So, you have a strong Fit Bottomed Girl in your life who kicks ass at pretty much everything. She is your best friend and your partner; you support each other. Yet, even as a guy, it is still painfully obvious that there are moments where she is treated as less than, simply because she is a woman.
At its root, feminism is the notion that people are equal regardless of gender. For example, a woman should be paid the same as her male colleague for the same work. Men should be granted leave to care for their newborn. Women can be successful in STEM. Men can be wonderful stay-at-home dads.
For our male readers, finding your place is feminism can be tricky — you want to provide support and be an advocate, but may not know how. Here are four ways to offer support.
1. Adopt the Label
Perhaps, you feel egalitarian is a better title for yourself; it’s a term that encompasses all minorities. There is nothing wrong with identifying as an egalitarian or humanist, but embracing the label of feminist keeps the focus on women’s rights rather than pushing them into a much broader category. Crazy enough, you can be a humanitarian, egalitarian AND a feminist. Referring to yourself as a feminist (especially if you are a dude) begins a conversation about women’s rights, the role men play, and how feminism affects men.
2. Intersectional Feminism
Feminism is complex, but knowing a little theory goes a long way. For example, white women and women of color may experience sexism differently. Women of color sit at an intersection of oppression because society represses their gender and race. As a result, women of color are collectively paid less than white women, for the same work. Understanding intersectional feminism is key because without it, feminism silences women of color.
3. Listen and Ask Questions
You are not a woman. Consequently, your ability to experience how women are mistreated comes from listening to your female peers. Society teaches male voices are superior to female voices. For this reason (especially at the beginning), it’s best to listen. If you want to build the conversation, ask questions!
4. Challenge Other Men
This is a great setting to be loud and bold about feminism and gender in society. One of the struggles of being a female feminist is your voice is often mocked by men. Too often we are called crazy or emotional. As a man, you bypass all of this. Consequently, your voice becomes powerful, loud. Sexist men may refuse to listen to women — you, my friend, are the antidote.
In order to be successful, feminism needs men. Men make up half of the population and still dominate positions of power worldwide.
Women need your help. Women need your voice. Calling yourself a feminist, understanding intersectional feminism, listening, and challenging misogynistic thinking are all fantastic ways you can help create an egalitarian society.
What do you think is man’s role in feminism? How do you support the women in your life? —Alex