#HeForShe: Yes, I Am A Feminist

For a while, I was really hesitant to call myself a feminist.

Not because I dismissed the idea of feminism or the cause of feminism or the history that is baked into the movement — but because I didn’t feel like it was a title that I had earned. I didn’t feel like it was my space to share. I didn’t feel like a very good feminist, really — I got things wrong then, still get them wrong now. I still possess the privilege that comes with being male and sometimes that means my privilege blinds me to behaviors or language that can be hurtful (not merely offensive, which I accept and embrace, but hurtful, which by my mileage works to diminish and damage others). And so it felt a bit fakey-fakey, like I was a heathen in a church pulpit, a meat-eater at a vegan restaurant. I thought, oh, you’ve actually struggled with the mantle of feminism. Me, it’s no struggle at all. I can waltz in, put on the hat and the nametag, give a couple of thumbs-up and boom, FEMINIST. It costs me nothing. It’s so easy. Too easy.

I was more comfortable calling myself an ally, then — as if I was a member of another nation entirely willing to support your nation’s coalition. “Yes, of course I’ll vote for that,” I say from my mountaintop lair at in the capital of Mansylvania. “Please place your feminist agenda in front of me and I will rubber-stamp it. Whatever you need, please, consider me your ally.”

But that’s horseshit, really.

Not the part where I support feminism, but the part where I consider myself separate from it.

Because of course I’m not separate from it. (And this is where I ask you to forgive those dudes who suddenly figure it out by extending their empathy to those women around them — mothers, daughters, wives. This is their first step into realizing that they’re not separate, that they’re part of it. Be gentle with them and give them time to see that it’s not just about their own family and friends but extends out to everybody, to all women. Empathy is not always immediate and far-reaching, and sometimes it starts with those closest to you.)

Emma Watson gave a resonant, heart-struck speech about feminism at the UN (the entire text of that speech can be found here), and made it very clear that gender inequality was an issue for men, too. She threaded the inequalities that affect men into the inequalities women face, and made feminism an overall human issue. Feminism through that lens isn’t just about being pro-woman, but also about correcting the overall imbalance — because though men have privilege, the wibbly-wonky gender imbalance affects men, too.

(Disproportionately, I’ll add, which is why it’s still called feminism.)

The correction of the imbalance isn’t about bringing men down, but lifting women up.

So, let’s just put this right here:

I am a feminist.

Not just an ally — though, I am that, too. But a feminist.

Not always a perfect one. Certainly not the one you asked for. But here I am.


I think it’s also worth noting that these are the things I believe about women and feminism:

I think that when Emma Watson offers what is ostensibly the most male-inclusive version of feminism we have yet seen, that she’ll still have her outfit critiqued, she’ll still have threats against her (some of which are apparently a marketing hoax made believable because of the toxic realities behind women speaking up for themselves), and there will still be a countermovement called #SheForHe (which is itself tied into the Women Against Feminism movement, which is a movement that makes me very sad in the same way disbelieving in evolution — the awesome force that got us here! — makes me sad).

I think male privilege is real. I think it’s imperfect and not absolute, but that doesn’t change its reality — male privilege is ever-present and difficult to deny.

I think that privilege is blinding.

I think there are real issues affecting men, and that doesn’t diminish the need for feminism.

I think that rape culture is real. I think that rape culture is a passive frequency — background noise — that opens the door to (and softens or eradicates the punishment against) misogyny and assault and the destruction of safety for women. I suspect that some deny the existence of rape culture because they misunderstand it as being active. As in, “If I’m not actively promoting rape, then clearly a culture of it doesn’t exist.” But they miss how so many subtle, unseen, unrealized things contribute to that culture: in our language, in our expectations, in the media we consume.

I think that #GamerGate, the celebrity nude photo hack, #NotAllMen all serve as negative resistance to real positive cultural change (the dinosaurs snarling at the meteor, the wasps stirred before winter wipes them out) but that this resistance is still dangerous and must be addressed.

I think that feminism is a many-headed, many-hearted movement. Feminists don’t all get together in a room once a year to determine the agenda for the next 365 days.

I think that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. As noted: many hearts and many minds.

I think that it’s not a man’s job to be a hero for the feminist movement but, rather, to help them be the heroes — it’s not our job to hold the sword and protect them but to put the swords in their hands. Not knights, perhaps, but squires. Or maybe knights in service to queens? (Or maybe medieval framing and phrasing is a troubled road no matter how well you walk it. All I know is that there are nasty dragons out there and I want to help you slay them.)

I think it’s more important for men to listen than it is for them to speak on the subject of feminism. (And I recognize the irony here — I’m using the blog to speak, but the blog acts as a much better mouth than it does an ear. But I promise, I am listening. This blog is a direct result of me listening — and, as Anita Sarkeesian notes, me believing your experiences are real.)

I think it’s more important for men to signal boost than it is for them to take over the signal.

(But I also think it’s vital for men to be a part of that signal, too.)

I think a lot of this begins with teaching our kids this stuff — yes, I know, blah blah blah children are our future, but seriously, this is critical if we’re to overturn a lot of the nastiness that’s been institutionalized, that’s been stamped into the mud of our history with hard boots.

But I think we must also be active in social media, in politics, with family, with friends.

I think that it’s very easy to dismiss feminism and claim egalitarianism instead, but realize that the two are not mutually exclusive — and, by denying feminism, you misunderstand that the imbalance here is particularly and troublingly one-sided.

I think that most Men’s Rights Movements talk very little about men’s rights and seem to be peculiarly focused on diminishing women, instead.

I think watching a dude mansplain feminism to a feminist woman is really uncomfortable (WELL LITTLE LADY, SOMETHING SOMETHING EQUALITY TAMPONS, ABORTION SUFFRAGE, LADY PARTS, RAPE ALLEGATIONS, BUT NO REALLY, BUT WHAT ABOUT ME AND MY NEEDS). I think watching men mansplain feminism is like watching climate deniers explain the climate to climatologists, or watching non-parents explain how to parent (or worse, how to parent an autistic child). And again I recognize the irony: this post probably reads like me mansplaining things, but I assure you that at the very least my intentions are not to explain facts about women to women but rather to give voice to some ideas and hope that other men might listen.

I think men get championed for being feminists and women get taken apart for being feminists and that’s sad, though I don’t know what I can do about it except signal boost and support and battle the fungal rot of male privilege and dudebro toxicity where it lives and breeds.

I think FUCK YEAH SOCIAL JUSTICE. Anybody who wants to poison that term — “social justice” — might as well try to poison other nice things like apples, or cake, or equal pay, or autumn. I am happy to be a social justice equal pay cake apple autumn warrior. YOU HAVE MY STEEL.

I think that pop culture is a vital arena for feminism. Because pop culture is the media we consume and we are what we eat when it comes to that cultural diet. I think if it’s in the water and the food (so to speak), it’ll grow from there. The stories we tell are the cultural seed-bed.

I think as writers and creators its therefore doubly important we think about these things.

I think male writers should think about them, talk about them, and act on them, too.

I think that means reading more diversely and writing more diversely, too. A balanced diet is good for us all. You can have a cookie, but you also have to eat some kale. (And you’ll soon discover that kale is actually pretty fucking amazing if cooked right, so shut up.)

I think that empathy and logic make a powerful one-two punch.

I think it’s getting better.

But I think we can all do better, too.

I don’t think it gets better on its own, is what I’m saying.

And so that’s why I’m here. Saying these things.

I want it to get better for women and I want to be a part of making it so.

And thus, I’m lending my voice — small as it may be, wrong as it can be — to feminism.

I am a feminist.

I am #HeForShe.

And so should you be.

178 responses to “#HeForShe: Yes, I Am A Feminist”

  1. I frequently cross paths with anti-feminists who believe they are experts on women, women’s issues, and women’s reproductive health. Their man-splaining never ceases to amaze me. As if a man can understand what women deal with. It would be like women explaining to men how their body functions and what they should do about. I am no expert on men and their bodies and it would be ridiculous for me to think I was.

    It is always refreshing when men recognize what feminism is. It’s equally refreshing when men have the courage to state they’re feminists. The basic issue is human rights. Until more people understand that, rape culture will still be seen as “boys will be boys, ” instead of what it is, a culture that says it’s OK to rape a woman and then post the event on social media as a rite of passage.

    • The fact that you use the term “mansplaining” speaks volumes about why feminists haven’t been able to make any headway on the internet. As long as you use miandrist terms like that, the majority of men will continue to turn away from feminism, even if they are your natural allies.

      • I don’t appreciate men who think they they can explain to women how women’s bodies function or how women should manage their reproductive health, unless the man happens to be their own personal physician. If you want to see my comment as misogynist, by all means, do so. The reason that men will continue to turn away from feminism is because of the attitude you so eloquently displayed. It has been my experience that men who think they have the right to speak for women believe that women should not be speaking for themselves, that women belong in one of two places, the bedroom and the kitchen. With their lips zipped.

  2. Somehow, for some inexplicable purpose, backed into the concept of Namus in my WIP. As defined the ‘sexual integrity’ of family members is an ancient, exclusively cultural concept which predates Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

    Yeah, right. FEMALE family members. 5000 women and girls dying every year because of an idea that men have the right to judge women’s “purity.” An “idea” that predates the Big Three.

    I looked hard at what my brain had spit out in a YA Fantasy. Did I or didn’t I want to go there? And decided I did.

    Chuck, your “Yes, I am a Feminist” came at the perfect time. Thank you.

  3. I used to think I “didn’t need to be” feminist, because we’d fixed all that years before I was born… right? Yeah. Turns out I was wrong about that. So I’ll have a sword, if you’re giving them out. (And then, because I’m really not all that sporty, I’ll write it into the hand of a kick-ass woman.)

  4. I don’t think it’s necessarily handing women a sword, but feeling free to pick up your own and slaying the dragons you encounter while other women and men slay the dragons they encounter. And if you happen to encounter the same dragon as others, helping them to slay it because a dragon is a big, unwieldy beast that doesn’t want to go quietly and it’ll take all the swords available to defeat it. Everyone charges in to battle the dragon(s) together, side by side, until the beast falls. And no one wears boob armor.

  5. Dear Sir – thank you. I think the inclusive message of Emma’s speech is so important – I have seen, first hand, the misery that the divisive, unequal culture inflicts on men as well as on women, and it’s so good to see men like you saying *enough*. (Also – any chance of you posting that kale recipe? I have finally managed to keep the assorted snails, caterpillars and whitefly off mine long enough to get a decent crop…)

  6. But see, a problem here is that “feminism” is not this one monolithic thing, right? It’s an umbrella term for a great many perspectives and movements. It’s also now–ugh–a brand. A product.

    So, do I agree with the fundamental tenets that gain a particular cause or ideology a place under the umbrella of “feminism”? Uh huh, pretty much. But does that make me a feminist? Well, not necessarily, no. It’s not that simple. Context — social, cultural, and political — is most definitely relevant. Prevailing views and conventional wisdom within the broader movement very much matter to me. And I think they should matter to everyone.

    ‘Cuz, frankly, I’ve seen some really nasty, hateful things come out of allegedly feminist circles. Exclusionary behaviors and bigoted viewpoints directed at WoC, at transgendered people, at men. And I’m sorry, but that’s not something to be shrugged off. That’s important.

    The thing is, people are people, and people can be ugly. Feminism, much like anything else, has gathered it’s share of ugly to it, yet its prominent voices routinely fail to acknowledge that. I think discomfort and hesitancy in aligning with those dynamics is a valid and fair reaction.

    So. I feel compelled to express the notion that adopting the label “feminist” really isn’t the no-brainer this article presents it as being. For anyone. Contemporary feminism has many faces. Some are hateful and, here’s the salient thing: the hateful ones aren’t exactly being marginalized. As long as that’s the case, I won’t be identifying as “feminist”; even if I essentially behave as one, fundamentally speaking, by being an advocate in all related issues. And no amount of shaming, no matter how well-meaning, will change that.

    • I hate animal abuse. I hate child abuse. I don’t need labels because it’s a good person who hates these things. I hate when women are forced to work for less pay than men at the same job. Who doesn’t? That’s just me having a good moral compass, right? Why do I need the label? Well because it has more meaning than just making sense. It progresses women sling shot ride into champion (and some undeserving if I might add) in some cases for no reason other than gender.

      (slides out back door to feminist party once realizing this)

      It also says a woman like me at my age, a mother, and a person who climbed the ladder career wise, doesn’t have a say if it’s not in alignment with feminist legislation. Wait, whuh? Because they supposedly speak for all women. (hand down lady in the back! GRRR!)

      Which then as a tax payer and person who’s fought through my number of years to sort of flip them off. LOL

    • The problem with the whole “I don’t want to call myself a feminist because there are some nasty feminists out there” is it inadvertently supports those who want feminism to go away. It gives the arguments against equality weight, because after all if some small-minded feminists said some horrible things than that means the movement as a whole is flawed, right?

      It’s a bit like someone saying they believe in Allah, and Mohammad, pray three times a day and observe Eid, but won’t call themselves Muslim because some Muslims in the word have done terrible things. I use Islam as an example specifically; like feminism it gets tarred by the very worst examples of it’s practise, even though it in no way reflects the majority view of the movement or faith.

