A Gentleman’s Approach to Feminism is a weekly column from Journalist Walter Yeates. This column will mostly focus on women’s rights and other news which affect women around the world.
Male feminists are just that….
I’ll allow that to sink in for a bit for those who may think otherwise.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma that internet trolls and conservative talking heads enjoy perpetuating about male feminists. It seems they have a problem with cisgender male feminists as they often label them as “betas,” or say they incapable of getting past the “friend-zone,” or that they are actually “gay.”
Looks like there is a lot to unpack here, so why don’t we get started?
“Male Feminists Are Beta”
Does a man being aware of inequality in the workplace, disagreeing with stereotypical gender roles, and being for women having the ability to make their own decisions make him in some way less of “man”?
What his conclusions actually prove are that he has the ability to analyze research data, to empathize with those different from him, and to care about gender equality. The perception that in order for a man to be masculine he needs to look down towards women, or that women shouldn’t have the same rights, is a thought process which belongs buried in antiquity.
Men who grasp onto these ideals aren’t alpha males, they are, in a lot of cases, sexists and struggle to see women as equals.
“Male Feminists Are Always In The Friend Zone”
Perhaps male feminists aren’t disgusted by the thought of being friends with a female? Maybe male feminists see women past their physical appearance…
I could provide a dozen examples of why this line of thought is nonsense. Also, the notion that there aren’t any women in the United States that don’t find a man attractive who bothers to relate to their individual struggles is absolutely ludicrous.
This trope originates from ignorance and makes those who make the argument seem as if they prefer women who aren’t aware or refuse to acknowledge systematic biases which work against their own interests.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of women who appreciate a man who acknowledges these simple truths and doesn’t feel fragile or less of a man for stating them.
“Male Feminists Are All Gay”
This is probably the worst talking point of them all. It first assumes that being gay is somehow a disgusting insult that should bring shame to gay individuals. It then also assumes that no straight male can accept that women face social issues that men do not.
Not too long ago being a female was considered a “pre-existing condition” by insurance companies. Also, tampons in numerous states have a “luxury tax” attached to them. Those are two of many examples which show a bias against women in society.
Also, what does this have to do with sexuality? If there are men or women who want to argue against these statements, perhaps they should do so without using insults or dismissing a point of view as stupid because you don’t like it.
Is it that difficult to rely on data and act like adults?
I am a straight male who identifies as a feminist, just as I identify as a gentleman. Yes, there are different branches of feminism and some who identify as such aren’t the best flag bearers. Yet, that critique could be used on any political or social label in existence.
My approach to feminism is simple. All women should be treated equally in society no matter their ethnic background, religion, or age. Does that mean the popular (and disgustingly ridiculous) counter argument used “So, I can hit women now?” is now valid? No. That remains assault and is a disgusting thought. These also aren’t the type of men who are thinking about cases of self-defense.
I am definitely comfortable enough with my sexuality to not have any second thoughts about fighting for the rights of women and every other human being on the planet.
I advise other men who care about equality to not run from the label of feminist; a true feminist is also a gentleman.
Read the previous Gentleman’s Approach to Feminism column here.