Feminism & Me

March 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm (Uncategorized)

First, let me say I used & as opposed to “and”  in the title because I love ampersands. I have always had an abiding affection for them. Everyone else should, too. Anyway, feminism.

International Women’s Day was a few days ago, and for the last couple days feminism has been percolating in the back of my mind. Specifically, what does it mean to be a feminist man? Am I a real feminist? Shit, what if I do something wrong or sound like an asshole? I have some friends who are serious feminists and I don’t want to be insensitive…am I looking at this the right way? Am I allowed to have a viewpoint on this as a straight white male? I came to the conclusion that only someone who really was a feminist would worry so much about whether or not they are one. You can decide by the end of this post what you think.

The first thing I wrestle with often is how to define feminism. Here’s my take: I am a feminist because I think women have just as much value as men. I do my best to treat people the same no matter who they are (well it’s sort of a sliding scale–if you’re nice I’ll try to be your friend and if you’re kind of an asshole I’ll probably try to avoid you). I am an advocate and an ally whenever I can be, and I try to move past my limitations as someone who has traditionally been the neutral idea of a person in our culture. I am open minded.

It’s hard sometimes because I feel like I am being constantly judged by a certain segment of the population to have to “prove” that I am not “like all other men.” I get kind of offended when I see people use blanket statements to describe all 18-25 year old straight men. I then think to myself “that’s what people have been doing to minority groups and women forever!” So friends I would encourage you to wait until you know a person to judge them–they might surprise you. Of course this makes sense, but it applies always, to everyone. It’s something I have to remind myself of, and something I think is worth thinking about often.

Another thing I struggle with is feminism and art. There is a lot of great literature/music out there that either implicitly or explicitly runs counter to treating everyone the same. I love a lot of it. I think there is a way to enjoy those things without embracing an anti-feminist or anti-equality ethos, but it requires reflecting on what you read/watch/listen to and thinking critically about what you’re doing. This is something that worries me, though, because I understand the arguments for not supporting (music mostly) things that could be considered on some levels anti-women. I really like some of those things, though, and I’m going to continue to listen to them. I wonder if that makes me a bad person sometimes.

At the end of the day I think that it comes down to how you live life, and the behavior you tolerate from other people. You have to live in a way that is sustainable and allows for growth, love, and life for everyone. I think that’s what it means to be a feminist. I don’t believe a kind of caste system applying to anyone regardless of gender identity, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, or anything else. I think saying there are no differences between people is disingenuous, but that doesn’t mean those differences are particularly meaningful in deciding who we are or what our worth is. 

Being a better person is something I’ll keep working towards in my life always, and I think to some degree that falls under the umbrella of feminism. I think feminism is the normal state of mind of most rational people (or it should be); so then you have rational views and misogyny as your choices in life. Awareness of the inequalities in our society and striving to make them better is something we should all be moving to. Ride the wave of progress!

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4 Comments

  1. pingviini42 said,

    Stole my next post here, good sir! :p

    • Politically Musical said,

      I find that I get most of my ideas from other people anyway, so borrow what you like and make it your own!

      • pingviini42 said,

        That is very true. Creativity is knowing what to steal and how to make it something new.

  2. [The] Feminist Man – Flight of the Flightless said,

    […] month ago, right when I was beginning to really explore this concept, a friend of mine wrote about this very idea. In fact, everything he touched on in that post echoes my own thoughts rather perfectly (although […]

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