There Is No Such Thing As A Male Feminist

There Is No Such Thing As A Male Feminist

There is no space for men within feminism and that's okay.
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Before I say anything I want to make it clear that, while I think men can be feminist allies, I do not think that men can be feminists. Simply believing that women are people and deserving of respect doesn't actually make you a feminist if you follow these thoughts by fetishizing gay women, by claiming that sex workers are lesser than other women and/or deserving of being sexually assault (such as when people claimed that Stoya couldn't have been raped because she is a porn actress), or by calling the girl on Tinder who didn't respond to you a "ugly whore who you just messaged because you felt bad for her."

I think my feelings about the subject can best be described by this quote from Brian Klocke of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism as said, "Although I believe that men can be pro-feminist and anti-sexist, I do not believe we can be feminists in the strictest sense of the word. Men, in this patriarchal system, cannot remove themselves from their power and privilege in relation to women. To be a feminist one must be a member of the targeted group (i.e a woman) not only as a matter of classification but as having one's directly-lived experience inform one's theory."

And it's not only that men cannot understand the patriarchal institutions that hurt women; often they themselves are causes of harm to women.

Louis C.K, (who is himself deeply problematic) has said, "How do women still go out with guys when you consider the fact that there is literally no greater threat to women than men? We're the number one threat to women. Globally and historically, we're the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. We're the worst thing that ever happens to them."

Margaret Atwood has written, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."

So, like it or not, men cannot be fully embraced into a movement that is about securing the safety and social advancement of women because the people who have made a movement like this necessary were and are men.

And there's no shortage of men who claim to be feminists in order to seduce and abuse girls (who usually end up being underage). Many tumblr users come to mind but I will avoid disclosing those details in this article. Anyone interested in more information on these cases can contact me through the author information at the bottom of the article. In their article, "What Do You Call A "Male Feminist" Who Only Wants To Pick Up Women? Meet the "Macktivists," Alex-Qhan Pham describes the exact type of man who, on the internet, self-describes as a feminist in order to be accepted into social circles, makes women inside these circles trust him, and then turns around and takes advantage of them while expecting no backlash because he's a "feminist."

And there's also a lot of genuinely good guys who are feminist allies and genuinely believe that they want to help the movement but I'll say to them what so many people have already said: Feminism does not and will not carve out a space for you. You must make the spaces society has deemed "male" into feminist spaces. You must recognize your privilege and take advantage of it by causing changes in patriarchal spaces that continually push women out with no cause except for their gender. If you are truly a male feminist ally you won't be mad that there is no specific place for men within feminism because you can recognize that feminism is a movement for and about women, not men.

The keys to being an ally? Listen to and respect the women around you. Do not expect rewards or sexual favors because you think a woman has more rights than a piece of gum stuck to your shoe. Focus on making patriarchal institutions and places feminist. Help, don't commandeer.

Cover Image Credit: Duncepud

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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