The Broadly Guide to Male Feminism
Male Feminist here, happy to explain our little cause.
Image by Kat Aileen
Male Feminists are the ultimate allies. Because feminists are all, "Smash the patriarchy!" Male Feminists say, "Definitely! We're gonna guide you in doing this, 'cause we're on the inside and know all the weak spots." We're like double agents—we're technically part of the patriarchy, but not really because we're feminist.
You can say "badass" about women, and it makes them feel good. It's not just shorthand for the fact that you are too lazy to actually describe them.
Men can have cats, too! Actually, it makes us very sensitive to pet a cat. Very secure in our Male Feminist masculinity. Cat ownership is how you know we identify with women.
These are for sliding into. Let that woman know that you're on her side in an intimate, yet tech-savvy, way. In fact, let her know that you understand her side better than she possibly could. Go ahead—she's waiting for you.
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Equality is good. Women should be equal to men, which also means that men should be allowed to have equal opinions on what is or isn't feminist. Goes both ways.
If you read the Elena Ferrante novels you will understand all female friendships. It's like having access right into the most superior of female brains. Plus, Ferrante might be a man. Truly, she is the Schrödinger's cat of Male Feminism.
It turns out we can just give money to women and then say whatever we want to them. Think of it like carbon trading, but for being an asshole.
This is like history, but when you put "her-" in front of it. The best way to use it is in a room full of women with whom you want to be allied and, uh, "allied." Make sure everyone heard you by repeating yourself and looking around the room waggling your eyebrows. You weren't misspeaking. No, you were not.
When you're being feminist, make sure you're not also being racist. I know—it's a lot.
One of the most important types of justice is social justice. Feminism is a kind of social justice, Male Feminism is a kind of social justice, listening to socially conscious rap music like Kendrick Lamar is also a kind of social justice. Make sure you ally yourself with a lot of Social Justice Warriors in the fight for social justice, too—since you have experienced so much social justice in your life, you will be a valuable role model for those just starting to enjoy it for the first time.
Lots of people might say, "Male Feminist, why do you insist on appropriating other people's cultures and modes of speech?" Well, as a Male Feminist, you are basically a mashup DJ of culture. Remember Girl Talk? Male Feminism is similar, but for mainstreaming "the other."
The Male Feminist must make sure never to silence the lived experience of the regular-kind feminist. However, the regular-kind feminist must also not silence the fact that hey, the Male Feminist is a thinking person, too, and may have in fact done more thinking because he is the only one who is both 1. male, 2. feminist and thus the only one capable of seeing both sides of the issue, technically speaking.
Macktivism is when you use your Male Feminism for evil—picking up chicks, mainly—and, uh, you know what? Let's move on.
You might think: 1. men, 2. women, pretty cut and dried. But there are also trans people, and even other kinds of people. Make sure you, the Male Feminist, are able to authoritatively speak on the plight of all kinds of people. Ideally, you will understand their plights better than they do!
This is when you like a girl for her bod and not her brain. This is bad. Make sure nobody catches you doing this.
The Male Feminist might technically have benefitted in some small way from the patriarchy. He should constantly apologize for this, via tweets, Woke Tumblr, or—for the advanced Male Feminist—a TinyLetter.
Similarly, no one will take your Male Feminism seriously if you haven't read all the top Queer Theorists and don't constantly refer to the fact that you've read all the top Queer Theorists. Indeed, I should not have to tell you who they are.
Solnit coined the term mansplaining after listening to a man—not a Male Feminist!—explain her work back to her at a party. Tell everyone she's your favorite author. If they don't know who she is, explain. If you sense that they are lying about knowing who she is, explain. If they know who she is but don't get why she's so significant, definitely explain.
That's when you repeat something a woman just said [signal] only much, much louder [boosting]. It's one of the top ways to advance our Male Feminist cause.
Have you ever seen Transparent? Good! You understand transgender issues.
Technically, Male Feminists granted women the right to vote. People forget that.
Not all women have them. But many do. You have to respect them. Whenever a woman is all, "I'm on my period," you should nod sagely. The Male Feminist understands.
You're, like, totally against this.
Otherwise known as the chromosomal difference between birth-assigned men and women. Because birth-assigned men have both X and Y chromosomes, you can tell they understand both men and women. We're all chicks in the womb, and some of us stay in touch with our feminine sides way after that.
The number of times you have to consider viewpoints different from your own.