“Men who want to be feminists need not be given a space in feminism. They need to take the space they have in society and make it feminist.” -Kelley Temple
For some reason, this year began with a number of my male friends accusing my articles of being ‘alienating’ and ‘scary’. I was told (by a man), that I’ve got feminism all wrong, and apparently, male bashing is my new hobby. I found myself holding back on my immediate expletive-laced response, instead convincing them that feminism is for everyone; that I don’t hate men and that of course, not all men are misogynists.
It did get me thinking though. I realized that yes, my writing is confrontational. It is angry and hostile. I also realized, that I really don’t care. And I don’t even have a reason to.
I don’t care that men feel alienated. I don’t care that they think I hate men. I don’t care that they don’t feel included. I don’t care if it was ‘just a joke‘. I don’t care that it was ‘just a compliment’. And I definitely don’t care that #NotAllMen are ‘that bad’.
I was told that I need to ‘be nicer’ so that ‘feminist’ men; men who respect women (“I would never hit a woman!”), who believe in ‘equality’, can be given a space within feminism. Obviously, my tone needs to be more amiable, so that men can be convinced that feminism isn’t just ‘reverse sexism’, and can be sure that they have ‘nothing to be scared of’ (I am seriously not making this up).
So, I just want to tell the men reading this (if any), if you find a woman’s opinion on the internet scary/ intimidating, how do you even expect us to go by ‘your’ version of what feminism is or should be. Yes, I am livid, because you and I inhabit two very different worlds; one where I am asked why I am ‘so easy’ and advised to ‘play hard to get’, while you are patted for being such a ‘stud’ , where my female friends are treated like caged birds and their male counterparts can roam around freely, anywhere anytime.
It is therefore not my job to make space for you, and it is not my job to make you feel welcome. You are not a male feminist, you are a feminist; plain and simple. It is your job to be in solidarity (and not start arguments using “not all men….”), and understand that you lead a highly privileged existence as a straight, cis gendered upper caste man and you do play a part in the systems of oppression feminism is challenging. This the least you can do for the cause.
It’s great that you are ‘not like other men’. It’s great that you respect women and believe in equality, but that shouldn’t be any favour you are doing to the society. It should be the norm, so no, you don’t get a cookie for being a human being.
Featured Image Credit: DeathandTaxes