It’s hard to be a male feminist.
Especially on the internet.
Are you sexist? Are you a “closet” sexist? Perhaps a “benevolent sexist”?
I’m not saying these people don’t exist. Although the categories do tend to run together. There are innumerable men with the perverse “nice guy” mentality. I can’t count how many men have the mentality that women should date them because they are nice and decent to them.
On the other hand, unrequited affection is a total bummer, and men should be able to express that frustration without being reduced to a Neanderthal looking for a sex.
Decency is the standard.
Affection is personal. It’s not a reward, it’s not a wage. You don’t cash in.
You are not owed love.
You are not even owed being liked.
These guys ruin it for the rest of us and we should be quick to denounce them. But there is a difference between frustration and entitlement.
Here’s an anxiety that we face:
You are on your way to some daily menial task. A lady walks behind you. You don’t know her, you assume she is on the way to some job similar to your own.
You open the door and stand quietly and keep the door open for the women behind you.
You smile a bit too long
There is too much eye contact
You look at the ground
“I can open my own doors, thanks.”
Most feminist even agree its ridiculous.
It’s actually pretty rare, but its something we fear. Being labeled sexist is terrifying to the modern male. After all, we are socialized towards sexism. We are often unaware of our own privileged delusion. There’s truth in that.
But there is also a void of direction. A lack of a clear path.
Men who lack a sense of identity are prone to identifying with the most negative aspects of our gender. It’s easier to fall into a negative caricature than to create an entirely new one.
I think that we should always hold doors.
Not because it is chivalrous, or because it is impressive. Not even because it is an ode to some archaic idea of manhood. I think we should hold doors because it is the decent thing to do.
We should strive to be breadwinners because that is an admirable goal.
It does not negate a women’s ability to earn
We should protect because the protecting of the ones we love is a fundamental part of humanity and child rearing.
It does not imply that women can not.
We should bear our resilience (not repression) with pride.
Because control is an admirable trait of every gender identity.
Always be on the look out for ways to improve yourself and be aware of the society which has so privileged men at the expense of women. But we should not allow other to tell us what the intentions behind our actions are. No one gets to tell us that we assumed they were incapable simply because we were courteous.
I am not an animal
I am decent because of my humanity,
not because of my penis.