If You’re Not a Feminist – What the Hell is Wrong with You!!?

feminist-man

I am a male human being.

And you’d better believe I’m a feminist.

I wear that label proudly.

The other day a friend of mine heard one of my articles was published in Everyday Feminism. And he said, “Kind of a backhanded compliment. Isn’t it?”

Hell no!

What does that mean? Would someone suppose that a man being considered a feminist somehow made him less of a man?

On the contrary. I think it makes him more of one. It makes him a decent freakin’ person.

I just don’t understand this ridicule and fear of being called a feminist. I see it in both men and women.

The other day a co-worker said she’s all for the idea that men and women deserve equal pay for the same job, but she doesn’t consider herself a feminist.

Why the Hell not? That is a distinctly feminist point of view.

There seems to be this stigma about the term as if being a feminist was tantamount to being some sort of radical troublemaker. Some folks seem to think that feminists essentially hate men and seek them grievous harm.

It’s ridiculous.

A feminist is just someone who thinks men and women should have the same rights and opportunities.

That’s it. You can add more complicated terms, talk about economic, social and political rights, but it’s the same darn thing.

Being a feminist just means you’re not an asshole. That’s not a gender-specific value. Nor should it depend on your political affiliation, sexual preference or spirituality.

If you think all people, regardless of what they’ve got between their legs, deserve to be treated fairly, then SURPRISE! You’re feminist!

In the words of activist and academic Cheris Kramarae, feminism is “the radical notion that women are people.”

Some folks try to convince you otherwise. They play a card from the racist playbook. It goes like this:

Stop saying ‘Feminism.’ Women don’t deserve equal rights. All people do.

It’s the same passive aggressive trick of the closeted white supremacists who attack Black Lives Matter activists because “All Lives Matter!”

Listen, skeezicks, no one said “ONLY Black Lives Matter” just like no one said “ONLY women’s rights matter.” What you’re complaining about is pure baloney – a way to shut down the conversation and stop people from talking about inequalities that actually exist for women and people of color.

And don’t assume I’m excluding transgender people, either. LGBTs are just as deserving of fair treatment as cisgender folks, heterosexuals or anyone else.

Yes, feminism calls attention to the plight of women. It deserves that attention. We have a lot of work to do making that right. Why should I feel guilty about bringing that up?

I am perfectly comfortable being called a feminist. I have a mother, and I love her. I have two grandmothers, an aunt, a wife, a daughter. Most of us, whether we’re women or not, have important relationships with someone of the female persuasion. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny those loved ones equal treatment.

But you don’t have to know or care about a single woman. You could have sprung from the ground like a mushroom and lived in a dark corner without meeting anyone all your life. Why would you want to deny half of the human race fair treatment?

It’s a deep seated psychosis. Like so much else, the current Presidential election has brought it even more to the forefront.

For the first time in American history, a woman tops the ticket of a major political party. (She’s not even the only one. The Green Party has an impressive female candidate, too!) And just like in 2008 when Barack Obama became the our first President of color, the crazies are coming out of the woodwork.

I even had a female acquaintance tell me she couldn’t support Hillary Clinton because she didn’t feel comfortable with a woman in the Oval Office. She thought a woman would be too emotional to make those kinds of life-and-death decisions.

What a pile of crap!

It doesn’t matter if you support Clinton or not. Being a woman does not disqualify her from the Presidency. Women make life-and-death decisions every day. In fact, given that many women have the very machinery of life embedded in their own bodies, they may be MORE suited to these decisions than men. After all, they are empowered to decide whether new life comes into the world. They literally give birth to the future.

Men can be important parts of the process. But it’s not biologically required to the same degree.

Being the father of a daughter is the most important relationship in my life.

And I’ll admit it made me think about gender issues more deeply.

All parents see the world anew through their children’s eyes, and what I see from my little one’s point of view doesn’t fill me with confidence.

I see everywhere women have to prove themselves just to get in the door while men are assumed to be worthy of a shot just by virtue of their masculinity.

People listen to men more seriously than they do women. People expect men to take the lead. They expect women to follow. Men have much higher representation in almost all valued professions – doctors, lawyers, politicians.

