Today, more as a result of bored web browsing than anything else, I came across an article by Everyday Feminism1, in which its author, Drew Boling, contemplates whether he should get a tattoo of the all too familiar feminist symbol. His subsequent discussion with female feminists then leads him to question of the very notion of male feminists and whether they should not rather call themselves pro-feminism.
Drew furthermore claims, that what feminism has taught him is, that everything depends on its context. To me, however, there is shockingly little consideration of context within his argument. If we talk about a movement, that in its beginnings was hijacked by well-to-do white middle class women that wanted to achieve equal rights for men and women by for example creating employment possibilities for women whilst simultaneously disregarding the needs of women of colour and arguing that discussing racism was a diversion, the very notion of movement ownership seems awfully dangerous to me. Also, we should really know better than argue within the context of a male-female binary, because we know that this is harmful for everyone’s identity that is not represented within this dichotomy.
The idea of entrapment in sexist ideology, i.e. the idea that certain people need to fulfill certain roles based on their gender is to be rejected. Nevertheless, it needs be said that men do not suffer from sexism – they suffer from sexist discrimination and toxic masculinity. These means, while they have every right to be part of the movement and discuss the problem that affect them, we need to remember not to take over the conversation.
In the past, men and white people have been guilty of taking credit, taking up spaces and dominating conversations that essentially are to be had or pioneered by other groups of people. Men, at times, tend to be celebrated simply for proclaiming their feminist ideology, whereas women and women of colour especially, need to work way harder to achieve a similar amount of admiration.
But this is what we should be fighting, not attacking people who want to show openly that they support our cause.
Male feminist? Awesome!
Male feminist that talks over people who have valuable lived experiences that will enrich the discussion that he does not have to offer? Yeeeeah mate, we gotta talk…
featured image: https://www.google.de/search?q=male+feminists&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwism5mvgMXTAhWF0xQKHZZDBCcQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=759#tbm=isch&q=feminist+symbol+tatoo&imgrc=ieyI9GP5Q4ogaM: