QotD: “The “equal rights” definition of feminism basically tells men that they can be feminist without ever changing their behaviour or the way they think about women”

Here’s a common thing I encounter as a feminist — most men think they like the idea of not-raping. Most of them will say, if asked “Oh yes! Of course I think violence against women is wrong and bad” and “Those men over there doing all the assaulting are bad and unlike me.” Likewise, most men, when asked if they support “women having the same rights as men” will respond by saying, “Uh, yeah?” at which pointed they are gifted with a box of cookies and a t-shirt that reads: “This is what a feminist looks like!” And therein lies the problem with a definition of feminism that doesn’t include “end patriarchy and violence against women.” Just saying that you “support equal rights for women” doesn’t make you a feminist. It doesn’t. Anyone can parrot that basic idea and few men will literally respond to the suggestion of “equal rights” by saying, “You know, no — I actually think women are second-class citizens who shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” But when pressed — like, when asked if they are willing to give up porn or strip clubs or the right to objectify women — you’re more likely to get a less enthusiastic response from all these so-called feminist men. The “equal rights” definition of feminism basically tells men that they can be feminist without ever changing their behaviour or the way they think about women. Ending sexual assault (and patriarchy!) is going to take an actual change in behaviour and social norms. And that’s probably going to feel a little “uncomfortable.”

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

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2 responses

  1. “I’m willing to support feminism as long as it doesn’t apply to me and I don’t have to actually do any self-examination or change.”

  2. I challenged her on the box of cookies thing. No one ever told me guys were supposed to get a whole box now. I only got one cookie. And no t-shirt. :I

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