My fairy feminist Godmother bell hooks said it best: Feminism is for everybody, including males. But……
Any male that recognizes and commits himself to the fight of ending inequality between the sexes, speaks out against street harassment, domestic and sexual violence and does not support rape culture all while being a gentlemen is okay is my book.
When practiced positively, feminism indeed can be for everybody.
Thus, this leads me to the subject of male feminists, which are quite interesting to me.
While I am here for them, for all the reasons I described above, I am not here for them trying to dictate or determine what is or is not offensive to women.
Using my my own personal example, I can recall a conversation I had with this guy who identifies as a feminist. He’s an awesome person overall, but sometimes his new feminist awakening irks me.
For clarity, I was telling him about how this one female was annoying me, and he acted like I slapped his mother or something. The conversation went like this:
Me: So yeah, this female… *voice trails off*
Him: Don’t say female.
Me: Why not? It’s either that or I call her a bitch so.. *voice trails off*
Him: The word ‘female’ is offensive because it reduces women down to nothing but their biological sex.
As a Black Feminist, *I’m personally not offended by the word ‘female’. I’m usually offended by what comes along after it, such as “All these females are hoes” or “All these females ain’t shit.” Despite me not being offended by the word, I recognize that some women are truly offended by the word female, and if I am aware of that, I respectfully refer to them as whatever they prefer.
Anyways, my issue wasn’t in him correcting me per se. My issue is with him trying to tell me what women should find offensive.
In my opinion, he can’t do that. Not only because he is a male, but also because all women are different, therefore one solitary person cannot determine what is or is not offensive for one gender.
Another way male feminists irk my nerves is when they try to control lady feminists’ narratives about women-related issues.
For example, the topic of street harassment is heavy these days, and while I am aware that it happens to both women and men, I don’t care to have my narratives about it diminished or erased. I know quite a few male feminists who will make it a point to mention their street harassment from women, or will emphasize: “Not all men do this”
B R U H.
While I am perfectly aware of that, I would rather male feminists actually listen to what I have to say, instead of interjecting their unwanted and unnecessary opinions all the time.
That being said, make no mistake about it, but I respect male feminists, and they are really appreciated. However, if you are a male feminist, you must realize a few things:
1) You cannot determine what women should find offensive.
2) Unless specifically asked, your experiences about issues that more commonly happen to women are not always needed. There is a time and place for everything, and to interject unnecessarily can lead to erasing the narrative of the women, and that is some shit to get offended about.
3) We don’t need you to mention that “not all men” do certain things. WE. GET. IT. Try to things less personally, and work on holding all men accountable so they can stop making all men look bad.
The most *I* as feminist needs you, the male feminist to do is listen. And support. No you didn’t create the gender inequality, rape culture, etc, but you sure as hell benefit from it. Try listening, and understanding us too while you’re at it. After all, feminism is for everybody.
So, what do you all think about men’s place in feminism?