Inbox me one thing you want to know about me c:
its really important for men to stand up to other men who say terrible and sexist shit
because sexist men dont listen to what women have to say
literally the most important thing men can do if they want to call themselves feminist allies
Can men not call themselves feminists? Why do we have to add the “allies” bit?
Some people are uncomfortable with men labelling thesmelves as feminists rather than feminist allies because feminism is first and foremost about supporting and liberating women. You wouldn’t call yourself lgbt if you weren’t lgbt, you’d call yourself and lgbt ally.
You can fight against racism without being an ethnic minority but the fight against racism is about supporting and liberating ethnic minorities, and you wouldn’t call yourself black if you weren’t.
A lot of women fear men calling themselves feminist over allies because the feminist movement is a movement for women, and some feminist men use feminism as a platform to talk over women, tell them they’re wrong about their own liberation group etc and that’s precisely what feminism is fighting against. A lot of people, myself included, are very happy when men identify as feminists. But there are people who would prefer they used the term ally and they have valid reason to feel that way.
While I take your point, and slightly see where you’re coming from, I think this is a question of semantics.
Without wanting to trivialise this topic or turn it into an SAT word puzzle, I have to call out one of your arguments. You say “Racism is about supporting and liberating ethnic minorities, and you wouldn’t call yourself black.” By that note, doesn’t the correct version of your point then become “Feminism is about supporting and liberating females, and you wouldn’t call yourself a woman”? And of course I wouldn’t. I respect where you were coming from, but that line of thought is fundamentally flawed. I support Feminism as an ideology, and I would never pretend for a single second that I was a woman.
In Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’, (which is a wicked song, and is even better because it brought this fascinating speaker to my attention) she features a brilliant speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, where she discusses the point of feminism and concludes by saying “Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” Not a woman. Not a man. A person. Because surely that’s the point of feminism, is it not? The whole ideology? That a woman should be treated fairly, given every right and freedom and not be defined, controlled or have her life dictated or held back because of her gender? And as such, why should someone not be allowed to consider themselves a feminist, because of their gender? It completely defeats the point. (Then Beyonce goes on to do that “I woke up like this” bit, which is fierce as hell, but that’s for another time.)
It is a question of semantics, and one there are a plethora of different opinions on, each with their own validity. But sometimes I feel as though when you sit there and tell a man who is supportive of feminism that he must refer to himself as an “ally”, it creates a divide. It says “We are different. You do not have the right to be like us.” And when the entire purpose you’re fighting for is an end to discrimination and a true equality between the sexes…that seems astoundingly backwards.