be living in this amazingly futuristic world (only 3 more years till hover boards) and ‘’feminism” is still considered a dirty word? Men seem more prone than ever to (inexplicably) play the victimization card because of so-called “Femi-nazis”. Women are more likely to start a conversation about the ongoing inequality with “I’m not a feminist, but…”, as if the term truly had evil connotations. There must be something I’m missing. Is there truly a movement of brown shirted, pink swastika toting, hairy arm-pitted, bra burning, strong arming female thugs out there raping and pillaging the country side, calling for men to be put in cages while taking too long to shop? If so, you would figure there would have been more twit-pics on their movements by now.



I’m not going to get into stats about salary inequality, women below the poverty line, true access to education and opportunity, or even women’s health and the big scary A-word. I’m not qualified to talk about it, and it’s often condescending from the male perspective. However, there is one statement I am qualified to make: I am a feminist. Why? Because I believe women are to be respected as equal to men. It is really that simple


No one is arguing that women and men are EXACTLY the same. That is not what being a feminist is about. Not all attempts at leveling the playing field are successful. I heard an example of a club in Portland where there is not men and women’s washrooms, but rather “sitting” and “standing” rooms. Well-meaning it may be, but any reflection on that concept should reveal that is rather more harmful and gross than anything else. This should not dissuade anyone from calling themselves a feminist as to do so only requires them to be committed to empathy and social progression, not women being forced to hear men poo constantly.


Others, have argued that feminism is a loaded term because it has focused on the rights of white, upper middle class women and left everyone else behind in their fight for equality, and therefore becomes implicitly racist, homophobic and classist. While this can be a problem of representation, this does not dismiss the need to fight for equality amongst the sexes. These battles are connected, and should be shared, a fundamental ethos of feminist ethical theory. Using the example of one person’s suffering and inequality does not justify ignoring another person’s suffering and inequality. In the words of the wise and hilarious Todd Glass: “Compassion is not a contest”.



So listen, guys: most of you do believe women and men are equal, but the misogynists are getting louder and louder while the rest of us seem to be putting on ear muffs. It’s high time we start making a little more noise ourselves. Blogs such as menagainstassholesandmisogyny.tumblr.com are already doing so, check them out and see how many male feminists are out there. Women don’t need you to defend them; they just need you to grow a pair.


Follow me on Twitter @IainLacourt




 

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