Do you even feminist, bro??- Including Men in Feminism // Marissa Floro

Last night after a long day of practicum, a colleague and I were sharing views on the agents of change in therapy, interpersonal connection, personal growth- you know, typical Thursday night small talk. The conversation took a turn towards our relationships- my colleague is newly married to a man and I live with my male partner of two years. She began to talk about how her partner is struggling with finding his identity, his core sense of self, even his ideas of self-care. We then moved into a broader discussion about American views of masculinity, how narrow and confining “being a man” actually is.

In trying to think of what has not been discussed at length on this blog, and perusing the different posts and writers, I began to not only notice a patterns of posts, but a pattern of writers. Save this post by Megan Mansfield earlier this academic year, there has not been a whole lot of conversation about how men fit into feminism, and how they can benefit from joining the cause too- not just how they hurt it. And, all of us campus reps for Div. 35 are women (or so it seems from our webpage). And this is not just us, but our society as a whole- continuing to separate men and women from each other with multiple barriers, including feminism.

From what I’ve gleaned from feminism, and I know I’m preaching to the choir here but bear with me- the pressures and confines of traditional and stereotypical gender roles hurts us all and pervades every part of our society, from work to our relationships. It affects men and women, with men being much more likely to be successful in suicide, hurt others and be hurt, be unable to create lasting friendships, just to name a few.

So how do we engage more men in this conversation? I have found that screaming “f--- the patriarchy” in the streets of Boston doesn’t get a whole lot of converts, male or female, so I’m fresh out of ideas*. As with many issues, perhaps peer to peer outreach is the way to go. Men typically listen to other men more intently and longer (bummer am I right?), so maybe this post should be aimed at our feminist brothers in arms. More celebrity men are identifying as feminist in the current trend of feminism and perhaps this is a farther reaching, more effective way to reach men. Perhaps as more women who may not fit the stereotype of feminist identify as well, perhaps this will not also expand public perception of feminism, but make it more accessible to all genders.  

I hope that as we, defenders and spokeswomen of feminism (insert Xena Warrior Princess war cry), move forward in the world, that we can continue to brainstorm how we can get men to join our ranks. 

* other things I’ve said in bars that haven’t recruited new feminists: “so how do you personally combat rape culture”, “I think the Olympics are a staged capitalist consumer good that glorifies athleticism to a detriment”, and “did you know that domestic violence and sex trafficking increases around the Superbowl?”

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