      • AMJ Muir,


        “I don’t want to call myself a feminist because there are some nasty feminists out there,” isn’t even remotely an accurate representation of my position. And y’know what? I worded my criticisms very purposefully to counter such attempts to over-simplify my view, or put those kinds of words into my mouth. But you went ahead and did it anyway.

        I don’t know what you hoped to gain by doing that? Belittling or dismissing these real, valid concerns isn’t likely to win over anyone who happens to hold them… so… what’s the point?

        And, honestly, making the claim that remaining true to my own values “inadvertently supports those who want feminism to go away” is rubbish. It’s a cheap guilt-trip tactic, promotes groupism, and it’s exactly the type of shaming antics I mentioned in the above comment. When remarks like that get rolled out, that’s when I stop listening and walk away. So what did you accomplish with that?

        There is some hateful, bigoted viewpoints in THE MAINSTREAM of contemporary feminist thought. Emma Watson even touched upon it. That’s a very different picture than the one you’ve painted. This isn’t a case of fringe wackos. It’s a real problem, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. For example, there’s a reason why #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen blew up the way it did. These concerns need to be tackled. And as long as they’re getting brushed aside, I won’t be identifying with the label. Trying to guilt, shame or bully me about it isn’t going to make me fall into line. In fact, that kinda thing is just going to push me further away.

        Also, as far as I’m concerned, this is about conflicting ideas and beliefs. Making it about the people who hold them–making it “Us vs. Them”–that way lies violence and ruin. We got enough of that sorta binary nonsense already. In the end, don’t we accomplish more by supporting the heroes than by attacking the villains?

        So, why I won’t call myself feminist? Your response to me is a pretty good example of why. If you’re trying to promote greater awareness of, and support for, the broader movement, I’d suggest you think about that a bit. Maybe rethink your delivery. And I’d also advise you to dispense with the “IF YOU DON’T SUPPORT US, YOU’RE SUPPORTING THE TERRORISTS” brand of sophistry. It’s just yucky.

        • Then you worded it badly, because I got the exact same thing out of it AMJ Muir did. Honestly there is not a lot else to get out of what you said.

          For one thing, the logic does not hold. You know the biggest people discussing issues in feminism right now? FEMINISTS. It’s talked about all the time. It is quite possible to back a cause, acknowledge the cause has some awful people in it, and soldier on anyway.

          I find it interesting how the label “Christian” is still embraced by millions despite the very loud (and not very good at following their own faith) minority who are trashing the religion. I find it revealing how many people embrace and support pro-capitalism in spite of all it’s known issues. People happily identify as Democrat or Republican or Libertarian, despite the awfulness that goes on in each of those political parties. People will identify as geeks or gamers or comic book nerds even though a loud and virulent minority have brought bigotry and hatred to new levels.

          But feminism? Oooooh, there’s a (yes, occasionally loud) minority who completely miss the point of the movement, acts like assholes, and say terrible things, so let’s all distance ourselves from it. Because it’s okay for that awful minority to exist in religion, or culture, or politics, or even in our hobbies, but women should NEVER do it! And if they do, they should lose supporters, be slandered, and ultimately silenced until they get their shit together. But hey, you politicians and CEOs and gamers and such, carry on. You’re okay.

          Yeah, no double standards there, not at all. And not a bit of sophistry.

          You want to fix feminism? JUMP IN. Up to your neck, above your ears, or even just to your ankles, just get in the damned pool. Join us here in the water. Make waves. Get yourself heard. TALK TO US. And, to put the emphasis where it need to be, talk TO us. And LISTEN. And help us work it all out. Be proactive. Be a voice, a mind, a heart. Screw your damned courage to the sticking place and carry the label, flaws and all, as you do so many others.

          And if you’re not willing to, then when you whine that the game isn’t playing out the way you want it to so you’re going to take your ball and go home, don’t be surprised if no one cares if you leave, or takes anything you say seriously.

          And before you fly all over me for a “terrorist mindset,” please tell me ONE SINGLE PLACE IN THE WORLD that attitude works. The military? You think a commanding officer wants to hear you’re leaving the platoon and don’t like the label “soldier” because Joe over there mouths off about black men? How about explaining to your boss that project didn’t get done because one of the members involved couldn’t shut up about her cats and dammit, you’re a dog lover! And can you just imagine telling your parent that they’re ALMOST great, and all their friends are great, but the neighbor their obliged to hang out with sometimes is awful and so you aren’t going to talk to them anymore?

          Seriously, NOWHERE IN LIFE is this standard held or accepted.

          Except when bashing feminism.

          Let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we?

          • I don’t think it’s that simple. First of all, let me say that I don’t hold the double standards you’re accusing DJE here of. I’m an atheist, and strongly dislike extremist religious groups. I don’t even vote because I dislike all the political parties. I’m not pro-capitalism. And while I hate the rampant sexism and homophobia of the vocal minorities in geek fandoms, I don’t think it’s all that relevant because they’re just hobbies, and aren’t actively trying to change the world.

            That’s the issue with feminism: you’re trying to change the world, but can’t agree on how. You can say that feminism is about true equality, and I believe you. I believe that for you, and countless others, feminism will not stop until women have all the privileges that men enjoy, and will not campaign to give women privileges men don’t have. The problem is that there are countless others who believe that feminism is only about getting certain rights (as opposed to all of them), or that feminism should give women advantages over men. What are the proportions? Does anyone even know? I don’t believe the extremists are a majority, but I also don’t believe they’re a small enough minority that they can safely be ignored.

            Associating with feminism means associating with the feminists I agree with, but also associating with the ones I don’t agree with, and that’s where I think the movement falters. Look at, say, anti-racism movements. What do you even call an anti-racist? An anti-racist, because there’s no other name for it. Their “recruiting” process boils down to:
            “Hey, do you think racism sucks?”
            “Why yes, I do think racism sucks!”
            “Let’s fight racism together, then.”

            For feminism, it’s a bit more complicated:
            “Hey, do you think we should have gender equality?”
            “Yes, that sounds like a good thing.”
            “So, do you want to be a feminist?”
            “Before I say yes, what exactly is a feminist?”
            And then thousands of voices drown each other out with their varying opinions on the subject.

            The only difference between the two? The label. Feminism is a label that can be misused and corrupted, and it has been. Anti-racism doesn’t have a label. It doesn’t ask people to sign up for anything, just to voice their opinion. When I tell a feminist that I don’t want the label, that I just want to directly say that I’m in favor of gender equality, I’m told that’s the lazy alternative and that I’m part of the problem. And then, when I try to explain myself, I’m accused of “mansplaining” what feminism is about (despite the fact that my issue with feminism is specifically that I can’t pinpoint what it’s about) and that’s usually where I walk away.

  7. Thank you. It’s time that the word “feminist” is not considered a synonym for “bitch.” We are all humanists, but women will change the world if we are given half a chance.

  8. I was at a panel on sexism in media at C2E2, and someone asked what we men can do to show solidarity and be good allies.

    The consensus was that – sadly – the male voice carries further, because those who most need to hear the message tend to weigh male opinions heavier than female.

    So one of the best things men can do is signal boost. Point out the arguments that women make that might otherwise go overlooked. Speak in support of their arguments. We have the privilege of a clear voice, and we can put that to use.

    • The fact that this term ‘ally’ is condescending, mildly dismissive, and pointlessly divisive doesn’t bother me much when I’m labeled one — because I’m male and privileged. ;-> But it’s still a disreputable concept, and (more important), just plain inaccurate: My NOW card since 1976, and volunteering for escort duty outside family-planning clinics, if nothing else, proclaims me a feminist – someone who believes in, supports, looks fondly on, hopes for, and/or works towards equality of the sexes.

      To my gay friends, of course I can be at most an ally (as I am not gay). But to feminists, I’m properly classed as one of them – so please don’t call us male feminists just ‘allies’. Grazie.

      (FWIW, Sarah Bunting said it better: http://tomatonation.com/culture-and-criticism/yes-you-are/)

      Rick Moen

  9. I think the quickest way for a thinking man to become a feminist is for him to have a daughter — a smart, motivated daughter who wants to move mountains — and is quite capable of it. A daughter like mine. And while I am very proud of having raised such a wonderful person, I have to credit her dad, too, who always told her she could do anything she wanted to.

  10. Bravo, Chuck! Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for boosting the signal, because the message needs to go out there. Don’t apologize for using your blog as a forum, because the best part of it is it isn’t only women who read it. Better still, the people reading it are writers, and what you and I and all those others write will shape the minds of our readers. (Insidious, no?) Theresa Gray said, “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Thank you, Chuck, for helping to change the world. Honored to have you as a brother in arms.

  11. When I first came across feminism in the 80’s, it was a broad banner for (in my eyes) little more than a stick to bash men with. I am now older and wiser.
    This issue of equality is valid. EVERYONE regardless of sex, race, colour, creed etc is equal. HOWEVER there are valid differences between some sections. Men are typically physically stronger than women. Women are typically have more empathy than men .
    An equal status is one thing, but you cannot equalize the valid differences that exist. Society and culture has a large part to play into how our minds are attuned to the sexes, psychology shows us how this is achieved. Early in life we are given our gender barriers (these are stereotypical, but they stick with us) girls play with dolls, boys play with building toys for example. All children if treated the same theoretically should grow up the same PROVIDED that the culture they are growing up in is the same as the one that they are taught about. You cannot tell little girls that they can beat boys up if they are mean to them, only to discover that when they are 18 that they need martial arts training to kick the ass of a 6ft bloke built like a brick shit house.
    Society does a wonderful job of showing us that things are unequal……men watching female strippers is disgusting ……..but why is it that culture accepts that women can watch male strippers and its harmless fun?
    It’s down to the society that we live in that provides the context for how we see the world. Change society change the world…….but remember Rome was not built in a day. The culture we see today is an evolved beast from the society 2000 years ago, change will happen but it’s not quick, easy or requiring special labels to be applied to them to make them visable.

    • I know what you’re saying, but regarding your example of female strippers vs. male strippers, feminism is one of the areas that could HELP sort that out – and a lot of related issues that affect men too.

      The idea that men watching female strippers is ‘disgusting’ comes from the idea that a man has more power in that situation than the woman doing the stripping, so potentially he could use that against her. Whereas women watching male strippers is ‘harmless fun’ because the man is STILL physically stronger AND has his hormone-enslaved female audience in HIS power – ‘cos when a woman’s looking at a ripped male bod she’s incapable of intelligent speech, never mind anything else, right..?

      Which is, of course, TOTAL COBBLERS. Male strippers can be and have been molested and treated like objects by women ‘customers’ just as much as the other way round. Men also can be and have been raped and sexually assaulted by women. It’s just not talked about or taken seriously because ‘that’s not the way it works.’ Men are the dominant gender, women are the weaker sex, so any man who ‘lets’ a woman do stuff to him against his will is a squealing great wuss, isn’t he? Hell, a ‘real man’ wouldn’t complain about it anyway – ‘cos after all, he can do his rumpy-rumba anytime, place, anywhere like a proper stud!

      But that’s not a FEMINIST viewpoint. That’s the viewpoint of the same people who try to squash feminism – your MRA guys, your #NotAllMen guys, your #GamerGate guys… the ones who claim to be ‘standing up for men.’ Oh sure, they’ll ‘stand up for men’ – as long as those men are still fitting neatly into their carefully chiselled-in-Neolithic-stone Alpha Male Blueprint. Fall outside of THAT, and you’re fed to the wolves along with all those pesky, whinging women, sunshine…

      I admire what Emma Watson’s trying to do, which is to update the image of feminism. God knows it needs it. Feminism is about stopping injustice and bringing equality for EVERYONE, not just women. It’s just that the women (and men) working for that cause need to have enough support to reach a lot of their own equality goals before they’re a formidable enough force to fight on behalf of the other oppressed groups as well.

  12. Thank you, Chuck, I have never before read such a GREAT, hearty, warm, forceful, delicate, introvert and outspoken message about these issues. I was nodding all the way, and in the end, had to blink away a tear, and I cannot agree more or thank you more, and hope that not only MEN but ALL HUMANS will agree one day and make this happen. Thanks a million.

  13. Chuck, we will always appreciate a signal boost from you. And don’t ever feel guilty or whatever about calling yourself a feminist; you’ve earned the right to do that. You have a solid track record of bringing good stuff to the equality party – you’ve never been the one who only showed up to eat all the snacks and drink all the booze.

    I was baffled by the backlash Emma Watson received for her speech from ‘certain sections of society.’ Not baffled as in surprised (I’ve read enough troll comments on sites like Jezebel to not be surprised by that kind of stuff anymore) but baffled as in ‘what do we do about the people like that?’ I mean, if they can even take a speech like THAT as an attack on their Freedom To Be Douchebags, then they’re unconvertable no matter what, surely? How do we handle them – do we turn our eyes away and act as if they don’t exist, hoping that, someday, somehow, they’ll just get bored and go away? Or do we continue to butt heads with them until our bleeding skulls can take no more of the rock-hard, immovable pounding?

    And now I’m asking questions that probably can’t be answered. Enough with that, it’s a recipe for a headache. Anyway, thanks for standing with us, Chuck. Signal boost away!

    • You should focus on attacking the sexist system at play, rather than the trolls. I mean, 4-chan doesn’t rules the world, these are impotent guys taking out their frustrations on a convenient target.

      • Yes they are… but what are they doing for all those hours when they’re NOT sitting in front of their interwebs typing bollocks?

        Do they have day jobs as lawyers, doctors, CEOs of companies? Are they in the armed forces, or in colleges and universities, studying for qualifications that will enable them to get these careers? It might be very comforting to believe their influence can’t extend beyond their computer because they’re all just unemployed and sitting at home in mom’s basement with a jumbo-sized bag of Cheetos… but there’s no real way of knowing that for sure. The fact is, they’re out there and they probably all have friends and family too, who must at the very least tolerate their views if not actually agreeing with them.

        And on a related note, these guys tend to pop up every time anyone DOES attack the sexist system at play. THEY’RE the ones doing the ‘focusing,’ not me. Is it me personally that should focus on attacking the system at play then, or can anyone join in with that? I’ve never had a bespoke assignment like that before. 😉

  14. I am with you on all of this but the Kale.

    I have actually publically proclaimed my feminism as well, and expected to be looked at funny by some of my female friends, who are staunch feminists, but they accepted my claim.

    I think it’s about partnership with women, platonically . . . fraternally even, if that makes sense. I have two daughters and two sons, and my wife and I talk about these issues with them. I worry, but I’m proud to see my daughters doing wonderful things and having inner strength and conviction about their own empowerment. We, as men, can quietly applaud them, and stand up for equal rights and equal pay, among a plethora of other things. I have a lot to say about this subject, perhaps I’ll go write about it on my own blog.

    Well done, sir!

  15. I found this another great posting on a difficult subject. I think male voices supporting feminism are not only valid, but crucial. Men need to listen to women to understand women’s experience, just as it is men who need to articulate to women, and to themselves, how deeply imbedded ideas about gender impact them as well.

    As to all the comments about believing in equality. Hmmm. Well, that’s a good thing. But, for me, what feminism does is recognize the specific barriers creating existing inequality. It is intellectual in its drive to understand root causes. It is active in using that understanding to fight inequality. It recognizes specific problems that have specific causes.

    Here’s the analogy I’ve been pondering: imagine a man with a broken leg. This man goes to get help — because, you know, pain, inability to move, etc. Seeking help for the broken leg, he is told, “Oh, I believe in full body health. You should eat balanced meals.” And the man says, “I’m in pain here.” And is told: “I don’t think it makes sense to look at just one part of the body. Really, it is whole body health that matters. You should exercise more.” And the man is now shouting, “But my leg is broken!!” And is told, “Looking at just one part of the body is really not the solution. Whole health, my man. Whole health. Have you been taking your vitamins?”

    So, yeah, equality is a really good goal. It’s a moral vision. But one way to reach that goal is to see what’s wrong and to do something about what needs to be fixed.

    • I think your analogy is flawed, as it implies that sexism is somehow a more pressing issue than any other kind of discrimination. A more accurate analogy would be that the managed, in some sort of freak accident possibly caused by a bear attack, to break all four of his limbs.

      The guy goes to the hospital to get help, but what femists do is say “Okay, let’s heal that broken leg”, and then the guy replies “But what about my other three limbs?” and the feminists don’t care about that, because that’s the job of the anti-racism and anti-homophobia activists, and they’re busy, so the guy won’t have all his limbs fixed until a few weeks later. I think it would be far more efficient to simply merge all equality activists under a single banner and let them fix all the problems together, simultaneously.

      • That’s an incredibly dismissive, reductionist, and incorrect statement on what feminism is actually about, filtered through an extremely warped lens.

        TL;DR version – you’re coming across as yelling ‘WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?!’

        • Okay, now that’s a strawman fallacy. You’ll notice that I never actually said anything about men. I said things about activists against racism and homophobia, which are other pressing problems that affect many women as well as men and that need fixing just as much as sexism does.

          • Context matters.

            You’re sitting there mansplaining to everyone how exclusionist feminism is, creating your own strawman about how the feminists in your head don’t do what you think they should. So yeah, it’s dismissive, reductionist, and incorrect. Not to mention that Chuck and others have already addressed the points you seem to be blithely ignoring.

            Yes, words have power. In this case, words can also change meaning – namely the definition of ‘feminism’. You’re arguing against a definition that hasn’t been relevant since the 1960s-70s. Trying to muddle what it is now by coining an irrelevant term (‘equalism’? Equal to what?) isn’t helping anyone, and there’s been good arguments made that it’s actively harmful to the aims of feminism.

          • You’re part of the problem, and you don’t even realize it. You use terms like “mansplaining” and don’t realize why more men don’t want to be feminists. Your only counter-argument is that I’m a man. Seriously, if I was a woman saying the exact same thing I just said, you would have no argument, because you couldn’t dismiss me based on my gender. This whole “check your privilege” mentality needs to stop.

            I’m pointing out facts. Feminism, by its very definition, is about women’s rights. Feminism is not about racism or homophobia or any other kind of discrimination, it is specifically about women. If you want to claim that’s not the case, then that means the label “feminism” is no longer accurate, as its etymology specifically implies that it’s all about women.

            If you want to fight for everyone’s equality, go with a label that represents everyone. That’s just common sense. You say “equal to what?” and I say “my point exactly”. It’s equal, period. I won’t say black men should be equal to white men, or women should be equal to men, because that’s not the goal. The goal is to get to a point where there is no difference, where society just treats everyone the same way.

          • No, my counter-argument is that you’re being condescending, willfully obtuse, and viewing things through a context that exists only in your own head. Because you know what? You *are* privileged, and you *are* using that privilege to ‘explain’ to everyone what they’re doing ‘wrong.’ Then again, in your world, only proxies, and not the people actually affected, have the right to speak up…and that alone is wrong on so many levels as to beggar the imagination.

            You’re not using ‘facts’. You’re not ‘telling it like it is.’ You don’t get to define what feminism means, chumley. But have fun with your ill-informed, dismissive, warped opinion. I’m done with you.

          • Well, keep living in your fantasy world then, where you can dismiss someone’s opinion based entirely on who they are, regardless of the validity of what they’re saying. When did I use my privilege to explain anything? Sure, my gender is implied by my username, but that’s not intended, and it didn’t come up in the conversation until you brought it up. You’re doing the exact thing you’re complaining against.

            You are also apparently incapable of understanding the difference between facts and opinions. If women try to talk to sexist men, they won’t be listened to. That’s a fact. It’s not something I’m in favor of, but it’s something that exists. They have a right to speak up, but that doesn’t mean their intended audience will listen. Isn’t that the whole problem? If everyone just listened to everything women have to say, we wouldn’t need feminists in the first place. We have feminists because people won’t listen. That’s an undeniable fact.

      • Not all these problems are created equal. They all manifest in different ways and have different effects on different people. Society is complex and messy and that produces complex, messy problems that require thoughtful and specific actions.

        You’re not going to fix a broken limb with a band aid or a CAT scan. Different injuries require different treatment, and some take more treatment and longer to heal than others.

        • All of these problems have the same underlying cause: morons who see a difference where there is none. Fun fact: every cause is mostly defended by people who are affected by it. Most feminists are women. Most anti-racism activists are part of ethnic minorities. Most LGBT activists are LGBT themselves. This simple fact creates the illusion that these labels are exclusionary, and that’s enough to discourage a lot of people from joining those movements.

          Another fun fact: you’re not going to fix sexism by throwin angry women at it. Feminists, by their very nature, are at a disadvantage. They are women going up against men who don’t listen to women. They’re doomed to fail for the same reason they exist in the first place. Same goes for all other equality movements.

          My solution: merge them all together. Create a movement that includes everyone. That way, you have men arguing on behalf of women, white people arguing on behalf of minorities and straight people arguing on behalf of the LGBT community. When you want to convince someone of something, send someone they’ll listen to.

          • So women don’t have any right to be angry about sexism, got it. Women who speak up aren’t going to be listened to, got it. Same for anyone else experiencing bigotry and prejudice, because, by your reasoning, only those with power are going to be listened to and anyone else is ignored.

            Yeah, I’m going to say…no. But thanks for playing.

          • Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying. I’m not saying I agree with it, but I am saying it’s true.

            Have you ever played Pokemon? You know what happens when you capture a Fire-type Pokemon and go up against a Water-type? It’s not very effective. It doesn’t matter how badass your Fire-type is, he’s at a disadvantage.

            That women who speak up aren’t going to be listen to is obvious, because that’s the whole point of feminism. They’re fighting specifically because they’re not listened to. What I’m saying is that feminism exists for the same reason it can’t succeed.

            It would be great if we could change the world with good intentions, but it doesn’t work like that. Use basic logic for a second: if sexists aren’t listening to women, send men. Sure, it’ll hurt some egos, but the end justifies the means.

          • Of course there are differences. You don’t give birth or breastfeed. That right there produces a whole bunch of challenges you’re never going to have to deal with. More specifically, there are differences that exist now that must be dealt with now before we can even begin to talk about equality between the sexes. Lets shift over to the LGBT movement – do heterosexual couples have to fight to have their marriages legally recognized? No. Therefore, equality does not exist, and that must be addressed before you can begin to talk about ‘merging all the causes together’. What about racial profiling? Is that an issue for you? Wouldn’t be for me in this country. That’s a problem facing particular groups of people. You have to recognize that there are problems that particular groups of people face in order to address those particular problems.

            And what we’re doing here is encouraging male voices to start taking up the cause of feminism. They’re doing it too. That’s what Chuck is saying. A lot of those fighting for LGBT rights are not LGBT themselves because those who are have friends and family who are straight and who are committed to their cause. You don’t have to lump them all together to create a more powerful voice. The voice is becoming more powerful by inviting people who do not directly experience discrimination themselves to stand up for those who are. We’re asking people to stand up against bullying, and they are. They should. They don’t have to be a victim of it themselves to recognize it’s wrong or to feel empathy or to take the risk of siding with those who are being hurt. We don’t have to change the labels to do that either. The labels make it clear that there is a specific problem here, and I am going to help fix it.

          • Thank you for being more reasonable and sensible than Jim Hague who I’ve been arguing with for a while. You’ve actually made some valid points there.

            However, I still stand by what I said. Let’s merge all the movements together, and it will make for a more powerful voice. That voice can then tackle the specific issues faced by each individual group, only with a lot more people taking part in it. All of those activist groups just want the same thing: equality. It’s the one thing everyone can agree on. Why not use that as a rallying cry to get everyone together? Why can’t feminists take part in the LGBT community’s conflicts, and vice versa?

          • ‘More reasonable’ – be proud, you’ve gotten approval from someone that doesn’t think your voice matters! /sarcasm

            Here’s a hint, Chris – stop trying to relabel people according to the framework in your head and respect what they call themselves. By the way? Feminists do actually participate in activism on the fronts you claim they don’t. It’s that whole inclusiveness thing you seem to be utterly unaware of.

            I’m a terrible person, natch, because I said I was done with you. I just hate giving someone so blithely clueless the last word, especially when they invoke my name.

          • You’re contradicting yourself, here. Feminism, by the definition of the word, is about women’s rights. If feminists take part in activism on other fronts, that means the label “feminist” is no longer accurate. All I’m suggesting is that if feminists are to be inclusive of other causes, then a more inclusive label is in order. I’m not saying feminists are evil or anything like that. All I’m asking is for the labels to say the things they mean, in order to avoid giving people the wrong impression. If feminists fight for causes other than women’s rights, choose a label that properly represents that.

          • I believe I answered your last question on my other comment, but I’ll add a little something here. There is no reason why people cannot support each others causes without also recognizing their differences and that they have issues that others may not face. The problem with equalism is that it refuses to recognize differences. The same issue lies at the heart of this that lay at the heart of the decision to overthrow ‘separate but equal’ legislation – refusing to recognize differences has the result (not the intention, necessarily) of refusing to recognize particular challenges. It perpetuates inequality by refusing to recognize inequality exists. That is why we need to highlight the particular challenges faced by particular groups. That is why we still need the labels and the separate battles. And that is also why we need the support of the majority who do not face the same challenges, because they are the ones in the position of power and authority to help those not in positions of power to make changes.

          • Finally someone else who brings up the point that those not in positions of power need the ones who are to help them. I tried to argue that earlier and that other guy flipped out on me. Anyway, I think you’re absolutely right here. However, I also think that exclusionist labels aren’t helping. Feminism is just a name, but it’s a name that implies it’s only for women. I’m not saying that’s true, but that’s what the etymology implies. If you want gender equality, the first step is to recognize that it’s not all about women. The inequality between the two genders is caused by a mix of male and female behaviors that accentuate the differences between the two, and so I believe the first step is to admit that it’s as much about the men as it is about the women.
            Even if they hold the lion’s share of the power, men are still at a disadvantage in some areas. Women aren’t only vicitimized by men, they’re also victimizing themselves. We can’t just say men discriminate against women and leave it at that, because it’s a lot more complicated. We need to take a long hard look at both genders, and get rid of the stereotypes that cause the inequality. That’s my I’m suggesting that the fight for gender equality needs a label that includes both men and women.

      • But the label ‘feminism’ DOES include both men and women. It also recognizes that women are the ones who are being disadvantaged. What you’re feeling is the pushback associated with identifying with the label, the assumption that now you’ve ‘picked sides’ and ‘betrayed your gender’ by choosing to label yourself feminist.

