Male allies are extremely important and valuable to the feminist movement! They use their positions of privilege to further the cause in ways that women can’t, and for that we’re grateful.
That said, there are a few trends in male feminist behavior that could definitely stand to change. Watch Melissa A. Fabello give a few tongue-in-cheek reminders to male feminists.
Click for the Transcript
You could argue that feminism is supposed to be sexually liberating. But, yeah, for women! You already get to have promiscuous sex. You already get to experience sexual pleasure. You already have all of mainstream sexuality culture focused on you. Don’t use feminism as an excuse to use people.
Speaking of feminist guys and sex, look. I’m really glad that you enjoy going down on women. Right on. But it’s kinda weird when you bring it up all the time. Like, “I love eating pussy.” Me, too. What do you want, a cookie? And I get—I get what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to show that you’re not like one of those guys who thinks that cunnilingus is gross or that vulvas are ugly. But you’re upholding that same construct – that dudes aren’t supposed to like going down – when you profess your (supposedly rare) love of it. Just—just do it. We can tell whether you like it or not.
Will you tell your friends to shut the fuck up? Like, I know that attempted allyship is exhausting. My cousins are always saying racist shit on Facebook, and I’m like, “Ugh, guys, I don’t feel like getting into this right now.” But you know what else is exhausting that people don’t feel like getting into all the time? Oppression. So do the right thing and say something. “Hey, dude, maybe when you talk about your girlfriend, you shouldn’t sexually objectify her” or “Dad, I understand that you hold this belief that women are fiscally irresponsible to be true, but I actually know a lot of women who are good with money.” It doesn’t take much.
You don’t have to apologize for your gender. In fact, don’t. That’s unnecessary. I’m not mad at your gender. I’m mad at that guy for doing something effed up. I’m mad at society for letting men get away with violence. I’m not—I’m not angry at men by virtue of their being men. And if I were and I wanted an apology, it would have to be better than the “on behalf of” kind.
Women are people. You don’t have to be scared of us. I always get men who are trying to work in solidarity with me say stuff like “I really, really, really hope you don’t find this offensive, but I think you’re pretty.” Dude. On the list of my things to worry about, you finding me attractive and paying me a compliment really isn’t on it. Or they’ll give some kind of a weird disclaimer like “Trigger warning: I’m a man.” Okay. That’s—that’s okay. Don’t overthink it. When you’re overly cautious, you’re treating us like we’re fragile or on the verge of exploding, which is actually really sexist. Find a balance. Just be respectful.
And lastly, the most important reminder to feminist men: Thank you for doing what you’re doing. I know I poked a little bit of fun at you in this video, but really, I appreciate you and your work so much. Movements are strong on their own, but the work that allies do is really invaluable to our success. So keep doing what you’re doing. Just, ya know, maybe a little better.
And if there’s anything that you would like to see male allies doing a little bit better, use the hashtag #DearFeministMen on Twitter to talk about it. Until next time…
Melissa A. Fabello, Editor of Everyday Feminism, is a domestic violence prevention and sexuality educator, eating disorder and body image activist, and media literacy vlogger based out of Philadelphia. She enjoys rainy days, Jurassic Park, and the occasional Taylor Swift song and can be found on YouTube and Tumblr. She holds a B.S. in English Education from Boston University and an M.Ed. in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She is currently working on her PhD. She can be reached on Twitter @fyeahmfabello. Read her articles here and book her for speaking engagements here.
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