There is a debate within feminism about men. That debate is whether a man can really call himself a feminist. Some argue that since men have privilege that women do not have we cannot really understand the lives of women and therefore can be pro-feminist nit not actually be called feminists. Others say that this is limiting and is in it’s own way sexist, creating a women-only club that needlessly excludes male allies.

What do you think? Can men ever really be feminists? Is it oppressive or colonialist for men like me to call myself a feminist rather than pro-feminist or a feminist ally?

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CleonApril 13, 2012 10:34 am

Whether it be skeptics or feminists (or really, just about any “ists”), once people start talking about who is the “true” [label] I think they’ve started to take a wrong turn. Labels are just that; labels. The focus should be on spreading the message, not figuring out ways to exclude people. I don’t even care if one side happens to be right, the conversation itself contributes absolutely nothing to the movement.

What I think feminists (of all sexes/genders/orientations/etc) need to focus on, rather than focusing on labels, is explaining the concepts behind them. For example, I think very few people understand what feminists mean by the concept of “male privilege.”

DavrosLivesApril 13, 2012 12:02 pm

Well, doesn’t “pro-feminist” mean, essentially, “someone who agrees with the ideals of feminism”? So… how is that different from a feminist? Someone who is pro-racist is effectively a racist, right? Someone who is pro-pacifist is probably a pacifist, right?

Of COURSE I don’t have the same perspective that women do. But why in the world would anyone want to stride around erecting barriers between “allies” and “true scotswomen”?. It just seems so… pointless.

donovanableApril 13, 2012 12:04 pm

I agree with Cleon. Spending time with label exclusivity does a lot of harm. I’d rather some(man) used the label feminist as a short way of expressing that they feel women deserve equal treatment and rights than spend time narrowly defining it.

elyseApril 15, 2012 9:10 am

Since feminism hasn’t been marketed in all-pink packaging, I can only assume it’s NOT for girls.

elyseApril 15, 2012 9:11 am

And why am I “elyse @delyseious elyse”?

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