Justin Trudeau accidentally demonstrates why men shouldn’t call themselves ‘feminist’

In a demonstration of cluelessness, Justin Trudeau says he decided to start calling himself a feminist because a man said it was ok.

I couldn’t help but be relieved when Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister of Canada in 2015. I mean, what a nice guy! What great hair! What a lack of interest in rolling back access to abortion! As far as politicians, he is better than many alternatives. But goddamn, I do wish he would stop announcing his “feminist” credentials at any chance he gets.

Why, very cruel feminist who is never content and always complaining about things?!” you might ask.

Well, let me begin by saying that I do know a number of men who I do consider feminist. What I mean by this is that they approach politics and their personal lives as people who wish to challenge and undo male supremacy. They support feminist efforts to end sexual assault, domestic violence, and prostitution. They speak up against pornography and gender roles. They hold abusive men to account. They also don’t go around announcing to everyone who will listen that they are feminists. Instead, they simply behave in ways that genuinely demonstrate their support for the women’s liberation movement.

“Show, don’t tell” is the approach I always recommend to men. Most men who know a thing or two about allyship, though, already understand this. They understand that virtue signalling is more about validation and manufacturing your own preferred image than it is about action. They understand that feminism is a movement by and for women, and that it is not up to them to insist on or coopt the label for themselves. But young Trudeau is not a show, don’t tell kinda guy.

The problem with men (lol) is that they tend to take each other more seriously than anyone else. This is a key part of man-training under patriarchy. In fact, we all are taught that men’s ideas, voices, opinions, and work are more legitimate than women’s. Women are too emotional, superficial, and bleedy to be taken seriously. This is why men have historically been centered in every arena from politics to music to medicine, and also why Rebecca Solnit gifted us with the notion of “mansplaining.”  Not only are men condescending know-it-alls, who can’t help but man all over you, even when you are giving them a compliment, but they are averse to the idea that a woman could possibly have superior knowledge about anything at all. So much so that even when it comes to the women’s movement, of all things, they believe that men know best.

One might think this pattern would not appear among men who claim to be feminist, but as evidenced by men, this is not the case.

Last week, at a conference organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Trudeau told an audience that when he was at McGill, he had an argument with a female classmate about whether or not a man could be a feminist. Trudeau insisted that, yes, he not only could be a feminist, but he was a feminist.

 

The woman told him, “No, only women can be feminists. You can be supportive or you can be an ally, but [feminism] is our thing.” Melinda Gates, who Trudeau was relaying this story to, smirks, and the audience cracks up. (Ha! Women are so stupid when it comes to feminisming!) Trudeau calmed everyone down by explaining that “20 or 25 years ago, that was a stronger perspective.” In his defense, he does admit that some people still have this perspective and that “there is room to have discussions around this,” but goes on to explain that he changed his mind and started calling himself a feminist the moment a man indicated he could. Specifically, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Once Trudeau saw a video of Gordon-Levitt saying he was a feminist, Trudeau says he realized that “it’s ok for men to say they are feminists in a public sense” and decided to start doing just that (and never ever stop!)

So. Let’s recap: woman tells Trudeau feminism is for women, Trudeau disagrees, but (I assume) refrains from constantly announcing in public that he is a feminist. Man explains that men can be feminists, Trudeau excitedly reverts to announcing he is a feminist at any chance he gets.

In other words, once a man said men could take on the label, “feminist,” Trudeau took his word as correct, over the word of a woman who had (correctly) said it was inappropriate for men to take on the label.

To me, this demonstrates peak manning. That somehow a man should be able to determine whether or not men can call themselves feminist is absurdly demonstrative of the fact that men don’t accept women’s words or boundaries as legitimate, even when they are talking about a movement that exists to challenge the idea that women’s words and boundaries are not legitimate.

There is a recent trend wherein men take on the label “feminist” in order to dictate to women how they should best go about seeking their own liberation. And, unfortunately, this is a risk of allowing men to call themselves “feminist” — that they will simply take the term and make it about them or use it against us: to explain womanhood to us, what is and is not empowering, and who we must include in our advocacy. (Surprise! It’s men!) Considering all of history, it is remarkable that even some women will insist men must be included in the feminist movement, but in some ways, understandable. Women are socialized to center men and to ensure everyone feels welcome and included, not ostracized or uncomfortable in any way. While men have, historically, not made any notable effort to ensure their political movements are welcoming to women, women continue to jump through hoops in order to make sure men don’t feel left out.

I am here to tell you that it’s ok for women to have something just for us. Indeed, I’d argue it’s necessary. There are endless opportunities to put ourselves in harm’s way by linking arms with the brave misogynists who make up the left today. Certainly liberal men will never cease to offer women the option of wasting their lives pretending that “sexual liberation” coincidentally looks exactly like a porn movie… Let’s have one thing that’s not like that, why don’t we?

