Despite the silly, comedy title, this article is not about me being a dick to men. Actually, it’s not even aimed at all men, and it’s aimed at women too! I’m going to try to clear up some myths about feminism, and offer a quick guide how you too can think “yeah I’m a feminist” without embarrassment. You’re welcome, the Internet.
“The message that came across strongly from one side was that feminists are women who hate men. Now, there are two things wrong with that short sentence.”
I decided to write this blog after witnessing a horrific exchange between two acquaintances on Facebook. I don’t want to go through the ins and outs of it, but one felt attacked by an article written by a woman (who said she was a feminist in her bio), so made some attacking remarks about feminism. The other tried to defend the point, and the first one… Well, let’s say there was a delightful combo of wanting to angrily disagree and simultaneously get the last word in… It was unpleasant. Feelings were hurt.
The message that came across strongly from one side was that feminists are women who hate men. Now, there are two things wrong with that short sentence. Firstly, feminists don’t hate men. Feminists hate gender inequality (which is sometimes, but not always, forced upon us by a patriarchal society) but we don’t hate men as a group. Don’t get me wrong, some probably do, but that’s a characteristic of an individual, not a group. That’s like saying all English people drink tea or all men think about sex constantly – there will be some instances, but sweeping generalisations are bullshit. Secondly, not all feminists are women, nor should they be. You can’t win with only 50% of the vote, people! Gender equality benefits everyone, and the guys need to know that feminists are not the enemy, they’re the frikkin’ in crowd!
“Now that I know that feminism is not just a bunch of hairy, bra-less, humour-less 80s stereotype lesbians trying to cut off penises AND (like CKOne) is suitable for men and women, how can I show this when I’m on the Internet?”
So, because I know you’re dying to ask… Now that I know that feminism is not just a bunch of hairy, bra-less, humour-less 80s stereotype lesbians trying to cut off penises AND (like CKOne) is suitable for men and women, how can I show this when I’m on the Internet? Don’t worry friend, I’ve put together a handy guide:
1. Do the headline test. Whatever you’re going to say, imagine it’s going on the cover of tomorrow’s newspaper. Your photo’s on the front page. Everyone in the world is going to know you said it. How do you feel? If you feel embarrassed /ashamed/mortified, don’t say it. I usually think “what would my mum say if she read it?” If I think it would result in an angry text, it doesn’t get typed out, buddy! Actually, that’s just a rule for life… Not just feminism… But it still counts!
2. Dispense with nasty phrasing or terminology. Feminazi? Out! Social Justice Warrior? Nope! “Here come the women to tell us how we’re awful…”? Doesn’t need saying. Now, don’t get me wrong, being a feminist won’t make you perfect, and sometimes people will be dicks, but falling back on “you would say that, feminazi” makes you sound like a tosser, rather than someone making a valid point. Mansplain is out too – I’ve learned my lesson on this, and it alienates others and makes us look silly!
“Don’t only get impassioned about an issue if your objective is to undermine someone else’s issue.”
3. Don’t bring up “what about the men?” during a female issue point. Some issues get discussed with a female perspective, because they impact women a lot. Let’s take, for example, sexual harassment at work. Now, I know it happens to men, and if you want to discuss it/write an article about it/campaign, I will support you 100%. But if the only time you show any interest in when it happens to men is to shout about it on a post about women, that’s some sexism you’re partaking in. To be clear, anyone having crappy stuff done to them is wrong, but if you only talk about it to belittle the suffering of others, that is dick behaviour. It’s a bit like the “black lives matter” campaign – yeah, all lives do matter, but the white ones seem to be doing ok without the hashtag, so no hijack. What I’m saying is, don’t only get impassioned about an issue if your objective is to undermine someone else’s issue. Simple.
4. Remember that feminists are a group of multifaceted people. I read a comment once where someone said “feminists hate pole dancers” – maybe some do, I don’t know, but saying that as a general statement sounds ignorant. I hate mashed potato. But do all feminists hate mashed potato? Probably not – some of them will be mash-guzzling monsters. If you come across a person that makes a nasty comment about men, remember that’s not ‘feminists’ being a tool, that’s one person being a tool. Call them out, by all means, but as an individual.
“ALL OF US need to make sure that we are being allies to those that need it”
5. Be an ally to the people who need you. I’m in a place of privilege – I’m a straight, white, cis, middle class woman. There are women in the media representing me – role models like Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Amy Schumer and Caitlin Moran. The feminism I’m part of because of the way I was born is making huge leaps – and guys, I encourage you to look on that as a leap forward, not something you should fear. But we all, ALL OF US, need to make sure that we are being allies to those who need it – using a correct gender pronoun for example, or supporting the right to wear a burkini (should the wearer want to). Show someone that even if you’re not walking the same path, you’ve got their back
“Feminism is about us all getting an equal piece of the pie, not women taking the whole damn thing.”
Guys, you must know a woman. Maybe one gave birth to you, sleeps with you on a regular basis, or is the fruit of your loins. Think of one woman you can stand the sight of in your life. How do you see them? Chances are, you look on them with love, respect, even sometimes bewilderment that they are so awesome. They make you a better version of you, and you make them a better version of them. Do they deserve to be treated like an equal? Given the same opportunity for promotion at work? Spoken to like a human being in the comments section of the Internet? Not have to feel a bit scared when walking home in the dark? Feminism is about us all getting an equal piece of the pie, not women taking the whole damn thing. What could possibly be bad about that?
That is what feminism is all about – equality between the sexes. Anyone (male or female) who says otherwise is an individual being a dick. So join the movement guys; we hear there’s plenty of pie for us all.