It’s no wonder school teachers get no respect. They’re mostly women. As one of the few males in front of the classroom, I see this first hand on a daily basis.

So I try to do what I can to protect my daughter from ingesting these cultural stereotypes and sick ways of thinking.

Just the other day, we were listening to a Joan Jett song, and my little one asked if there were many good women rock stars. I responded by making her a playlist on my iPod filled with nothing but female fronted music groups. It’s full of artists like No Doubt, Cyndi Lauper, the Pretenders, Heart, Lauryn Hill, Patti LaBelle and Fiona Apple.

My daughter loves it. When we ride around in the car she invariably asks for “The Girl Album,” and I get it. She likes hearing people like her in that role. She likes seeing that it’s a possibility, that girls don’t have to take a backseat. They can lead. They’re just as important as boys any day.

That’s what being a feminist means.

It’s challenging your own patriarchal ways of thinking. It’s continually asking ‘Is this fair?” It’s having the courage to challenge the status quo and siding with the oppressed against the oppressor – even if the oppressor looks like you.

So Hell Yeah I’m a feminist. And if you’re not – really – what is wrong with you!!?

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15 thoughts on “If You’re Not a Feminist – What the Hell is Wrong with You!!?

  1. I got here from Lloyd Lofthouse’s reblog.

    What a WONDERFUL post – and an even better title! Thank you. I wish every man who has a mother, sister or daughter would read this post and join you on the feminist bandwagon. I will be pinning your graphic to “Sing out Louse” – my board with (mostly) male support for feminist/humanist issues (an addition to my Woman Warriors Board).

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Like

  2. Excellent post, Steven.
    And just as a side-note, “Skeezix” (sometimes spelled Skeezicks) was a character in the “Gasoline Alley” comic strip. He was an abandoned baby adopted by the main character, Walt Wallet.

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    • Since you asked, here’s the playlist:

      Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
      Volcano Girls – Veruca Salt
      Just a Girl – No Doubt
      Call Me – Blondie
      Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
      Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
      Don’t Get Me Wrong – The Pretenders
      Crazy on You – Heart
      I Miss the Misery – Halestorm
      You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt
      Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill
      Cannonball – The Breeders
      Cherry Bomb – the Runaways
      Seether – Veruca Salt
      O’ Sailor – Fiona Apple
      Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
      Lady Marmalade – Patti LaBelle
      Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
      Gloria – Patti Smith
      At Last – Etta James

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  3. I am Sorry for not agree with you. Feminism is not what it is supposed to be. One thing is words, and nice words, that any people with self critical thinking could agree, but other completely different are the actions, facts that are feminism in reality. Even your quote: “A feminist is just someone who thinks men and women should have the same rights and opportunities.” starts with avoiding one thing: “Responsibilities” And that is one of the Biggest mistakes of feminism. Rights come with Duties, Responsibilities. Not doing so, makes a group, in this case women, privileged. If you want an example here it comes: “Women are not obligated to serve as Reservist when asked to vote, while men are”. Violence comes in a non-peaceful society, peace cannot come when there is some injustice, and privilege is injustice. So feminism is discord, and the fallacy of false dichotomy in which if you don’t agree with feminism, then you are a misogynist. And that, as any fallacies, is false. There are good people (men and women), who respects any person rights and integrity who are not called themselves feminists. They disagree with the idea that women have less rights than men, but they all must be equal, and not blame one gender for the problems of the others.
    There are bad people too, but usually feminism what they do is only demonize bad men, and makes invisible and apologizes bad women. And that is, of course, double standard. Bad people is bad people, no matter their gender.

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    • Aporcel, I do see your point. In practice, feminism can be used to justify unfair laws, silence justified criticism, etc. However, this is true of almost anything. The ideal behind it is still a good one and deserving of support.

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    • You apparently do not realize that there is no longer a military draft in this country, so your comment “Women are not obligated to serve as Reservist when asked to vote, while men are” has absolutely no relevance whatsoever.
      I don’t know which country you live in, and if you happen to live in the USA now, then you need to educate yourself on our laws. Your statement is a total lie when it comes to the United States.

      Like

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