Is there a place for feminist men in feminism?

I originally wrote this with a feminist audience in mind (I even asked, via email, a number of my friends with firm feminist credentials to respond to this), but it turned into a forum discussing the validity of feminism itself. While that conversation is definitely a necessary one, it didn’t respond to the questions I wanted to answer in the careful manner in which I wanted to discuss them, so I am trying again.

I am directing this post to feminists, women and men (and to those who may have flirted with it, or those who have experience with but who are now perhaps disenchanted with feminism):

I am a feminist. By this I mean that I believe that nationally and globally, there is de facto political, economic and social dominance of men over women. Society inherently values men more than women in most areas of public social life. I believe that these inequities need to be corrected.

That said, I struggle as a male feminist. I’m not embarrassed about my stance on women’s rights, and I happily evangelize the feminist cause to other men. The problem for me is that I’m not quite sure of what a man’s place in feminism should be. As I throw out a few questions to my fellow feminists, I hope that they will be taken in the questioning, neophyte spirit that they’re offered.

I hesitate to be much more than a cheerleader in feminist circles. I’m always worried that my intrusion into a female-dominated feminist dialogue will be perceived as an the insertion of male authority. (And I cringe whenever I see men undermine feminism in such forums, especially online, and I hope that I’m not doing the same thing with this post.)

As I pursue my academic career, I write and present papers on feminist topics, but I get the sense that my professors and even some of my fellow feminists don’t take me seriously. I’m continually drawn to feminist theory, issues, and concerns as I think about research projects, but part of me feels that making this my main focus would kill my career before it even had a chance to get started. In the insanely competitive academic market, who would hire a man to teach feminist theory, when there are so many women who would be better qualified?

I’m trying to resist these stifling impulses because I feel that in order for sexism to be eradicated, men need to be converted to feminism. My vision of the success of feminism is a world in which both sexes are true and equal partners, and much of the masculine=positive, feminine=negative notions are blended together. It would seem to me that feminism should be perceived as a mixed movement. Men need to become heavily involved in it, but this means the possibility of male engagement, criticism and leadership within feminism. I realize that this is problematic (men would have to overcome all sorts of issues with power), but is it antithetical to the feminist cause?

In practical terms, is feminism a woman-only movement? Are feminist forums essentially female-only forums? Is it possible to discuss feminism as a female and male issue, as a joint concern of both men and women? Is there a place for feminist men in feminism?

21 Comments

  1. Feminism is a word with so many connotations and denotations that, IMO, its become a difficult term to use. Especially in Mormon circles, feminism has become a word that can even polarize audiences that agree on equality for both sexes.

    Within academia, there is a move to use gender studies rather than feminism to disscuss inequality based on sex. Gender studies is a more encompassing term because it overcomes the exclusivity of feminism while also acknowledging those who lie somewhere on the spectrum between, or outside of, male and female.

    I am very supportive of gender studies as a discipline. