18 March 2011

Can a man identify as a feminist?


I've not much to offer, as ever-it's Friday and Comic Relief! But I read this article and had a mixed reaction. I'm glad he's owning his own privilege, but...as a white person, I can't say that I'm antiracist because, like it or not, I benefit from white privilege every day. I benefit from other people's oppressions. And this man benefits from being a man, so really? Are you a feminist when every day you benefit from a misogynistic society?

Also..'feminists don't hate men. We looove men'. Um...it's NOT ABOUT THE MEN. Sometimes I DO hate men, as it's very tiresome being seen as nothing more than a walking uterus/sperm dump. This shouldn't prevent men from listening to me because occassionally I am angry.

I don't know, in many ways I do get what he's saying, but...blah.


  1. "I can't say that I'm antiracist because, like it or not, I benefit from white privilege every day"

    benefiting from privilege and being a racist are so completely different things.

    being anti-racist is about the actions you DO, benefiting from privilege is more about the things DONE TO YOU by society at large.

    least that's how I see it.

  2. Wow, I have many thoughts about this.

    So yes, it's not about the men. And I think it's a minefield when you walk into a fight that is not about you. How does a straight/cis person fight for GLBQT rights? (Here, have an article on that as viewed through Harry Potter: http://www.deeplyproblematic.com/2011/03/hermione-granger-and-failures-of.html) There are so many dangers when your own privilege is a factor, and not the least of them is coming off condescending.

    But you know, staying out of the fight isn't really an answer either. I remember really vividly a discussion in one of my classes my first year of grad school, when a male classmate said that he wasn't a feminist because that term couldn't really apply to men, and he thought it was something women should kind of keep as their thing. He didn't mean it in a condescending way, but it really came off as, oh, you have your own clubhouse! That's adorable!

    So where is a man's place in feminism? (The Onion has an answer: http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-finally-put-in-charge-of-struggling-feminist-m,2338/) As a more-or-less straight person, where's my place in the GLBTQ movement? (I want to do a whole post on that and how it relates to my reasons for quitting Glee.)

    In the end I think we can use all the allies we can get, and this guy sounds to me like an ally. The doesn't mean we don't fight his privilege, and that doesn't mean we must agree with everything he says, and that doesn't mean we don't call out the fake allies, whose actions end up hurting the movement they profess to support. That means we (and our allies, including men) stay alert and fight our own privilege -- it's really the kyriarchy we're fighting, and most of us have some sort of privilege within it that we have to push against.