Dear Feminist Men,

I write today to warn you of a trap. A trap that I have fallen into, one that I will probably fall into again, so I need to keep a watchful eye.

I call myself a feminist. I believe in ending sexism.

The primary way I have “supported” feminism in the past has been to share knowing looks with others around me who I respect, who I feel understand feminism. I have made jokes which are intended to show that I understand privilege, power, and inequality. I have shown women that I understand by conversing with them about glass floors and ceilings, pick-up artists, chivalry, and unsafety at night. 

But you know who doesn’t need to hear about feminism? Feminists.

My main motivation for discussing feminism has been to prove myself, to show that I am in the know, that I understand and support feminism.  But I haven’t been supporting feminism, because I haven’t talked to any non-feminists about it!  My jokes are disguised (not intentionally, but this is how it turns out on reflection) to reveal that I know to those who know, and be simply perplexing who don’t. I’m not being an ally, I’m being a suck-up.

The truth is, even though I still have much to learn, even though I’ve been a phony, I do know more about feminism than most men. Any man who has the guts to call himself a feminist does, even if he is a little bit of a phony.

I am taking the next step by believing in myself. I don’t need to prove to anyone else that I’m a feminist for their approval. I need to speak up to those who don’t understand. I need to explain feminism and show that I care, not that I know, to people who don’t. I need to stand up for women especially when women aren’t around. Feminism isn’t a pick-up line.

Avoid the trap! Be loud and clear with me! When we are least likely to be approved of, say I am a feminist!

One thought on “Dear Feminist Men,

  1. That is indeed, I think, the main challenge to playing any non-mainstream or controversial role: arguing for a cause with those of the opposite side and pointing out wrongs to those who do them. It’s hard to step out from behind the curtains and expose yourself if you would generally prefer not to cause trouble or offend someone. For me, there is the fear of getting hurt but, foremost, there is the fear of confrontation and hurting (potential) relationships. But I have been learning how to do that, slowly, over the years. The challenge to be active, not lazy in my responses, always remains. I just keep reminding myself that some things deserve more from me.

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