Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Can men be feminists?
I'll try and cover this best I can given I’m a white male. Personally I don’t think men can be truly feminist but they can certainly have solidarity with women and do much to help the fight for gender equality. Many feminists welcome men's championship of the cause, but there's much debate over their entitlement to call themselves feminists Any movement for social justice would be doing itself no favors if it deliberately excluded its own supporters from the ranks, but while many feminists welcome men's championship of the cause, there's still a great deal of debate over their entitlement to call themselves feminists. The argument rages even amongst pro-feminist men, with some arguing that gender should be no barrier to full and active participation, and others arguing that as feminism is rooted in the women's liberation movement, a movement founded by women for the advancement of women, men have no right to lay claim to the tag. Brian Klocke of the National Organisation for Men against Sexism has argued: "Although I believe that men can be pro-feminist and anti-sexist, I do not believe we can be feminists in the strictest sense of the word in today's society. Men, in this patriarchal system, cannot remove themselves from their power and privilege in relation to women. To be a feminist one must be a member of the targeted group (ie a woman) not only as a matter of classification but as having one's directly-lived experience inform one's theory and praxis." Women feminists have also voiced misgivings about men's involvement in the movement. Some men, they argue, automatically assume a dominant role when they become activists, claiming to be better feminists than feminist women, and failing to recognise and challenge their own sexist behaviour. These so-called fellow travellers merely reinforce the tired gender stereotyping that feminism seeks to subvert, and by their domineering behaviour, they silence women's voices and perpetuate existing male power and oppression. They jockey for control and appoint themselves as spokespeople, in a diverse non-hierarchical movement that neither needs nor seeks figureheads or leaders. Men have to realise their position in society and that however much solidarity they portray they must always be aware of the historic role of men and that breaking down these boundaries is key to moving forward . For example you can't call yourself a feminist and then go home and beat your Partner; you can't call yourself a feminist and in the next breath deny your Daughter the right to decide her own future; you can't call yourself a feminist While at the same time you're patting women on the head and telling them how to Think. But treat women as equals and they may reciprocate. There's still a long way to Go, but we'll get there much faster together. Feminist issues is something I follow as I support gender equality in society and feel we are still a long way from that goal. There are lots of militant women in the workplace and allot of new feminist campaigns sprouting up all the time the coming years will be interesting to follow and as always women fighting back against the system have my full and humble solidarity. As in most matters, I think one is defined in life by what one does, how one lives, not what we claim to be. Labels mean little. Actions speak loudly.