We’ve all done it. We’ve all heard our female friends do it. The urge to qualify the fact that you’re a feminist with “But I don’t hate men! I’m not a man-hater!” as if the two go hand in hand.
And I think it’s time to stop.
I get why we do it. We don’t want the conversation to turn men off. We don’t want them to feel excluded or maligned. We want men to feel welcome in that conversation.
But think of it this way: almost every public conversation on earth is catered towards men. Politics and the media are disproportionately made up of conversations between men, about men and the things that are of interest to them. Almost every public space has been catered towards the interests and needs of men - from the workplace, to the research lab, to the White House.
Feminist spaces and dialogues are by no means exclusively for women, but they’re some of the only places and conversations that have been catered towards the interests and needs of people who aren’t men. And that’s important.
Conversations about feminism are the last conversations that need to be catered towards men.
I honestly mean this as a compliment to men: we should assume that they are smart enough and evolved enough to know that, when we say we’re feminists, we’re not saying that we hate men. We’re saying that we believe in equal rights between all people, regardless of arbitrary social categories like gender. We’re saying that we believe our society is an unjust power structure that rewards men and punishes everyone else. We’re saying that we believe we deserve to be paid as much and taken as seriously as men. We’re saying that we believe in a better future for everyone, and we want to fight for that.
Never again will I entertain the idea that feminism = man-hating. I’m not going to preface my belief in women’s rights with a comment that’s intended to soothe the egos of the men in the room. These conversations simply should not be catered towards making men feel as comfortable as possible. They’re not meant to be comfortable for anybody! You think we’re having a good time discussing the likelihood of us being raped in our lifetime? No, sir.
I’m not saying there aren’t valid ways to include men in feminist conversations. The patriarchy hurts men almost as much as it hurts women. And we should be fighting against the forces that tell men they should never be vulnerable, that they can’t wear eyeliner or dresses, and that violence is a solution to any of their problems.
Men are welcome in any conversation about feminism that I’m a part of, and I think we would be hard pressed to create progress without that inclusion. Change doesn’t happen if we don’t talk, listen and learn from one another.
I’m just done saying “I’m a feminist, but I don’t hate men! I love men! I have heaps of male friends!”
I’m a feminist. End of.Support Villainesse