To be clear, I think Trudeau means well. But the question of who feminism is for is an important one. Men can’t support the feminist movement if they don’t understand first and foremost that feminism is for women. It is a political movement that centers us: our voices, our bodies, our interests, our spaces, and our activism. It is not for them to have or to announce to the women around them, as though their taking on the label should be rewarded.

I’m very happy for Trudeau to join us in fighting the sex trade and legislation that normalizes regressive ideas about gender, but this cannot be accomplished by announcing he is a feminist over and over again. He has to actually do these things if he wishes to support women’s human rights. No matter what Joseph Gordon-Levitt says.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • Rachael

    I know it doesn’t apply to Trudeau (I hope) but I’ve known so many men who claim themselves feminist just to win brownie points with women without having to actually do anything. Most haven’t got a clue about what it means, that there are different types of feminism, or what they personally stand for. I’m always excited when I come across a man who calls himself an ally instead.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Fair enough!

  • Meghan Murphy

    That made me sooo angry.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, you are right that he is a liberal: https://www.the-pool.com/people/men-we-love/2016/16/meghan-murphy-on-justin-trudeau-politics-and-prettiness

    My point in this piece was certainly not to argue that he is great on all the issues, because he’s not. My point was to show how ridiculous it is that a man would listen to another man, rather than a woman, as to whether or not it’s appropriate to call himself a feminist.

    While, yes, women coopt the label as well, the point of feminism remains women’s liberation. As much as it bothers me for women to go around announcing they are feminist while simultaneously supporting the existence of a sex trade, for example, I do feel we’re in different territory when a man starts dictating the movement. Feminism is a movement by and for women. I guess I don’t understand what’s wrong with that? Why is it even important men be allowed to call themselves feminist?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, I find men who go around insisting they are feminist to be much worse than those who don’t. They want the cred and the ability to talk over women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    xx

  • Lucy Potato

    Well, she was the one who made that social media post on International Women’s Day about how we should take it as an opportunity to thank males, so . . .

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/canada-sophie-gregoire-trudeau-international-womens-day-men

    • Djdj Jdjd

      I was just thinking about that. Libfem 101 right there, no surprise considering what she’s married to.

    • Right. Thanks for the reminder. But I’m still giving him a break because the first thing he did as PM was appoint women to half the cabinet positions. Now everyday on the news we are seeing women’s faces, hearing women’s voices as the Minister of this or that is interviewed. Personally I’m finding it amazing. Also I think it’s because of him that we (or at least I) first saw televised images of the appalling conditions that First Nations people are living in. I think the government had done its best to keep it a secret until then. He’ll make mistakes and good intentions without strong critical analysis, especially from the people affected (women, aboriginals) can be destructive. But he’s still got my vote.

  • Alienigena

    I don’t know why everyone is on the Justin bandwagon. He just seems like a “slick git” sometimes (to quote a character in Shaun of the Dead). He is worse in some ways than a more overtly sexist male because he is so convinced of his own rightness and his right to talk over and mansplain feminism to women.

    • Djdj Jdjd

      I’m not a Justin fan either, and I also can’t understand the hype. I never liked the guy. He’s so clueless when it comes to pretty much everything, feminism being one of the main things. He’s just another disappointment as most males tend to be.

  • Liz

    I’m sick of them too, sister. I take great joy in reading here, especially when Meghan says something so perfect as “Not only are men condescending know-it-alls, who can’t help but man all over you, even when you are giving them a compliment, but they are averse to the idea that a woman could possibly have superior knowledge about anything at all.”

    “man all over you” is such an on-target description

    I hope that with his help, you finally figured out the plastic bags. I have SUCH trials with them, I tell you what 😉

  • calabasa

    Yeah, someone else on here made a great comment that feminism used to be a movement about action and now it’s a movement about identity, and identities don’t get shit done. Liberal feminism in a nutshell.

    Volunteering for a women’s shelter, starting a website, producing films that feature women, becoming a politician and lobbying for the rights of women–these are examples of actions. As you say, it takes a lot of time and can be an often thankless slog–under- or unpaid blood, sweat and tears. I admire Meghan for actually *doing* something, something of tangible value that takes time and effort and brings her into the crosshairs to boot. I admire all other women who sacrifice their time for and even risk their lives in the service of tangible change for women (Lydia Cacho is my hero). I hope one day to *do* something as well.

  • Hekate Jayne

    I am wondering about how you view the changes in malehood. Do you see the direction as positive?

    I feel like we just keep explaining the same simple concepts over and over, and I am convinced that males know exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it, and they have no intention ever stopping. They keep a never ending dialogue going, express endless confusion, and I think that it is just a tactic to keep their ownership and control of women.

    I read an article from a woman that talked about explaining emotional labor to her husband. I understand that this is a thing that we are socialized into and that males are not fully aware of it. But still, it isn’t hard to understand. She explained it a million ways, and he just couldn’t grasp it (shocking!).

