The Consequences of Being a “Male Feminist”

 

 

I feel like I should say a disclaimer before I begin this post:

I am in no way comparing any trouble I encounter with the enormous obstacles faced by women. I believe that although sexism exists for both men and women, an overwhelming majority of sexist trials are endured by women.

That being said, I hate the term “male feminist.” To me, anyone who believes that women are equal to men in every aspect of humanity in the general sense is a feminist. Period.

When the history books discuss slavery, most of the time, they don’t identify prominent white opponents of slavery as “white abolitionists.” Just as the term “abolitionist” describes a person who opposes slavery regardless of their skin color, “feminist” describes a person who supports true equality for women regardless of their gender.

I suppose my reasoning for writing this post goes beyond an informative mission. I feel the need to define myself to you, the readers, so that we’re all on the same page and lingering questions you may have about me in the back of your mind don’t prevent you from connecting with the philosophy I intend to convey.

Being a man and a feminist is no easy task. Being a woman is even harder, no doubt, but a guy who describes himself as a feminist seems to automatically open himself up to speculation.

Admittedly, few men call themselves a feminist. In part, this is because “feminist” has become something of a dirty word–or, at the very least, an insult–across much of the country. It has been hijacked by uneducated and/or manipulative political powers that do everything they can to discredit the movement for women’s rights.

But it goes deeper than that. Men who strongly support women’s rights (and are vocal about it) seem to invite criticism, derisiveness, and a questioning of their motives.

My favorite bogus explanation that some throw out there is that men who fight for women’s rights are doing so to get laid, the theory being that they appear sensitive, inviting, friendly, etc.

Now, I’m sure those kind of men exist, but to say all men who call themselves feminists are like that is incredibly biased and ignorant.

Friends, I’ve been doing this for a few years (as best as a novice activist can), and I can tell you two things:

1. I have never been approached by a woman or flirted with by one or done any type of sexual activity with one as a result of saying something along the lines of “Hey baby, I’m a feminist. Can I have your number?”

It just doesn’t work that way. Granted, I haven’t tried it because I don’t like using my sincere political beliefs for personal gain (also because it’s manipulative), but based on my interactions with women, saying you’re a feminist isn’t attractive. It’s odd, it’s strange, and it makes you look weak (even if you happen to be passionate).

I think the reason for this is that society doesn’t equate feminists with stereotypically strong types of men. Feminists are supposed to be women who hate men. Therefore, a man who is a feminist must hate himself or be doing so to get laid.

This is nonsense, of course, but I’ve found that when I’m vocal about women’s rights, even if they happen to agree with my views, some men and women draw conclusions about my strength as a human being.

I don’t like that, but I’ve come to accept it. It’s the price in the fight for equality and a price I think is worth paying.

What I can’t accept is speculation that I’m trying to lure women in by casting out my opinions on gender equality.

2. I really don’t need help in this department. I do fine on my own without needing to attempt subtly manipulating women with my beliefs. On my first several dates, I don’t bring up heavy political topics. It kinda takes away the fun, which is the point of the date. If she brings it up, I’ll share. If she doesn’t, we can leave that for later.

Some seem to react by psychologically analyzing the man. If he’s not trying to get laid, he either hates himself (as previously mentioned) or there must be some kind of psychological benefit.

This is also false.

Now, I admit, I was extensively abused by my mother as a child. Amateur psychologists might draw the conclusion that I’m seeking the female approval I never obtained from my mother, and that by being active in women’s rights, I feel I can finally fill that need.

Well, this is also wrong. As hard it is to believe, I am a proud feminist solely because it disgusts me that women are second-class citizens both in America and around the world.

I am a feminist because I want my women friends, my women colleagues, my future wife, and my potential future daughters, and every other woman in this world to have every right that the men and the potential future sons in my life do.

It ends there. I have no ulterior motive. I genuinely want equality because it’s the right to do.

I feel better having posted this because I feel it now gives me license to write whatever I wish without fear that I’m secretly or openly being judged as insincere in my beliefs.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy my future posts.

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6 thoughts on “The Consequences of Being a “Male Feminist”

  1. Deborah Stuart says:

    Good for you, you should feel positive towards everyone as you obviously do. It’s very refreshing to hear someone admit that they feel empathetic towards women. There are geniune characteristics such as being sensitive to women in an asexual manner, I hope that whomever becomes your wife is appreciative of it. It is very rare these days.

  2. Steven Whitham says:

    First off, I want to congratulate you Charles on being an intellectually honest liberal and for taking the time to argue without insult. My comment isn’t specifically about this post, just in general. You’re a rarity in that regard. Though, sad to say, my side doesn’t produce many either.

    Second, by your definition I would also be a feminist because I too believe in equal rights for women. I would like to point out however that the reason the term “feminist” is often derided is because the notion of equal rights for women has been used to support things that have little or nothing to do with equality. For example, abortion, which due to its controversiality is increasingly the most perceived public aspect of the modern feminist movement. I know you’re pro-choice, and I really don’t want to get into it with you right now. But whatever you believe, there is nothing inherently “equal” about that subject until men start being born with a uterus (among other things).

    Equal pay for equal work, equal protection under the law, equal representation, and equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those are inherently equal comparisons to draw. If that’s all the feminists were about, I’d be proud to be one too.

  3. Leah says:

    “I’ve found that when I’m vocal about women’s rights, even if they happen to agree with my views, some men and women draw conclusions about my strength as a human being.”

    You’re definitely right about the stigma that the word “feminist” carries both among men and women, but I think you’re not giving women a lot of credit here. Are you saying that women need strong, macho types to be sexually attracted? It seems to me that most women would enjoy a man listening and conversing without interrupting, a man who isn’t violent, a man who respects her mind and her experiences – none of that is seen as weak, whether or not you use the word “feminist”. Maybe there are other reasons people draw conclusions?

    • cmclymer says:

      Leah, you’re right. I should have stated in this in a general sense (which is what I meant), certainly not an indictment of all women.

      I do believe that many women are attracted to “strong” men and that being a feminist seems “feminine” or stereotypically weak. This is absurd, of course, because women are not weak, but there you have it… society pushes these standards of thinking because they’re convenient. They allow us to turn off our brains.

  4. Brenda says:

    Rare indeed…and I totally respect you!

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