I’m going to express an unpopular opinion. This is a reaction to social media memes that aim to make feminism feel safe and non-threatening to men by saying some variation of “feminism helps men too!”
To be honest, my feminism has nothing to do with men. If men want to begin a movement to dismantle toxic masculinity, I’d support that. But I am not doing this work and living this life for men. I’m doing it for me, for my liberation from this painful patriarchy, and for other women.
I am not trying to make feminism “safe” for men. My feminism is supposed to make them uncomfortable. It is about liberation from men’s oppression, so it had better make them uncomfortable! I am not down with this safe neo-liberal brand of feminism that focuses on centering men and making sure men are comfortable with what the little feminist women are up to.
I’m not trying to collect male allies. Men can decide based on their own consciousness whether or not they would like to stop behaving in sexist, oppressive ways. But self-declared “male allies” are usually the ones who hurt me the most because they use that label to distract from their *actual behavior*, which is just as shitty. However, I can spot a man who is truly acting in solidarity with women from a mile away. It’s his actions, not his words, that make it obvious.
Like do we make the Black Lives Matter people say “Oh we’re fighting for white victims of police brutality too?” in order to legitimize them in white eyes? Do we make BDS activists explain how actually, their movement is equally pro-Israeli government as it is pro-Palestine? So that Israelis aren’t offended? No we do not.
The “we’re just like you!” and “our cause will also benefit [fill in privileged group of oppressors who is the reason the cause exists]” tactics in social justice movements are conservative trends that neutralize the radical message of equality and liberation and turn it into a superficial popularity contest that is no longer a threat to the status quo.
Cooptation. That’s what it’s called.
My feminism isn’t simply “to be equal to men”. I don’t like the society, the government, or the world that male supremacy has created. I’d rather men start their own movement “to be equal to women”.