    And then she was apologetic more than once, about how she didn’t want him to feel attacked, and how she understands his struggle. And all I could think was “this is a dude that prefers we think he is a total dumbass, and that’s fine with him, as long as his domestic slave keeps handling his shit.”

    If males are truly as stupid and helpless as they want us to believe, then it’s a waste of time to try to explain basic, simple things that they just can’t grasp. But more and more I think that it is just gaslighting. So that their supremacy stays intact.

    *link to the article that I mentioned

    http://start.att.net/news/read/category/lifestyle/article/harpers_bazaar-women_arent_nagswere_just_fed_up-rhearst

    • calabasa

      Yeah, I agree. Their rage, condescension and defensive denial or minimization is because they know we are right, but don’t want to think about it because it feels like a condemnation of them, or they don’t want to change what they’re doing. I think the abuser mentality is at work here (that is, abusers both do and don’t know what they are doing; in moments of awareness they know it and feel deep shame, but then they revert to the denial, blame deflection, reversal, and deflection, to bury their conscience and quiet the nagging shame. Also, they want to keep doing what they are doing, because it keeps them from taking responsibility and it works). It’s massive cognitive dissonance.

      I have found that men who truly aren’t sexist don’t get upset, and most men who truly aren’t sexist are interested in listening to the experiences of women and understand perfectly well when things are explained to them. To find out in what particular ways men who are sexist most strongly hold their sexist views, listen to what they get defensive and also mansplainy about, while refusing to listen to your arguments (for my dad he is particularly sexist about the existence of the wage gap, because he holds neoliberal views on economics; he is sexist in other ways to, like his tendency to lecture and not listen–though admittedly he does that to everyone–and in his views on gender roles, but that especially). My dad seems egalitarian as he cooks and cleans etc.; he believes in “showing his love” rather than talking about things (I mean sharing feelings or truly debating). He is emotionally distant (if also extremely sensitive and sentimental), and some of his views and attitudes are pretty sexist, if not his actions these days.

      My brother is really not sexist about most things, but he gets incensed about having to leave the toilet seat down. He thinks in a house with as many males men can just as well leave it up. Explanations about how both sexes need to sit down, even if males less frequently, making the ratio of down to up more frequent, or even about how it looks bad up, do not sway him. I have no idea why (maybe it’s something from childhood) but clearly he feels attacked as a male person for this expectation and he is very stubborn on this point.

      I think my dad knows he is sexist, and denies it out of guilt. For example, I think he began to feel guilty during a conversation about why men with sexist/abusive fathers more often grow up to become abusers, because it was in the context of my having dated some of them; I think my dad suddenly felt guilty, that maybe all my problems were due to my difficult relationship with him and that maybe that had as much or more to do with him than with me, and I was drawn to and sympathized with men with abusive fathers for that reason, so, suddenly, in the midst of a calm and reasonable conversation, he laughed at me and said I “certainly had a lot of drama in my life,” referring to the physical and sexual violence I’ve experienced at the hands of some of these men, a comment which was extremely hurtful, especially considering what I am currently going through.

      So, yes, they know, but I think that beneath their veneer of superiority and mansplaining denial there is a deep shame at what shit men are to women, and they must do anything possible to displace blame onto women and/or call them crazy and deny everything so as to avoid admitting that yes, indeed, men benefit at women’s expense, including the women they love, because what do you do with such an admission? Go back to how you were living before, benefiting at the expense of the women in your life? I think they *know* but hate or dislike feminists and feminism because they don’t like to be reminded of it and don’t want it to stay on the surface of their conscious mind. (I also think this discomfort–with benefiting at people of color’s expense, and not doing shit about it–could be why so many even liberal white people are scared to be real friends with POC, particularly black people, at least in the U.S., where the history of the slave trade is so shameful and black people receive such disproportionate levels of discrimination).

    • Liz

      I recently read a comment or blog post (I wish I could remember where) that said something to the effect of “If men are really this inept, they should create a legal status of permanent childhood for themselves.” It may be one of the brilliant writers or commenters here, and I can’t believe I don’t remember.

    • Leo

      I think it’s gaslighting, too. If you treat it like a legal test and ask yourself ‘would a reasonable person…’ it becomes obvious they’re doing it on purpose. Women tend to understand when we explain, or even without us even having to do so, unless there’s men around telling them not to understand and not to listen (or else). We even see women make intellectual leaps themselves to understand the ideas once they get the idea of how feminist theory works (I’m so proud of my mum here for how fast she got it, I’ve sent her a link to the article since I know she’ll be able to relate, dude sounds like my dad), and asking pertinent questions. We also see men can understand political ideas, including similar ones, perfectly well when it actually suits them to do so, whether it’s an analysis of economic class, or whether they just want to try to turn feminism back on us.

