Radical Feminism And Men

Yes I am going to go there.  I was reading through some rad fem blogs last night which I will not link to as I have decided that this kind of feminism is not inclusive and has the potential to be harmful to women.  Yes I understand that there have been some wonderful outcomes like DV shelters and eliminating a womens sexual past as a reason to question her rape however, its continual refusal to accept intersectionality and its demonization of men is problematic to say the least.

As you are all aware I live in a household of men.  I have been happily unmarried to the same man for over 18 years and am the mother of two wonderful sons.  What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that my unhusband is not a potential rapist, or batterer.  How is that possible, he is in possession of a penis? I will tell you how that is possible, he respects women.  He is also not some kind of freak anomaly. 

In much of radical feminist theory there is a tendency to demonize men.  Do males commit some of the worst atrocities on the planet, absolutely but that does not mean that all men are capable of these acts.  It should not even have to be said that generalization of this kind is harmful. When we look at a group and pronounce them all guilty it is an excuse to spread hatred.  Believe it or not when you spread such vicious hatred of men it is not only harmful, it is hurtful to a large group of women.

I did not choose the sex of my children but I would not change it.  Raising sons can be an extremely feminist act.  Not only am I raising my sons to respect women and treat women as equals, I am teaching them to own their unearned male privileges.  The women that they encounter in life will benefit because of the lessons that I have taught them.  The lessons that I am choosing to impart are not only supported by their father they are promoted.  Feminism is a lived theory in my household.  So when I hear that all men are ___ (insert whatever crime), it causes me to get angry because not all men have the desire to cause harm and furthermore daily there are many women dedicating our lives to making sure that future generations of men are even less likely to cause harm. 

I am a straight woman, but I am also a mother, a sister, friend, an aunt and a cousin. Men play many integral roles in my life.  They have been by dearest of friends, sources of extreme pride and filled my life with much joy.  To admit this does not lessen my commitment to seeking justice for women.  To admit this does not make me less of a feminist.  I love women and will always work to improve our lot in life, but uplift cannot come from treating another group as though they are all criminal and evil.  This is the same kind of generalization that whites use to demonize blacks, and straights use to create homosexuals as less than.  Asserting your humanity also means validating the humanity of others.  If we expect men to value us as people, we also need to value them, and their contributions to our lives.

Pointing out sexism and the ways in which patriarchy continues to be damaging to women is vitally important to changing our lives.  Just like every other social justice movement feminism needs allies.  The civil rights movement of the 60’s would not have been as successful as it was, if blacks and whites had not marched together.  We must embrace the males in our lives that commit themselves to feminism as it is their help that we need to make real and lasting change to this society.  Understanding that feminism improves the lives of both men and women can and should be the basis for a foundation in which we come together to end the ways in which gender performativity forces us to adhere to behaviour that limits our personal aspirations and desires.  When I see a man, my first thought is not potential rapist, nor is it potential baterrer, however I am open to the possibility that in time man it will automatically come to mean ally and friend.

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