Should Men be Feminists?

should men be feminists?

Do you know what I hate? Spending hours upon hours discussing men. That’s why I’m a feminist – so that maybe the world can start paying to attention to people other than (white, straight) men. Unfortunately, a lot of my time as a feminist is spent answering this question: should men be feminists?

The answer is simple. It’s yes, obviously – providing they don’t talk over women; providing they listen to women; providing they actually care about women.

Unfortunately, not of men agree, and so many feminists dedicate days of their lives to convincing men that they should support feminism.

Their arguments usually go something like this:

“Men should be feminists because the patriarchy harms men too! Masculinity is toxic! Gender roles are restrictive! Male mental health is a serious problem! Feminism will fix all these problems!”

All of which is, of course, true. The patriarchy does harm men. Masculinity is toxic. Gender roles do restrict men as well as women. Male mental health absolutely is a serious and not-talked-about problem.

But that’s not why men should be feminists.

See, although the ultimate goal of feminism is dismantling the patriarchy; and although achieving that goal would indirectly benefit men as well as women and non-binary people, feminism is, ultimately, about people who identify as women. It’s a fight created by women, for women, for the ultimate benefit of women.

So if men only care about feminism because it indirectly benefits them, then they can quite frankly fuck right off. Men should care about feminism because they care about the benefits for women. They should care about equal pay, and reproductive rights, and gendered slurs, and rape, and victim blaming, and the million other things that feminism is actually about.

[bctt tweet=”If men only care about feminism because it benefits them, they can fuck right off” username=”oawoodward”]

I’m not saying I don’t want men on board with feminism. I do, of course I do. But only if they’re there for the right reasons; and providing they don’t shout over the voices of women.

I’m all for good male allies joining the movement. But if they don’t, I’m not sure I really care. People talk about making men feminists as if it is only with the help of men that feminism is worth anything. But feminism is still valid without men. Women’s issues are valid issues, and women’s voices are valid voices. The movement doesn’t need men in order for it to be worthwhile.

So yes, men should be feminists. But men should be feminists because they want to help women – not because they want to help themselves.

[bctt tweet=”Should men be feminists?” username=”oawoodward”]

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4 Comments

  1. October 4, 2016 / 15:44

    I don’t know why I only just saw this Liv but I’m sat in uni silently screaming “YAAAAAAAAS.” ‘if men only care about feminism because it indirectly benefits them, then they can quite frankly fuck right off’ is everything. ‘The movement doesn’t need men in order for it to be worthwhile.’ Yes yes yes. I don’t really have anything to add. Just: yes.

    Lx | Lightly We Go

    • Liv Woodward
      October 4, 2016 / 16:05

      You absolute gem! Honestly whenever I get a comment from you saying you like a post my brain is like ‘Good. Job well done. Mission accomplished’ <3

  2. AJV1Beta
    February 27, 2017 / 12:05

    I’m RIGHT with you on this. I don’t want to be that white guy only supporting feminism because it’s in my best interests. I want to be the best ally possible because women deserve way better. ‘People talk about making men feminists as if it is only with the help of men that feminism is worth anything.’ BEAUTIFUL. Reminds me of patronising movies where an oppressed group of people can only be rescued by the swooping in white male hero, you know? BS.

    • Liv Woodward
      February 27, 2017 / 12:11

      Thank you so much for commenting – and it’s so nice to hear a white guy that isn’t immediately defensive when someone suggests that maybe something isn’t about him! You’re right, we all just need to focus on being the best ally regardless of whether or not an issue affects me. Feminism is the only social justice movement that we try to market towards the oppressors and it’s mad. We don’t try and dismantle racism by telling white people that racism affects them too. We don’t try to end homophobia by telling straight people that it affects them too. It’s madness. If you only care about something because it impacts you, you’re a shitty person tbh!

      You’re so right with the ‘knight in shining armour’ stereotype – that’s exactly what it is!

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