        This isn’t about making men feel comfortable and safe supporting women by giving the equality a nice, gender free name because lets face it this fight is not gender free. It’s not the women who’re going to give you hell if you side with women. This is about men choosing to openly support women and allying themselves with those who are discriminated against, which, yes, can and does potentially leave them open to discrimination themselves. Welcome to the club! Take a risk – label yourself as one of Us and join our fight to broaden what that means.

        • Believe me, I’m not at all worried about betraying my gender. I may be physically male, but I’ve never really felt like I belonged to either side. It may be weird to say, but men are as alien to me as women. I don’t really understand either, but in a way, this also gives me a broader perspective on the problem. The problem is much more complex than “women are being discriminated against by men”.

          My problem with the “feminism” label is that it fails to acknowledge that there are problems with both genders. Men and women are discriminating against not just each other, but themselves. “Male culture” forces men to repress their emotions and sensitivity, and pushes them to assert their superiority over others. That’s a huge part of the problem. That’s what pushes men to treat women as inferior, and to be insensitive to their issues.

          Meanwhile, “female culture” pushes women to care too much about their apparence, and teaches them that they need a man. Women convince themselves that they’re supposed to be delicate and weak. They also often desire a “strong man” who will “protect them”. They are directly contributing to the macho mentality that causes sexism in the first place.

          I don’t want a label that presents the fight for gender equality as “women vs men”. I want a label that acknowledges that there’s a lot of work to do on both sides, and that it’s not just about women.

          • So you would equate the problems of men to the problems women face in the struggle for gender equality?

            Fair warning: [Inserts Admiral Akbar quote here]

            And I’m not headed into MRA territory tyvm. You’re on your own.

          • I never said I equate them. Women have it far worse than men, that’s an undeniable fact. What is also an undeniable fact is that you can’t fix one without the other, because they’re directly related. Men’s problems are causing women’s problems, and vice versa. It’s a vicious cycle of sexist behavior on both sides. If you want to improve the situation of women, you need to break that cycle, and doing that will fix the problems of both genders. Two birds, one stone.

  16. Wonderful speech, beautiful post, but fuck labels of all stripes and flavors. Just sayin’. All the hyper-focus on who is what and who isn’t what will only backfire eventually, creating more divisions than it heals. I’m a person who wants to see other people thrive, succeed, be happy and society has, through absurd labeling practices, made it harder for many people to do that. I’m happy to knock those barriers down without accepting some sort of mantle on myself. Others want to use terms like feminism? More power to them, I have nothing against it and it probably does bring focus to the issue. But there will come a day when I am in the minority and I don’t want others to have to found the NAAWP or start a “Masculism” movement because we haven’t moved beyond these ridiculous labels.

  17. I keep seeing this – get rid of the label, just call us all ‘equalists’, I’m into equalism, I think everybody should be equal.

    Yeah, great sentiment guys (and it’s almost entirely guys doing this) – it’s not reality though, is it? It’s not the way the world is NOW, and the way the world is now is what we’re dealing with and trying to change. People are not treated equally, they’re not created equally, and they’re sure as hell not experiencing life the same way no matter how much we wish it was so. Equality does not exist, therefore an ‘equalism’ movement cannot exist because it demands that we’re all starting from the same point. We’re not. We still have to get there, and you cannot identify the problems of individuals or specific groups within society if you refuse to acknowledge that they have a specific, group-related problem.

    In addition, people get to give themselves the labels they want to give themselves – yes, yes they do. Try talking to anyone who’s had to tick those damned census boxes demanding that you label yourself a particular ethnicity. Labels matter. They matter politically, socially, culturally, and personally. How people choose to identify themselves, what groups they belong to, what they believe in, matters. By refusing to acknowledge it, and by demanding that they not use the labels they chose, you’re refusing to acknowledge them and their issues. You don’t get to label them! That’s not your right or your role here.

    • You’re kind of missing the point. Equalism can’t exist because people aren’t equal? That makes no sense. Equalism should exist because people aren’t equal. An equalist movement wouldn’t even be needed in a world where everyone is equal. Feminism is basically just one branch of equalism, an umbrella term that also covers activism against racism, homophobia and all other forms of discrimination. What those who say we should just be called “equalists” mean is that, by going with a mre inclusive label, we could combine all those groups into one much bigger group.

      • The claim of equalists is that we should fight for the rights of all. Which presumes we’re all already enjoying the same rights. We’re not. That ‘big group’ is not experiencing the world the same way, not even within itself.

        Specific groups of people are being targeted for treatment not meted out to others. To address that issue, you must acknowledge that those specific groups – with their associated labels – exist, and have a particular problem (say the right to get legally married). Equalism fails to do this because it fails to recognize the different challenges faced by different people. Even if you attempted such a movement, you’re going to end up fighting a dozen different battles, each one of which will be specific to a particular group of people – the labels won’t go away. People will still fight for the cause that affects them the most. Each of these causes may require a specific action, and some may require a lot more work than others. If you attempt to treat all battles as equal, you will inevitably disadvantage someone.

        Equalism doesn’t exist, and any attempt at it is doomed to fail without everyone already being on a par with each other. Which they’re not.

        • I recognize that there are multiple battles to be fought. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sending small groups of people to fight these battles all at the same time, we should have one much larger group fighting these battles one at a time. Sure, we couldn’t fix all the problems at once, but at least we’d actually get something done thanks to sheer numbers.

          • There’s a problem with this too. It presumes that all those not in a position of power or able to change the status quo will be able to do so if they just grouped together. That is not necessarily true or the most effective course of action. The most effective course of action is to woo the powerful majority to your side. You might say that’s what happened to Chuck. He, white male and cisgendered, got wooed. There’s also an ongoing debate about the nature of feminism on this thread. People want to keep the label (because it speaks to a particular set of issues) but want to move on from the confrontational associations that it may have had. We can do that, I think. Discussions like this help.

            This is working when it comes to the LGBT’s movement towards marriage equality, for example. It’s gradually changed the minds of the majority to the point where enough people who are not LGBT support it for it to become a reality. Votes and polls show the support among the general population. That’s not the LGBT community’s only fight, and it’s certainly not over yet, but the progress shows that this approach does work.

          • I still think we should ditch the label, though. Notice how those who fight against racism or homophobia don’t have a specific label? What do you call them? The LGBT community successfully wooed a lot of people to their side because being on their side doesn’t require you to associate to a set of ideas you don’t necessarily agree with. You can just say “I’m in favor of gay marriage” and leave it at that.

            I’m not a feminist. Feminist is a very vague term. It means “in favor of women’s rights”, but doesn’t specify where those rights should start or end. Because of this, the feminist movement is often at odds with itself, and the vocal extremists are able to regularly hijack it. That’s what’s driving the men away.

