Can men be feminists?

Short simple answers to the questions we see the most

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Can men be feminists?

Post by spacefem » Wed Dec 28, 10:17 2011

Yes.

Historically, the women's rights movement has had contributions from some of the brightest men in history, from Henry Sidgwick to Frederick Douglass. Today there are entire organizations, like Men Against Violence (http://www.mavinc.org/) and the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (http://www.nomas.org/) that are fantastic allies.

There is nothing in anyone's definition of a feminist that implies that the person has to be a woman.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Sonic# » Wed Dec 28, 15:58 2011

Many feminists are men, including this one. Anyone who is willing to listen and try to understand others' experiences and their own privileges can help.

In addition to what Spacefem mentioned, feminism has also given many men the impetus to break out of unnecessarily restrictive gender roles. For example, it is becoming more acceptable for a man to be an elementary school teacher or a nurse. A man that has a desire to be nurturing need not feel ashamed, both because feminism gives people more power to choose their own identity and because it seeks to vindicate necessary but undervalued traits like nurturing.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Wed Dec 28, 17:23 2011

Anyone who has the capability to believe there is a disparity between the rights and opportunties we as a society grant men and women, and wish to change that fact, can be a feminist. This, of course, includes people of all genders.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Storage and Disposal » Wed Dec 28, 20:40 2011

The notion that only women are feminists is an example of why feminism is important, I think. It's a mentality that keeps putting genders in separate boxes when individuals should be more recognized. Anyone can be a feminist.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Tookie » Thu Dec 29, 13:25 2011

Yeah they can! They just need to be ready to listen.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by AndrewZealand » Fri Oct 11, 20:32 2013

I had a run in with a feminist woman once who treated me as though, because I am a man, my opinions about women's plight, be them positive or negative, are invalid. Because I don't understand what it's like to be a woman, I can't comment.

Well, as many people have pointed out, when women are forced to obey a set of rules, that also dictates rules that men have to follow. If women are forced to have a limited set of duties that means men have to pick up the slack. Because everything is intertwined, and men are hurt by misogyny too, men should have the right to respond toward sexist treatment of women. Ok I admit this is at the selfish end of reasons for a man to respond to sexism towards women, but it's perhaps a reason that is harder to argue with than responses based on sympathy and compassion.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by DOOM » Sun Oct 13, 15:33 2013

Yes they can be but often it boils down to them really apologizing for being male and becoming self haters. I consider myself a human rights activists. I could care less on gender.More people should care about humans instead of just males or just females.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Aum » Mon Oct 14, 14:27 2013

^ How obnoxious. I'm not a feminist because I hate myself but because I see how patriarchy harms both men and women. Are you here to troll or something?
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by minervyx » Mon Dec 23, 6:17 2013

I'm not so sure about this. I think men can be pro-feminist. I don't know about actually being a feminist.

I guess it's not a 100% set in stone rule that men can't be feminists; but I think throwing around the term male-feminist willy-nilly can set a bad precedence. For example, a man could say sexist things, but it's totally okay because he claims to be a feminist.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Jackninja5 » Sat Sep 16, 1:54 2017

Men can be feminists. Dictionary.com defines feminist as "advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men", which means anyone can be a feminist regardless of gender.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Skeezy » Wed Dec 13, 17:47 2017

@Doom and @Aum

Hard to say what it is because a lot of men who think they are feminst, dont really know what feminism is. They'll say "I treat women with respect" and they think that means they are feminist. Compeletely oblivious to the equality and strides.

Thats one reason I do research and came here to ask actual feminists questions I have and talk things over. Also to see if feminism is really about equality and to see if feminists really know what equality means vs just making strides for women.

