Saturday, 15 September 2012
Dear "feminist" men:
Okay, so you love your mother/female relatives and have a boatload of respect for women, or so you say.
Don't claim to be a feminist man and then pull this bullshit:
1. Telling a woman how her oppression works.
You are a man, you do not experience institutional sexism, you can listen to us describe it but you do not suffer it on a regular basis day in and day out, thus you do not have the experience to tell any woman how her oppression does or doesn't work and it's very paternalistic and sexist to presume to do so.
2. Claiming that what you did wasn't sexist after you've just done something very very sexist.
You are a man, even if you were raised by feminists, you live in a society that is deeply steeped in misogyny and sexism. You will have absorbed that and thus will need to guard against it surfacing. If you find yourself claiming you didn't fuck up to a woman who criticised something you did? You probably did fuck up. Any men who proclaims that being a feminist makes it impossible for him to fuck up is far more likely to be a sexist ass repeatedly than one who realises that his privilege and socialisation lays traps of sexism for him to fall into and watches out for them.
3. Telling women and feminists how and when to fight sexism.
It's our oppression, we've been fighting it for a very long time, surprisingly you as a privileged person are typically not the font of knowledge on how to fight against it. I find men who argue this are typically arguing for their right to use sexist tropes and terms to "remove the power of these words", except using them doesn't remove their power, it adds to them and to societies sexist attitudes.
4. Using your self title as a basis for how you are better than any other man and you deserve extra kudos and dates for not being a sexist asshole.
Your self title of "feminist" is not a magic get women to date me card. Also you shouldn't be not being a bigot just for dates and cupcakes, you should be doing it because you don't want to be a bigot.
5. Claiming any woman who disagrees with you is "mean", "rude", "unreasonable", or being "atagonistic".
Frequently I've found men will do something horrifically sexist, deny it, and then blame us for being pissed at their sexism and their denial of it. Don't fucking do this, if a feminist or women is pissed off at you, there's probably a reason for it and to paternalistically denigrate our anger as being unreasonable or unfair is misogynistic as anything.
6. Pulling "you don't know me" and arguing that your female family members who you claim are feminists like you so therefore you're a good person.
I don't need to know you to know if you just said something dreadfully sexist and you don't need to be "bad person" to say something dreadfully sexist. If we were life long friends or relatives, it would not change the fact that you just said something dreadfully fucking sexist. also your family? Are probably way more willing to overlook your flaws and love you despite them. That doesn't make you a good person, just a person who is loved by their family.
7. Acting superior/assuming the privilege of your voice being taken as the right one because of your gender.
There's nothing more annoying that a guy basically acting like he expects me to give him his gender privilege, then getting pissy because I know and point out that rather than his gender making him have special insights on sexism it actually makes it so he has less of an insight into sexism.
8. Demanding "respect" aka privilege in our spaces.
You're a man. You are not entitled to privilege in feminist spaces, that you would expect it much less demand it is highly inappropriate.
9. Don't whine that calling you on something is sexism.
Seriously... That this even has to be said, says everything.
In short, calling yourself a male feminist is not a free pass to be a misogynistic asshole.