      Extreme levels of feigned cluelessness are also considerably more prevalent among American men (though it is spreading), and has become a political tactic they use on other issues (race especially), too. US culture seems to have become so anti-intellectual that there’s less of a heavy social cost to them from appearing to be that astoundingly stupid.

      In the case of the specific example, I think the only space for any leeway is when a task really isn’t that much of a biggie, then women might do as well to adopt the male attitude and not bother with it (and if dudes don’t like it, they can deal, or do it themselves), as try to get men to do it. Women are trained to make needless work for themselves, and it’s a bit pointless to, say, insist on cooking really fancy meals all the time, and then complain about the effort. Nigel will probably not even be that appreciative, he certainly won’t really understand how much effort it was, and if the woman complains, especially if she brings it up in the middle of a seemingly unrelated argument after finally having had enough, I think he may genuinely find that one inexplicable and unfair, because she apparently choose to do it of her own free will (but actually because of female socialisation. I mean, tbf, it drives me mad when male-partnered women do this, too, even though I understand the reasons, so I can almost forgive Nigel for not getting that one. To an extent I actually do believe them about being more straightforward, even more relaxed, if nothing else, I just think it’s because patriarchy lets them get away with it, and demands women not dare to be). But we all know that the stuff that actually does need doing wouldn’t get done in many households if a woman wasn’t managing it.

    • M. Zoidberg

      >>”this is a dude that prefers we think he is a total dumbass, and that’s fine with him, as long as his domestic slave keeps handling his shit.”

      My ex would get so mad and accuse me of “making him feel like an idiot” because the very basic concepts of feminism were just too much for him to understand.

      The conversation would usually end when he’d declare that he was either busy or hungry. Hence why he’s my ex.

  • Djdj Jdjd

    Men shouldn’t be labeled feminists because they’re not women, it’s as simple as that. The majority of them, especially extremely privileged ones like Justin Trudeau, only reap the benefits of patriarchy and could never even begin to comprehend what it’s like to live as a woman in a world that considers you inferior and second class just because of the biology you were born with, biology, I might add, that is essential to nurturing and bringing life into the world.

    Men can help out behind the scenes, be allies, but they can be as much a feminist as a white person can be a Black Lives Matter activist. Like men with feminism, white people can only be allies and support BLM’s message and speak out against racism in any and every way possible. True allies for both causes wouldn’t expect a pat on the head from the groups they’re supporting, nor would they claim themselves members of these groups just because they support them.

    I agree with the rest of the points you’ve made in your post.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    Men CANNOT BE FEMINISTS. Ever. EVER. No.

    Of course, to see the true nature of a man, tell him ‘no’ and watch the hissy fit ensue.

  • Wren

    My most common “man all over you” moments are when men are aggressively friendly. They see me walking by and notice that that I just pass them and carry on with my business, but this eats them up inside, so they have to bark, “HI HOW ARE YOU???” because I chose to barely acknowledge their existence. They do this when I’m walking my dogs ALL. THE. TIME.
    I wish I could get my dogs to snarl and bark back.

    • calabasa

      Mine are men reading things on my chest if I wear a t-shirt with words. It’s an excuse to stare at my breasts, and disgusting. Then they try to strike up a conversation with me about what they just read. I ignore them rather pointedly. If I do this in public other men think I am being mean (women too); after all, we are socialized to please, and we are obviously there to give our time to men, and if we don’t want men staring at our breasts and trying to talk to us we should not ever wear anything with words or pictures on it.

      As a result of this, I have adopted the latter strategy. However, now I’m thinking I should wear a t-shirt that says, “Men: I know you are reading this to stare at my boobs. Try to strike up a conversation with me about what you have just read and I will punch you in the face.”

      Then I should follow through.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, for sure. I feel like a man announcing he is feminist only serves to give him more authority in a conversation about feminism.

    • Rich Garcia

      @meghan_murphy:disqus Like white liberals who give themselves the moral authority to call ethnic minorities “racist” or “bigoted” because they don’t understand the nuances between different cultures, and the culture clashes that can ensure when people of different backgrounds are forced to co-exist with each other.

  • Meghan Murphy

    One can indeed!

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Yes, all of this.
    But especially for people being more then willing to give men credit for nothing. The number of time a man was proclaimed, for most basic things (and some times not even that much) a feminist is truly sickening.
    Part of it is that stupid “Do you think women and men should be equal? You do? Surprise, you’re a feminist!” nonsense.

    But it also looks to me as if a part of it is a version of saying “Good dog” to a snarling dog that you hope won’t maul you.
    As if some women believe if we call men feminist enough times; they might take it seriously and give us smallest amounts of basic human respect.

    • Morag999

      ‘But it also looks to me as if a part of it is a version of saying “Good dog” to a snarling dog that you hope won’t maul you.’

