Calling All Male Feminist Allies: Let’s Smash the Patriarchy Together
Grab your brother, dad, husband, boyfriend, or just any man you happen to know and share this article with them!
While women are the driving force behind feminist movements, gender equality will never become a reality if we don’t have male feminist allies. But what does being a male feminist ally actually entail? You understand why the fight for gender equality is essential, you recognise the different levels of oppression that women face around the world and you want to deconstruct toxic masculinity. But what can you actually do as a male feminist ally to support the fight for gender equality?
1. Don’t be afraid to use the F word
Even though 86 percent of men in the UK were supportive of equality between the sexes in 2016, only 4 percent would call themselves a feminist. There still seems to be a huge stigma attached to using the label feminist. Although feminism is simply the fight for gender equality, some men see feminism as a woman-only issue or an anti-men movement, while others think of it as an emasculating term. We need more male feminist allies to proudly call themselves feminists and help destigmatize the word amongst men. Several male celebrities have joined the fight to normalise the term ‘feminist’, from Will Smith to Barack Obama or Mark Ruffalo. Make sure you do your bit and try to drop the f-bomb as often as you can!
2. Give Women a Voice at Every Opportunity
Being a male feminist ally means it’s not about you. You need to understand that, whether intentionally or not, you’re complicit in the patriarchal society that oppresses women. Listen to the women in your life, the women in your workplace… just women in general. And whenever you have the opportunity, make sure that you’re giving women the platform to speak. If you’re having a conversation about women’s rights with a male friend, why not point them in the direction of a woman who might be able to explain women’s issues from their perspective. Be an advocate for gender equality.
3. Books are Your Best Friends
It’s not our job to educate you about every single issue that women are facing. Take it upon yourself to read up on gender equality issues, do your own research and find out about the different feminist initiatives going on around the world. Read about toxic masculinity and how you can be a part of deconstructing the ideas of what it means to be a man. Use the books or articles that you’ve read as ammunition for your journey as a feminist activist. If you don’t know where to start, check out our introduction to activism.
4. Call Out Other Men for their Misogyny
The sad reality is that men generally respect other men more than they respect women. For example, when a man hits on a woman, if she simply says she’s not interested he tends to persist until she walks away. However, the moment a woman says she has a boyfriend, the pursuer backs off. Evidently once a woman ‘belongs’ to another man it would be disrespectful to try to get with her. So if you see another man harassing a woman, don’t be a bystander, and call them out on their unacceptable behaviour. Why not then use the opportunity to talk to them about feminism and gender equality? Need some inspiration? Check out the shit that men say to men who say shit to women on the street:
5. Don’t be a Woke Misogynist
We all know at least one woke misogynist. The guy who goes on all the women’s marches, wears the feminist gear, talks about #MeToo, #TimesUp, #BlackLivesMatter and only ‘cares’ about gender equality. But then when it comes down to interactions with women, he’s one of the harassers, assaulters and simply won’t leave women alone when they’re not interested. He’s the fake feminist ally. Don’t be a hypocrite. If you’re a real feminist ally, you practice what you preach, you show women respect, and don’t use feminism as a label to get you laid.
Article by Chanju Mwanza