Mixed feelings so far. I do see a lot of man bashing but also understand certain aspects. My fear is that its spreading too fast with too little true knowledge. I dont see it as a bad thing but, some indivduals have a misguided way of looking at things, thinking they are making it equal but really its ultimately pro woman. Depends on the topic. Thus the varied attitudes when talking to feminists, some are not about equality. In my opinion thats why its still the feminist movement and not equal human rights movement. A lot of mens natural nature, some feminsts disapprove of, so mens aspect/feelings mean doodoo compared to annoyances some women have or how they think things should be.

They really dont look at the feelings and underlyings of male psyche. So I cant fully say its for everyone.
For example all rapists deserve harshest punishment. So the guy who kidnaps a woman, abuses and rapes then kills a woman is equal to the college kid that takes advantage of a drunk girl that said yes then said no. To a feminist they are both trash. However a large majority of men will have a scenario similar to the 2nd across the course of their lifetime. Regardless of their own scenario, they might see the 2nd scenario as a kid who made a huge mistake, much like the kids mother would.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Aum » Sat Dec 16, 14:42 2017

Yes I'm sure a lot of men (and women) don't know what feminism really is, but will call themselves feminists. How does this negate that male feminists exist? It doesn't.

I consider myself an ally to feminism because I have witnessed my female friends and relatives go through a lot which they shared with me in confidence. I'm also a gay man so I have witnessed, intimately, what men are capable of doing to even other men. There's no doubt in my mind that they are capable of the same or worse toward women.

It's not about hating men it's about calling out certain behaviours, attitudes and cultures which support and protect harmful and pathological practices. I'm tired of explaining this to men who get so defensive every time feminists try to talk constructively about these things. If you can't have a discerning discussion that tries to parse good from bad in an earnest attempt to be fair and objective then maybe you aren't ready, willing or able to partake in the discourse.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by tomokun » Mon Feb 5, 13:49 2018

So, not to play Devil's Advocate, but there are feminist arguments for why men can't be feminists.

They aren't trollish, they aren't mean-spirited -in fact they strike me as quite philosophically sound.

Article, written by a feminist, discussing why men can't be feminist, but can still be valuable allies:
https://medium.com/@louelle.de.nor/no-m ... 0689ac8d43

The core argument, for those that don't want to put the reading in, is this:
  • *Premise: To exist, is to be regarded as an equal in society.
    *Men have been dictating women's lives and what it MEANS to be a woman - this is Patriarchy.
    *Feminism is the movement for women to be able to really exist, which means outside of the oppressing force of patriarchy.
    *Feminism is also the process of women necessary for women to achieve true equality.
    *Feminsm, as a movement, must be public, and must be performed by women for the process to work. If it is private, it does nothing to assert women's identities. If it is performed by men, it is inherently no different from patriarchy.
Therefore, men can't be feminist without the experience of being a woman. Yes transwoman can be feminists**, according to the author of that article.


**Special thanks to Storage and Disposal for pointing out this unclear phrasing on my part.
Last edited by tomokun on Wed Feb 7, 17:45 2018, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Storage and Disposal » Mon Feb 5, 15:50 2018

This article could probably use its own thread.

This definitive modern idea further underlines the differences between two sexes and is an example of why feminism has become a bit of a joke nowadays. To those that cater to this and want to exclude me from the feminist label, good. I don't want to be apart of that idea of feminism. That's not to say that womanly pride shouldn't be felt or that men can accurately represent women. I'm only saying the definition in this article i's not my definition of feminism.

And excluding trans people is bullshit. I wonder if she thinks trans men can be feminists.

"a man/woman isn’t their physiology. We choose who we are."

Also, choosing who we are in terms of gender isn't something I agree with either. Most people can't just choose how you feel. You either feel you are something or you don't. If a woman feels like a woman, but doesn't like the effects of the patriarchy and randomly chooses to identify as a man, that's a huge slap in the face to trans people that don't have a choice in the matter.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by tomokun » Tue Feb 6, 15:44 2018

So Storage, just to clarify, she does specifically state that she thinks what's important is that you IDENTIFY and PRESENT as a woman, in order to be a feminist. What's important is that you, for all intents and purposes, are a woman. If you meet this qualification by your own standards, then yes, you can be a feminist.

If, however, you do not meet the qualification of woman by your own standards, and instead function as a man, present as a man, etc., then you cannot be a Feminist. So she is not, by any standard that I understand, excluding trans people. She is including them:
Friend: You’ve said: a man/woman isn’t their physiology. We choose who we are. But our definition of who we are must rely on, if not our physiology, how our physiology is perceived. This perception in turn defines us. There’s a problem of determination; do we decide who we are, or does the world? How does the world decide?
Me: That’s just it. It’s both.
This begins to open up the heart of the problem. My thoughts aren’t solid regarding this issue. And that’s okay. But let me offer some thoughts:

The experience of being a woman is integral to her ability to be a feminist. To be a feminist, she must have experienced the way the world treats women, the problems women face. But keep in mind that a woman is a self-defined thing. A trans woman is a woman. She experiences the world, not only as a woman, but as a trans woman — a place of even greater discrimination. Because of this, trans women are integral to the feminist aim.

A woman who presents as a man, who benefits from this presentation, who is only a woman privately, internally, cannot be a feminist despite being a woman. This is because she has the benefit of male privilege, experiences the world as a man, and is treated as a man.
Not being especially familiar with "appropriate" language regarding referencing the Trans community myself, I find no issues with the above quote. There is a certain latitude I think is necessary when having discussions since it benefits neither side to act as if language is universal. It is cultural, and that includes subcultures and countercultures, etc. So even if we use the same words, if we don't pay close attention, we could speaking different languages entirely.

I hope the above quote provided clarity? If not, I'd like to understand why.

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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by Storage and Disposal » Tue Feb 6, 22:26 2018

I see. The way you paraphrased the article seemed to say that trans women cannot be feminists.

The rest is still bullshit.
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by geldofc » Thu Feb 8, 3:59 2018

Yes as long as they don't repeatedly label themselves for points and mansplain and shit talk to women like assholes like Justin Trudeau. :moose:
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Re: Can men be feminists?

Post by 60sBornFeminist » Sat Aug 11, 17:34 2018

What I find interesting is this:

According to a 2013 poll by the Huffington Post, "20 percent of Americans — including 23 percent of women and 16 percent of men — consider themselves feminists". And 82 percent "believe that 'men and women should be social, political, and economic equals'".


I bring this up, because often, you will hear "I don't think you realize that you are actually a feminist. In order to be a feminist, all you have to do is believe in equality for men and women. Since you believe that, you are therefore, a feminist".


It seems that for a lot people, they'll hear this definition and say, "Okay, well if that is the definition, then sure, I am a feminist".



Before we ask ourselves, "can men be feminists?", we first have to agree on what it takes to be a feminist. Is it about what you believe, or is it about your actions? Within these two subjects, I believe feminists today have a PR problem.


In regards to actions, I see that many feminists will assume that the male opinion is weighed less than that of a woman's. Since this does not follow equality between men and women, this turns people away from all genders. However, since men are on the front-end of this issue, they are more likely to see the hypocrisy of many feminists and simply fight for equality elsewhere, without wearing the "feminist hat".

I believe in equality for men and women, but some feminists have tried to "revoke" my feminist card because I disagree with them on abortion or their view of the wage gap. What beliefs does one need to be a feminist? Does one need to be pro-choice? Does one need to have the same opinion of a certain social issue? Some feminists will actually turn away people that hold beliefs that differ from them. From my experience, men with differing viewpoints have been turned away from feminists more frequently than women that hold those same differing beliefs.


Once we nail down a definition for what it takes to be a feminist, we can better nail down who is applicable to be a feminist. Because today, many people are told different qualifications for being a feminist, and men appear to be turned away more frequently compared to women that hold similar beliefs. We can then also discuss if people must "self-identify" as feminists or if people are "by default" feminists because they believe something.

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