The VICE Channels

Which Presidential Candidate Is the Most Male Feminist Candidate?

Nov 16 2015 8:00 PM
Which Presidential Candidate Is the Most Male Feminist Candidate?

Image by Kat Aileen and Gabby Bess

For the politically active Male Feminist, this weekend's Democratic debate offered more questions than answers.

Folks, this is unlike me, but I want to start this column with a grievance. This weekend, I was watching Aziz Ansari's new, groundbreaking Netflix original series Master of None when I was struck dumb. Aziz—I can call him that because I've seen all his standup specials—has long beenan ally of the Male Feminist cause, and episode 7, "Ladies and Gentlemen," was no different. He did a textbook job of showing what an ally looks like in the real world. And he even elucidates the ways in which allies are discriminated against, when he loses his job as a result of his advocacy. Why my complaint? As I made clear in my last article, I invented Male Feminism. For Aziz to not acknowledge me in his show is offensive and wrong. So consider the gauntlet picked up, Aziz. You're officially an enemy of the column.

Speaking of enemies, now that that's out of the way, I want to focus on the real issues: Saturday's Democratic debate and, correspondingly, which of the candidates is the most Male Feminist candidate. I'm gonna break it down for you, one by one. Folks, I want to dig a little deeper than traditional pundits—to really start the conversation about who you should be voting for come primary time. The Male Feminist isn't going to mansplain your vote to you; your vote is for you to mansplain to the world.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders
The Berner—I can call him that because I've seen all his standup specials—might seem like an obvious candidate. He's male. He's feminist. He's Male Feminist. But let's dig a little deeper. First of all, there's the existence of the odious Berniebro. In a resounding cultural critique last month, the Atlantic broke down the Berniebro archetype: a type of male Sanders fan who may, at first, seem like he has our best interests at heart. The Berniebro is young, male, educated, and not particularly given to seeing the humor in anything his scion does. We can often see the Berniebro posting earnest statuses on Facebook, doing woke tweets, and admonishing his friends about Hillary's voting record on the Iraq war. Folks, a vote for Bernie is a vote against the tyranny of the patriarchy.

Read more: New Study Proposes 'Controversial' Way to Fix Number of Women in Politics

At least that's what the Berniebro would have you believe.

But let's dig a little deeper.

Sanders scored some major points when he outlined his plan to raise tax rates for the country's top earners. Technically, this is exactly the same thing as #GiveYourMoneyToWomen, just on a national scale. Bernie would take money out of the pockets of Wall Street fatcats and concentrate it in the middle class, doing things like paying for health care and college. When it comes to income inequality, we are all women in the American economy. Makes you think.

Behind every strong woman is a man who technically deserves all the credit, if you look at it the right way.

But it's important to remember that when you back a candidate, you're also backing all of his (or her!!!!!) supporters. It's like that Spice Girls song. Bernie's supporters are known for being legion online but sort of paper tigers in real life. His fans will often trumpet huge online poll numbers while not doing much to change things in real life. They'll shout down Hillary supporters, saying that their candidate is actually better for women, if you want to get technical. And they're full of pie-in-the-sky promises without concrete plans of action. Does that sound like Male Feminism to you? I don't think so.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton
Folks, not only was Bill Clinton "the first black president," he was also the first Male Feminist president. This is a man who loved women so much that he would literally summon them to his office whenever he got a free second so they could have intimate conversations. Clinton cared, is what I'm saying. But around this column, we only know him as Hillary's husband. Andrea Peyser has a really good, relevant point here when she says that Hillary's political ascendency is due only to her willingness to let Bill "turn her into a fool."

Hillary might seem like the best candidate to vote for, as a Male Feminist, because she's a woman. But let's dig a little deeper. Is she really the best for our country? As we've discussed before, in this space, Male Feminists were the ones who gave women the right to vote, passed Roe v. Wade, and literally invented tampons—has history really shown that women are the best advocates for women's rights?

It's our job to be stomping on the glass ceiling from above.

Folks, I want to talk a little bit about tampons. The modern applicator tampon—no, it doesn't embarrass me to say tampon—was developed by a humble man named Earle Haas. Haas was a lot like Bernie Sanders, in fact; he was ahead of his time, and he cared about women. He came up with the tampon because he lamented that his wife and her friends had to waddle around with "rags"; folks, he wanted to help those women out. He wanted to help women everywhere out! But after failing to get those same women to catch on to his genius invention, he eventually sold his patent to Gertrude Tendrich, a businesswoman who became the first president of Tampax in 1936.

If you dig a little deeper, folks, I think you'll see that Tendrich was a lot like Hillary. She succeeded on the back of male hard work. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Behind every strong woman is a man who technically deserves all the credit, if you look at it the right way.

Read more: Extreme Self-Care for Modern Ladies

Then, there's the phenomenon of #HillaryMen. They're a lot like Berniebros, except they support a woman for president and not a woman-friendly candidate for president. As #HillaryMen founders Tony Daou and Tom Watson wrote, "Having been in the online trenches since the inception of online trenches, our skin is thick and the personal insults mean nothing to us. If anything, we welcome the attention to #HillaryMen."

Daou and Watson are, just like me, among the least mad people online. It's actually just funny to them, when you attack them. It's just like when Hillary said that she accepts big donations from corporate banks because of 9/11. Folks, how can you even question that? Women have worked very hard to climb the corporate ladder in banking, an extremely male-dominated field. Hillary is helping these women put cracks in that glass ceiling. Folks, as Male Feminists, it's our job to be stomping on the glass ceiling from above. It's a glass floor for us, which is a lot like a glass-bottom boat but for benign patriarchy. Remember, supporting a candidate means supporting his (or her!!!!) supporters. Who do you think is going to be better at stomping—a bro, or a man?

Martin O'Malley

More from VICE

The Latest