The feminist movement revolves around the idea that women are still not equal and that great strides are still necessary in order to equalize the sexes. It ranges in intensity from moderate feminism to All Penises Must Be Cut Off feminism, and all of us know a woman who probably considers herself a feminist in some regard. The entire movement is about women and for women, but there are men out there who assume the feminist philosophy in an effort to better recognize their own patriarchal tendencies and also feel closer to women in their own special way.
There is a feminist in particular, however, who is not much of a fan of male feminists.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite so simple. From the man who opened a text conversation with a photo of his naked chest and encouraged me to reciprocate in the name of the Free The Nipple movement, to the fellow who agonised over accepting a ******* because, despite enjoying them, he found the act simply too degrading to let me perform; dating male feminists turned out to be one of the least empowering decisions I’ve ever made.
It’s not that I don’t want to be with a man who respects me, values consent, or is conscious of the various gender-based imbalances in the world today. These qualities are a bare minimum.
But men looking for feminist-sanctioned romance tend to fall in to one of two categories: those who use our attraction as a sign of approval and seek out trophy feminists to clear their conscience of any inherent patriarchal wrong-doing, and outright predators who employ a bare-bones knowledge of feminist discourse to target any young woman whose politics so much as graze the notion of sex-positivity.
What’s remarkable is that the idea of a man chaining himself to the opposite sex by giving up his own identity in order to appeal to someone else’s is one of the very traits feminists dislike in their own sex. Women who give up who they are in order to appeal to a man is in practice no different than men who give up who they are in order to appeal to certain women. That’s not to say men who know feminist theory and sympathize with it are awful people. But the ones who openly call themselves feminists and lament on their own unfortunate patriarchal identity, by and large, are. Of course, there are the guys who are into feminism solely to sleep with sexually liberated women. These are in reality no different then the men who claim to be transgender in order to go into gender neutral bathrooms. They are in it for the sexual satisfaction of it.
But, from a sociological perspective, the idea of seeking out male feminists doesn’t make sense. Feminism is based on social conflict stemming from a gender-based inequality. Feminism, therefore, is kind of like the theoretical clubhouse for women seeking to balance out the conflict. Allowing men into the clubhouse seems a bit bizarre, given that men, by their definition, have really messed things up so far. Why would you even want men all up in your theoretical perspectives of gender relations?
In fact, it should be insulting to feminists that their movement is being co-opted by men for the sole purpose of finding someone to have a relationship with. Such a situation renders feminism itself completely useless. It is the ultimate appropriation of a cultural movement in order to use it for one’s advantage, be it sexual or romantic. Men are microaggressing against women simply by joining their movement and bringing even the slightest patriarchal inclinations toward the traditional male-female relationship into it.
Feminists should reject male feminists and turn instead to men who are inclined simply to treat them as they deserve to be treated – as equal members of society. It’s one thing for grown men to sympathize with the movement, but it’s another thing for them to adopt it and either become effeminate self-haters.