Feminist Men in a Closet//Giazú Enciso Domínguez Ph.D

Photo from: http://jimcookeillustration.tumblr.com/

My optimistic friends tell me that step by step people will understand feminism. They tell me that it is a matter of time before heterosexual women realize how important a feminist partner is. That when we realize, male macho men will be single, because women will not want to go out with them anymore. I am not so optimistic;  although I know the way is to educate people, I do worry about the Feminist Men in the Closet.

I define Feminist Men in a Closet as men who do not take action. Those who decided to be quiet, when their words are required. Those who could use their privileges in favor of the women, and they decide not to do it. It is like watching men, enter a closet and decide to lock the door from the inside and stay quiet.

Feminist Men in the Closet are men who know about gender perspective, men in favor of equality, men who consider themselves feminist… in silence. They say it between whispers. Men who truly believe in equality are more informed and try to make their fight; but they do it once a week, as long as it is not on Monday Football. Men who profess feminism outside their homes, but inside is another story.

I do worry about Feminist Men in a Closet. I see my female friends - independent women who are strong, happy, determined, but crying because when those men are around   they won’t take them seriously. Those men used to think inside their closets: “my female friends are wonderful and empowered!”, but in reality, when they are outside, they choose a woman whom they wish to control.

I do worry about Feminist Men in a Closet. I see informed me who read about feminism; men who know Butler, Haraway, Beauvoir; men who know concepts and handle theories. Men that learn about new masculinities, but at home they do not know where the broom is, how to clean a bathroom, who the pediatrician of their children is or what the weekly food budget is; or on the other hand, those who wait for his reward for "helping" at home.

I do worry about Feminist Men in a Closet. Men who share videos about women's achievements, or the speeches of Madonna, Emma Watson or Reese Witherspoon, but at the same time their WhatsApp groups are full of tits, butts, moans, and pornography (consensual or not).

I do worry about Feminist Men in a Closet. Those who give couples advice and comfort to their female friends, but they are controllers and jealous of their own partners. Those who have in their vocabulary words like heterosexism, heteropatriarchy, intersectionality, but cannot pronounce words like menstruation, period, bleed or tampon. Those who had an amazing brotherhood but do not speak up and silence their male friends when they make jokes about a woman or stop the objectification.

What is more, now I think I am more concerned about the Feminist Men in a Closet than the macho one. I am more concerned about an “informed man,” than an everyday man who does not know the topic. Feminist Men in a Closet are not men who do not know, but men who decide when it is convenient to know. When to shut up and raise his voice. When it is convenient to lose privileges and in front of whom. When it is convenient to come out of their closet to enter into a female feminist bed. I'm preoccupied with these Feminist Men in a Closet. It makes me doubt the title of “Feminist” and it leaves me wondering about what will be inside that closet ...

This does not mean that feminism does not want Feminist Men at all. I do not intend to distance men from the feminist movement. On the contrary, this is a call to get men out of their closets. I understand the difficulty that this entails. I ask myself why would men renounce their privileges? Why should men justify themselves when they are questioned about the relationship between feminism and their manhood? Why would men want to be mocked among their peers? I have seen how men diminish other men whom claim to be feminists, but I also have seen the strong brotherhood among men and I am sure it would endure the backlash. I would like to understand how the closet could be a “male survival strategy” but we have to remember that Feminism is a fight about our literal survival too.

This is a call to get out of your closets. To speak your feminism. To use your male privileges, your position in this world, your brotherhood. The feminist fight will not be won only among women. We need feminist men, but not in their closets. As paradoxical as it sounds, in 1920 USA won womens suffrage rights because men went and voted for it. Men fought for us. This is an inclusive battle. We want you on our side. We want you outside your closet.

~Written by Giazú Enciso Domínguez Ph.D


  1. We might need to make a shift in focus and pay attention to practices, certain practices that, I'm sure, are not feminist in any sense, but imply different sorts of instrumentalization of pieces of knowledge about feminism. It's all about machism, it still is, but in a refined version and in disguise.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Miguel. We will keep an open eye :)

  2. Thank you so much for your comment Miguel. We will keep an open eye :)