      I agree. Many of us reflexively mollify men, at least sometimes and in some ways. It’s learned behaviour which is reinforced each time it apparently saves our skins (only ever in the short, and very short, term). And it’s behaviour we extend even to men who seem non-sexist, gentle, sympathetic — as if we’re always aware of their potential to revert the moment we offend them with criticism or ingratitude.

      We need continuous consciousness-raising about this, I think. That is, we need to make the unconscious behaviour more conscious (some of us much more than others, obviously). A feminized psychology is difficult to unlearn, to undo (and our liberation, in a large way, still depends on this process). Me, I struggle with this every day, in one way or another.

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Every single “male feminist” I have ever interacted / encountered* was/is a terrible disappointment.

    Every. Single. One.

    None of them were/are even close to being a feminist. But all of them were super invested in calling themselves that. And hiding behind it. It and their many, many often extremely aggressive fans.

    So, yeah. I’m super suspicious of any man calling himself a feminist.

    *To be fair; it’s mostly on the ‘net. IRL 98% of men around me thinks that feminist is a terrible dirty word and would never use if for themselves.

    • M. Zoidberg

      >>”IRL 98% of men around me thinks that feminist is a terrible dirty word and would never use if for themselves.”

      Truth!

  • Hekate Jayne

    I don’t take male interruption well. Every time I go to any public place, a white male invents a reason to jabber at me. I don’t know if it’s flirting, or what, but it feels like dudes look at me and say to themselves “there is a smallish female all alone! Let me share the manly beacon that is me! Surely, she will enjoy…..nay…..ADORE my showering her in my male attentions!! The female nurturing nature simply thrives on male approval and attention. Yep. Imma make little ladies day”.

    My standard response is to literally bark WHAT? Their little male faces fall, and I can clearly see that they are just so fucking confused that I don’t preen and bask in the unique and special male light that they are attempting to gift to me.

    But I totally believe that little fella was perplexed by plastic bags. I mean, this is a group of people that bumble around, either being destructive or controlling and crying. They aren’t known for intellect.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Your comment, especially the last half, needs to be shared with women everywhere.

    We are trying to work with males. We ask, we explain, we beg, we protest, we work, and all we get is dudes playing at confusion, or expecting us to wait until they get around to it.

    This system is working exactly as males want it to. They get to keep the status quo, which greatly favors them, and we just keep on asking and waiting.

    And in the meantime, we get dragged backwards.

    Feminism is not about waiting on getting enough male support in hopes that if we can rally enough males, then maybe we can change things. How long have we been doing that, anyway? It doesn’t work, and that’s because males don’t want it to.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    That a smug entitled hooray for imperialism got everything from daddy dude like Justin Trudeau announces that feminism is no longer too scary to join says at least as much about the state of mainstream feminism as it does about him.

  • FierceMild

    Run for MP!

  • FierceMild

    As will I. I was raised in a household and community that thought it was a bad idea to “give” women the vote; this isn’t a done deal without an ERA (or even with one). It’s hard for many US and Canadian American’s to keep that fact in perspective to them it seems like such a distant past when women couldn’t vote…to me it appears a possible future.

  • Americus91

    I had a male professor ask our class “Who here considers themselves feminist?” -very few women raised their hands – a few raised them half way up with a “sort of” gesture. He said “Why not? I’m a feminist!” – then he said “It simply means all people should be treated equal.” Everyone just seemed confused – and now I can see why!

    Isn’t that considered “Humanisim” ??

    At the time – I knew very little about feminism. I was raised by uneducated- conservative-small town parents. All I thought was “In the 60’s a bunch of women fought for equal rights and eventually they won.” Ha!!

    That was 8 years ago – wish I knew then what I have since learned – I’d have a different answer for him!

  • shy virago

    Meghan, this is wonderful! One of the best pieces of writing I’ve read from you.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you so much!

  • cinderchild

    Oh no! A man feels left out of feminism! Someone come quick and coddle his ego, make sure he understands that even though women have one moment just for our very own that yes, he will still be the center of everything else, ever! Even though that’s clearly not enough, for men must be included in everything ever or their egos get sad and they say crap like this right after reading an article explaining how ridiculous it is for men to be expected to be included in feminism just because they have virtue signaled their woke credentials…

    Quite the impressive display of lack of comprehension of the source material there, marv.

    • calabasa

      I think he was being sincere. If the thoughts he’s shared on this site are any indication, marv is an ally, for sure.

