There is no He in Feminism
Feature from Monkey Girl - Tuesday, 03 January 2012 @ 9:50am
On my journey to identifying myself as a feminist, I engaged in multiple conversations with friends and family, expressing my discomfort with the ambiguity surrounding the term 'feminism'. My initial thoughts were, how can I associate myself with something that isn't even defined? Since then I've come to accept that I hold feminist views on certain things. I recall certain conversations with my friends which surprised me. While some held the view that a feminist was a woman who essentially hated men, and couldn't understand it's place in current society, others openly confessed their own feminism, and not just the women.
A young, 24-year-old, male, successful lawyer, openly shared his own feminism with me. 'Yeah, I'd call myself a feminist for sure!' It was at this point that I remembered the conversations that I had had with some other feminists earlier in the week. 'Men can't be feminist. They can be pro-feminism, but they can't be feminists.'
I don't know about you, but when a guy tells me that he's a feminist, I'm not about to turn around and tell him he can't be one. Who am I to say that anyway? If we avoid defining feminism (due to the multiplicity of definitions held by an array of feminists), how can we possibly restrict who can and cannot be a feminist?
So my question is this, how do we encourage men who identify themselves with the feminist movement? We push and fight to be heard, acknowledged and appreciated, but how do we respond when we ARE heard, ARE acknowledged, ARE appreciated by the men amongst us who wish to join us? Is there room for men in feminism?
Photo taken from editor's own collection