            I’m against sexism. I’m against discrimination for or in favor of both men and women. I think sexism can be blamed on both genders: society pushes women to care about superficial things, and men to repress their emotions. I’m against all of this, and wish for a world where people of both genders have the same rights and can be whoever they want to be. This line of thought is not accurately represented by the “feminism” label. It is, however, accurately represented by this one sentence: I’m against sexism. There are no unfortunate negative implications that come with this sentence. It cannot be misused or appropriated by extremist groups. It conveys a clear message that everyone can get behind.

            Ditch the label, and you’ll find it much easier to gain the support of those in power. Stop fighting for feminism, and start fighting against sexism.

  18. Thanks, Chuck, for another post which has kickstarted yet another necessary discussion.

    Just for an example, let’s look at this: “What those who say we should just be called ‘equalists’ mean is that, by going with a more inclusive label, we could combine all those groups into one much bigger group.”

    To me, this comes across as a silencing tactic. Yeah, join US and compete with all the other rights activists so you’ll drown each other out. Forget about what affects you personally and subsume yourself into this nice cushy pillow movement.

    Activism of any sort has NEVER been about making everyone feel better. Speaking up and speaking out will always be about making those who are comfy as uncomfortable as possible, because being comfortable translates to “Nothing to see here, move along.”

    Change is hard. The status quo is, at its core, for lazy, scared people who like feeling comfortable because it means they don’t have to think about what they say or do or believe. Humans are, and have been, capable of more than just feeling comfortable.

    “That’s just the way it is
    Some things’ll never change
    That’s just the way it is
    Ah but don’t you believe them…”
    –Bruce Hornsby & the Range, “The Way It Is” (1986)

    • Since you quoted me, I believe I have to respond. I never intended what I said as a silencing tactic. In fact, I mean the exact opposite: more people working together will have a louder voice, and will be more able to enact change. The idea of equalism is that, instead of having a bunch of separate movements doing their own separate things, we should get all of these activists to work together. If they could agree to tackle one cause at a time, they might be numerous enough to drown out the naysayers and change things at a much faster rate.

      Let’s also not forget one important detail: you’re never going to win if you only fight for the causes that affect you personally. If only women are feminists, they’re doomed to fail for one simple reason: they’re fighting against men who don’t listen to women. It doesn’t matter how many women you send at the problem, it will have no effect. My solution: send men to fight the sexists. Send white people to fight the racists. Send heterosexuals to fight the homophibic. It’s sad that this is what we need to do, but it’s unavoidable. If you want to convince someone, send someone they’ll listen to.

      That’s the whole point of uniting the various activist movements. That way, you create a much more diverse group, thus increasing the chances that the group contains people who will be listened to. It sends a message: it’s not just women fighting for women’s rights, it’s everyone. It’s not just ethnic minorities fighting against racism, it’s everyone. If you want to enact change, you can’t stick to your private club, you need to include everyone.

    • Don’t bother. I tried pointing out that feminism is inherently not inclusive enough, and that such activism would be much more effective if we tried to take care of all issues of equality together rather than doing our own thing separately. The result? Apparently, I’m a misogynist who’s trying to silence women by drowing them out into a faceless mass of people.

      • Actually, I don’t support what you’ve been proposing, and I don’t think the woman who wrote that post would either. I’d say you’re presenting a false dichotomy. Activist groups can be allied without having to devalue the specific concerns and interests of any single group. Yah, I do believe (strongly believe) greater cross-pollination is needed, but I think advocating to homogenize multiple movements, each with their own unique set of problems and dynamics, is being dismissive of all of them.

        I’d also suggest that you might wanna examine feminism a little more closely. It’s about more than activism, and it’s not just about sexism. You can’t just roll it into a broader “equalist movement”. That wouldn’t work. It’s kinda like saying, “there shouldn’t be astrophysics, there should just be physics!”

        • Regardless of whether or not you agree with what I’m suggesting, I don’t think it warrants being accused “trying to drown out the feminists”, which is clearly not what I was trying to do. The one thing I’ve noticed in this comments section so far is that instea of pointing out any flaws in my proposal, most of the so-called feminists here simply call me anti-feminist and make me into a straw man they can easily dismiss. I’ve also been accused of “mansplaining” things, even though I hadn’t even mentioned my gender and it wasn’t relevant at all to what I was saying. That’s what some of these feminists do: they say men should join them, but only if they agree to shut up and let the women handle everything.

  19. You said exactly the right things, and your sincerity glowed. You can’t help being a man, just like I can’t help being a woman. I would like to think that make no difference in wanting equal rights for everyone, though I know it does to some people. You and I are doing our best. That is all we can do.

  20. It is not often that I read such thoughtful work about feminism from men. As a woman, if often feels as if points made by other woman about why any inequality between men and women is absurd goes unheard or is undervalued. Your thoughtful comments have made me realize that equality is not always disregarded by men, that there is not only hope but also progress being made toward equality.

    • Congratulations, you linked to a hit piece comprised of lies, dissumulations, and rhetorical misrepresentations by a noted liar, shill for the American Enterpise Institute, and conservative mouthpiece! What’s next, Ann Coulter?

      • At least she provided a source, and her source has sources of its own. All of its information can be traced back to somewhere. What’s your source? Am I supposed to believe that the author of that article is a liar because you say it? As a person who has little to no knowledge on these issues and is trying to educate myself, I’d be tempted to go with the person who actually provides information.

  21. I enjoyed reading this and I am a feminist.
    But I sometimes wonder how much we can be careful with our language. For example saying ‘I want to help you’ could be construed as anti-equality narrative because it implies help is needed for those a little helpless.

    But if we always censor ourselves like this then we might silence something beautiful too.
    It’s a tough balance to find the right tone, so you reflect your pure intention when you’re writing critically and when you’re writing politics.

    PS – I’m new to your blog, and I just love your writing. Thank you!

  22. […] finally, Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds wrote a couple of refreshingly down-to-earth posts on why he identifies as a feminist and why he prefers “feminist” over “equalist”. They’re definitely […]

  23. In a system based on a pay/time relasionship, that is $ per hour, you can’t have a =$ for =work relationship. The reality that some accept to work at a lower hourly rate than others is not a problem of equality. It’s a personal problem.

    Feminism is a problem. It’s not about women. It’s too narrow of a thing. You can’t be for (pro) something, unless you undurstand it’s nature, and quite nessesary it’s final end. Feminism, or at least every single version of it falls short because it only looks at the material dimension, and fails to address the spiritual privation that exists.

    And it’s really and truly a human problem that we have lost sight of (I hope you understand this part) all that is before us ( experiences of our parent, their traditions) and all that will be after us (those we leave behind, our life’s accomplishmens that have actually done something our death, and ultimately all traces of our lives erased by the hands of time. )

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