  • calabasa

    Thanks for answering. I liked the article, but wanted to know more about why men can’t be feminists (I mean, I understand, but to see the argument laid out; does it come down to, “the oppressor cannot be trusted?” More and more I have to say I agree with this). Some of the arguments on here are fallacious (feminist is closer to civil rights activist than black ally, and during the African-American civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies there was a disagreement among different factions of the movement as to whether whites could or should be part of the movement, or not). I understand arguments for both sides, and think those same arguments apply here. I wanted to hear what Meghan/others thought about it (is there an article on here about why men shouldn’t call themselves feminist I missed)? Off to Google to research the position…

    • bitingkiss

      Letting men in as ‘equal participants’ of feminism seems to follow a really predictable path. Male socialization causes them to want to take charge, and female socialization & gratitude at a man who “actually cares” causes a lot of feminists, especially younger feminists, to start love bombing the guys and giving them wayyy more credit than they would give a woman for the same. Then the dudes start getting weird and unfeminist in their actual behavior around women (or they were like that the whole time and managed to keep it quiet). Hugo Schwyzer was a high profile example but he was far from the first one. I have been skeptical of the “male feminist” since I read a story in 2005ish about a “feminist man” who volunteered at a rape crisis organization and used his position of trust to sexually assault a young woman. Like Schwyzer he had a very long list of reasons why this didn’t reallllly make him the bad guy. More egs:

      http://fusion.net/story/391391/woke-misogynist
      http://www.bodyforwife.com/beware-the-fake-male-feminist

  • calabasa

    I wouldn’t be so sure. My ex-bf/abuser made lots of public statements speaking up against patriarchy after he abused and raped me. He even showed up to Take Back the Night this April as a volunteer. He stood behind me in the crowd glowering at my back before he began rushing around helping collect candles from survivors. (Even he knew how creepy this was. I hardly went out all year after what happened–in fact, I still don’t, and now I’ve developed agoraphobia–and something I go to that’s supposed to be for me and he’s there? I went onstage and read a poem. I thought he might leave when he saw me go up there, but he shamelessly stayed, though he moved away from the crowd; how did he know I wouldn’t point him out? He was lucky I didn’t have the guts to. He listened to me read a poem I wrote in college about sexual assault–he, who sexually assaulted me, the person who had opened up to him about sexual assault and trusted him. He listened to me almost cry as I read this poem. Then he came back into the crowd, and I had to witness him nonchalantly stand and stare at women onstage as they spoke frankly about their sexual assaults. He pretended not to notice as I informed organizers about him and pointed him out. I had to leave. Ill-advisedly I sent him a one-sentence email: “Why did you go to Take Back the Night?” He responded by hysterically accusing me of “stalking his social media,” as he must have posted about it. He pretended he somehow hadn’t seen me there, though he stood right behind me and also heard me read at this small venue, and I sure as hell didn’t miss him as soon as I walked into the event; I panicked and was going to leave, but my friend convinced me to stand up to him by reading and also to inform the organizers–I still left early though, I couldn’t stand being there with him there. Why did he angrily deny seeing me? What was the use of this ridiculous ruse? All I can think is even he must have known how incredibly creepy this was, and he could not have a conversation with me about something we both knew perfectly well to be true. He angrily denied seeing me for the same reason he angrily denied raping me).

    In college I knew a porn-addicted, misogynist, predatory man who was a member of MARS (Men Against Rape Society). He was *obsessed* with the topic of rape, while pretending to be “feminist” and against it and to think it was terrible. He organized events so he could hear women talk about rape. He got off on it (on everything–on being seen as an activist and campaigner against violence against women, on hearing women tell their stories). He was also looking for women who had been victimized to befriend and offer his “support.” He got off on that too, and also on exploiting their vulnerability and assaulting them. TOTAL creep. But if you followed him on Twitter you might think, “Oh there’s a good guy who cares!”

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      *Cough* H ugo Sc hwy zer *cough*

  • Hekate Jayne

    It is not essentialism to recognize our oppression by males with a word like “nature”.

    Personally, I find women to be varied. We have many interests, talents, hobbies, etc.

    Males don’t possess creativity, intellect, passion, interest, etc., as a class.

    What males do possess is an attitude of superiority, control and violence. And women are the direct targets of that.

    What do we call that? I don’t know if it’s in their biology, their nature, or what. What I do know is that they are violent, whiny, bullying, entitled babies, as a group.

    I don’t think that recognizing that is essentialism. Recognizing it is acknowledging that males have a really large problem as a group. That’s just correct observation.

  • Hekate Jayne

    You said:
    ” ……it ties my decision to oppose patriarchy to my biology and/or my experience in a sexist world, and that’s not true.”

    Women are oppressed by males because of our biology.

  • calabasa

    “Feminism is not for teaching men how to be human, it’s to stop their dehumanization of women.”

    Yes.

  • calabasa

    I think r/gendercriticalguys is an example of this done right. Men need to make their voices heard *to other men* and talk about sexism together with *other men* and *listen to women.* When they *talk* to women, it should not be to direct the goals of feminism, but to report about men’s behaviors and activities (reporting to us what men say and do regarding women when there aren’t women around is good allyship). If men want to be leaders in ending male supremacy they need to do that within their own male groups and leave the moving and shaking to women.

