This is as much the man in me as it is the Libra and perpetual devil’s advocate. But I also find myself asking, why have we excluded men?
I’m a guy. I know guys. I spend most of my time with other guys. And most of the men I know who are my age (24) may not identify as feminists, but their core sets of values are undoubtedly reflective of many core feminist values.
Yea, okay, maybe guys do sexist stuff like talk about how many chicks they banged the other week, but in their hearts, the men I know believe that women and men are emotionally and intellectually equal. Their core feminist values are undermined by a tradition of chauvinism, but the chauvinist façade that many men adopt is simply that — a façade.
Sitting in Feminist Theory class, I can imagine most of my Midwestern guy friends sitting in class and being engaged in the conversation. I can see them agreeing and disagreeing in basically the same places I do. I can see them respectfully and passionately engaged in a meaningful discussion of women’s issues, and bringing real insight to the table.
Men would be enormously helpful as feminism progresses deeper into the 21st century, but feminist thought has consistently failed to reach out to enlightened men who would otherwise be voices for our cause. In some cases, feminist thought has intentionally excluded men.
But it’s time to wage a campaign. Feminism needs more voices! In my opinion, thousands of young men are being raised each year who could and would be voices for the feminist movement, but who never will be because nobody is asking them to overlook the negative stereotypes that have come to be associated with the f-word.
Here’s a short list of things to consider:
- Cultural change only occurs in one of two ways: through conflict or through consensus. If we had more men jumping on board with us, consensus would be a lot easier to achieve. More feminist men means more feminist voters.
- Men have easier access to wealth, power, and prestige than do women—and feminist men won’t be quite so likely to hoard it.
- Feminist men are all-around less dismissive, more respectful, much more likeable and altogether better at life than traditional men.
But men aren’t going to come to a feminist theory class because feminism has come to be conceptualized through stereotypes. As the next generation of feminists, it is our duty to reclaim feminism’s good name. We must reach out to others.
Thousands of young men and young women are waiting to call themselves feminists—they just don’t know it yet. The feminist movement has the opportunity to be so much more powerful than it is. We just need to learn to reach out.