(Today's post is a guest post from Alexa at Culture Porn. As members of the Feminist Fashion Bloggers, Alexa and I are swapping posts today, both looking at the role of men in feminism. You can find my post on Alexa's blog.)
Hello, my name is Alexa and I write a blog called Culture Porn, which can be found here.
I think it's safe to say that there is one fundamental misconception about feminism. The irritating thing is, this misconception is embedded within the name: feminism. As if the term, and everything that goes with it, can only be applied to the female gender. Now, I am of the belief that the feminist movement will always remain a movement - a group with ideas and opinions contrary to the popular grain - without a male edge. This earth has a lot of males in it, and for people to think that feminism is an exclusively female preoccupation is hindering its ideas and indeed, support.
A lot of feminists neglect the fact that males are perfectly capable of being feminists too. After all, the idea of gender equality cannot be applied to only one gender. And indeed, of the males I asked, every single one of them shunned the idea of feminism. It was only after I rephrased the question; "do you believe in gender equality?" (as opposed to "are you a feminist?") did I get a response. The power of a name eh?
So I suppose, the issue facing feminism right now is how to remove this misconception. Is it just all about a name, or are there other factors at play as to why males tend to refute the fem in feminism? I'm sure there are some men out there who actively reject gender equality due to a number of draconian concepts; a cling to tradition, dominance, social spheres, religion, cultural expectations, taboos. But i'm equally sure that they are a minority. I keep my confidence in the modern, educated male who appreciates the immense value and humanity behind gender equality, even if the name feminism is decidedly 'girly'. Although a revamp of the English dictionary would go a way in helping this, I think trust must be placed in curiosity; that the modern, educated man I previously spoke of will do his research before casting off the title of a feminist.
On a side note, I just want to say that I do not consider women who dislike men as feminists. Equality swings both ways, after all.
(If you like this, go check out Alexa's great blog full of art, feminism and fashion. And check out the other FFB posts in today's roundup!)
In some way I think it is a need for a better PR job. I know not everyone agrees with this, but I think a rebranding rather than a renaming is in order. Having said that, I firmly believe that this next wave of feminists will go a long way to changing attitudes... Here's hopin'!
My thoughts exactly! If we use the label "feminist" we're doomed because it's a "girl" thing. If we don't we can't fully get our point across. I know a bunch of guys who believe in equality but would never label themselves "feminist" because they have this out-dated notion - stemming from some outliers of the second wave, I believe - that feminism is anti-men... Oh well, I've said this on the group forum already!
Good post. We argued this same point 30 years ago, trying to explain to men that equality is necessary for everyone and that feminism would improve their lives. Sadly, it got as little traction then as it does now. The problem, I believe, is what you note -- a misunderstanding of what we're saying. The very word "feminism" is loaded with assumed meaning.
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