  • calabasa

    If the position is that they cannot be feminist because a majority of them either do not know what entitlement and privilege they possess or do and wish to abuse it and therefore can’t be trusted, it *is* crucial. Once men are allowed in anywhere they start trying to run things, and men dictating what feminism is would be a disaster (is, in fact, as we can see with men like Hugh Hefner who promoted objectification as empowerment, and trans “women” trying to erase biological women’s identities and protections). Even well-meaning men like Trudeau don’t realize when they are speaking over women and not listening to them. That kind of “do what’s best for them” attitude could lead to men doing all sorts of atrocious things in the name of “feminism” (“It’s best for women to be at home raising children,” “abortions are harmful to women’s mental health so we should ban them”). And men speaking for women isn’t “liberation.”

    I think I finally get it.

    • Littona

      I said that the conversation about feminist men is not crucial in the sense that I’m not fighting for men’s rights to call themselves feminists. I understand the argument that the chance a male is going to be entitled or violent is simply too high statistically for us feminists to “let them in”, for instance (though I don’t think things will get better if we can’t find a way to overcome this.) Hell, George Martin, a man, seems to be of the opinion that a male character cannot even think for himself until he’s been through some kind of castration.

      I just mean that stating that men cannot be feminists is based on essentialist ideas that are harmful to women.

  • crydiego

    Feminists have made a very convincing argument that the problems of the world come directly from men having too much control. This article also makes a good case for the belief that men will always try to control, if given the opportunity. And so, what could be the final solution and how can just feminism make changes against the will of half the population?

  • Morag999

    Yup, that’s exactly what he meant: “old-fashioned feminism.”

    Ugh. Unhip. Not new. AGED.

    Far as I’m concerned, “old-fashioned” comes directly out of consumerist culture and thinking. The clue is, of course, in the word “fashion.” Hairstyles can be old-fashioned. As well as shoes, living room lamps, coffee percolators (mm, nice), or calling a guy a “swell fella.” Smart phones can become old-fashioned in the space of a year or two.

    But ideas, theories, values, intellectual positions? These can be good or bad. And it’s NOT their per-se advanced age (25 years ago! ancient history!) which automatically makes them bad, irrelevant or disposable. Like, feminism (a movement created by and for females) has always been a good idea. And male supremacy has always been a bad one — not “old-fashioned.”

  • Missy

    Yes, he definitely is, it’s clear in his post history, good that you called him out on it. His intent here as a MRA trying to sound genuine proves that women can and should never trust men…. ever. They always have the worst and most selfish ulterior motives, then they have the nerve to refer to women as manipulative liars. Males always project and deflect blame from themselves, that’s the only thing they’re better at than women (other than pissing their names in the snow).

    I had to laugh at his post claiming MRA was the only group fighting for equality between men and women. How dense does someone have to be to believe that? It’s just so convenient for him, as a male, to just ignore the vile hatred spouted at women on those MRA sites and forums.

  • Hekate Jayne

    I think that it is odd that all of the replies are a defense of males.

    It is a subtle defense, wrapped in criticism. But that is what it is.

  • crydiego

    Yes and I found my way to Feminist Current through your history. I read a lot of Feminist Current and I find it bold and honest in it-s opinion. This was the only comment I made and it is an important thing for both MRAs and feminists to consider: Men and women each represents half the population so there has to be a way together. Justin Trudeau is not a feminist, he is just another person using the name as a tool because feminism is leaderless and directionless.
    So feminist embraces the Trudeaus while trying to label MRA as everything bad in the world. Maybe we all need a reboot.

  • crydiego

    We exchanged comments on another article, I don’t, and won’t follow you.

  • crydiego

    Maybe the feminists that read Feminist Current don’t but as I stated, feminism is not a uniform belief. The MRM is also a mixed bag.

  • Omzig Online

    Unless your career requires you to bend over and let a stranger pummel your rectum in a motel room – all the while wondering if he will murder you – you really have no business comparing your work or anyone else’s to prostitution. But thanks for playing!

  • crydiego

    The way I see it, it is the media, educational elite, and wealthy who control who is heard.

  • calabasa

    My God, you are dense. You are too stupid to bother replying to. I won’t waste my time.

    Quit following women around the Internet. It’s creepy.

  • crydiego

    Yes, -very few on this site, – I only looked at her history, I don’t follow her, – Forced abortion, I’m with you, Yes everyone’s rights need protecting.
    “you delicate, overly emotional dudes. So fragile, you dainty little boys.”
    Shame tactics don’t work anymore, but you bring up an important subject, -boys; boys and girls, it’s not just about us.

  • crydiego

    Maybe.

  • marv

    You just appropriated prostitution to equate it to other injustices. It’s similar to using the “consumerism is raping the earth” trope. Unconscionable to take women’s oppression in prostitution and apply it to whatever wrong you perceive. This runs rough shod over their distinct violations as women by men.

