Men and feminism, can it be?

5 Jun

I can’t believe it – Marmite Feminism is entirely devoted to feminism and yet I haven’t yet talked about the meaning of feminism. Surely that would have been a good place to start?!

Last week I was cycling back home and an old friend pulled up alongside me at the red lights. It was one of those fantastic encounters that leaves you grinning for hours afterwards. The whole journey back home, cycling side by side, we were catching up on seven years of not seeing one another.

I told him about my work and that I’d gotten married and he asked me to describe my husband. I lead first and foremost with what is most important to me – that my husband is a feminist. My old friend looked really surprised and asked what I meant.

This led me to realise that the reason why there are so few male feminists is because men, generally speaking, either…  1) don’t understand how it applies to them and indeed why it should apply to them or worse, 2) perceive it as an attack on them and in opposition to their existence. That is why it is not – in my friend’s eyes – possible for a man to be a feminist.

But why wouldn’t my husband be a feminist? When all that feminism calls for, is equality between the sexes, when all that feminism is, is an intellectual movement seeking a fairer and better coexistence between the sexes.

Feminism aims to ensure recognition of women as equals. To ensure their full value and capabilities are recognised and realised,  so that women are not seen as “less than” and to stop the subsequent engendering of exploitation, abuse, subjugation, oppression and discrimination.  Feminism counters any system, culture or action that aims to reduce a woman’s capacity to fulfil her potential as an equal.

So, just like Joey (in Friends) when he’s eating Rachel’s trifle, says, “what’s not to like”?


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