    As men we hold class power over women. Conflict resolution will never resolve class antagonism. Abolishing the structure is the only solution. ‘Think about that as you head off to work’, a place of subjugation that capitalist men have orchestrated, where they and working class men sexually and economically dominate women.

    You are treating calabasa in a manner consistent with your oppressor sex class status too. Reprehensible conduct. Living the way you are is loss for women, but such a man dying is gain.

  • Omzig Online

    You do not work as a prostitute, and we both know it. Now you’ve just proven yourself to be a misogynist, a liar, AND a troll.

    As for individuals working in prostitution having full protection under the law, you should look up the Nordic Model for a more comprehensive and humane way of dealing with prostitution as an industry. People that have endured prostitution don’t turn to the MRA movement believing that men are somehow downtrodden and oppressed. In fact, they usually have a highly acute understanding of men’s oppressive, abusive, and sociopathic tendencies, which you clearly don’t.

    So in the future, you may want to work on your schtick a little more. Your online impersonation of an abused prostitute needs some work.

    Bye, troll.

  • calabasa

    Is it really your job?

  • crydiego

    I look back at my original comment and the fact remains that the world is made up of men and women who both deserve respect, and I will try to get over myself.
    As to prostitution I’ve only said that they should have protection under the law. Stealing is illegal but frocing someone to steal is even worse.
    This is my last comment to you because I have bad feeling about this site and some think I’m stalking you or something. I’m glad I came here but I’m happy to go.

  • crydiego

    Wow, I had no idea you could think that. Feminism hasn’t been silenced for the last fifty years so the men must be allowing some to speak. Trudeau may not be honest but women aren’t censored in Canada by the gruops in my comment.

  • crydiego

    No it is not my profession but I never said anything about legalization, only that sex workers should have legal protections. It is illegal to steal but it is also illegal to force someone to steal for you. As long as the laws make criminals out of people who might want to barter for sex there will be worse criminals taking advantage.
    If manicures were illegal the trade would be full of criminals and some would be forced to do it. Legalize the honest part.

  • Djdj Jdjd

    You’ve made good points, and it’s true that there are some sinister women out there who throw their sisters under the bus in order to benefit from the patriarchy, although not nearly at the systematic level of men which you’ve acknowledged in your post as well. Men are the main problem when it comes to male privilege, but there are also male-identified women who don’t seem to give much of a damn about sex discrimination against themselves and other women. A lot of these women are thoroughly brainwashed and conditioned to obey their male masters and do the dirty work for them, but there are some, like women who are pimps or porn directors, that exploit other women for profit rather than male approval, (or it could be a mixture of both). Sadly it’s very profitable and very accepted/normalized to exploit and abuse women in patriarchal societies.

    Anyway, I think one of the reasons what people who have replied to you find problematic is your insistence that men can be called feminists. I have to respectfully disagree with you on that point myself. For one, I don’t think any man, or even a fake feminist woman, are worthy of the title and only help to drag down the feminist movement and shape it into something that isn’t taken seriously when it should be the most essential liberation activist movement in existence being that it affects half the world’s population, (and what’s more the half that brings life into the world which gives an extra air of deranged psychopathy to the already evil and psychopathic patriarchy) in every country around the world, and it’s the only movement that actively fights against the worst systematic violence and subordination in existence. It makes sense that only women can be feminists as they are the ones being directly affected by the discrimination that made the feminist movement necessary in the first place. Men can be allies, but nothing more. They can teach their fellow males to not be sexist assholes, but they shouldn’t be inserting themselves into the movement since they have too much of a habit of thinking they’re an expert on things they know nothing about and too often try to hijack the discussions to include them. Male entitlement is just too consistent for men to ever have anything more to do with the feminist movement other than supporting women and helping to take down patriarchy in their own way from their privileged position in society, and also their ability to convince other males to listen to them. Those are the best and most effective ways men can help make a change, and they can do this without referring to themselves by any label, especially the feminist one. If we need to call them something, better to stick with allies which gives them some recognition in feminism, but not to the point where they cross the line when it comes to having a say (mansplaining) on women’s issues.

  • Unree

    Ditto!

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      Unreeeeee!

  • kfwkfw

    That’s great. I realize I do things instinctively, while feeling and wishing I’d done the opposite shortly after. But you’re right, you can take note for future situations…life is for learning.

  • kfwkfw

    A man calling himself a feminist perfectly shifts the topic from “women” to “this man who is a wonderful, brilliant feminist” And it’s fucking gross.

  • kfwkfw

    “Not that the label means much to me anyway” – STFU then PLEASE

  • Ash Moylan

    Men who announce that they’re feminists AREN’T.

  • Tinfoil the Hat

    He wrote one called Protecting the Gift, about how to protect your kids, and I used his methods for my (now grown) sons. He also wrote a short book after 9/11, about terrorism. I’d be interested to read his thoughts on the internet, alt-right, the onslaught of info we expose ourselves to, etc.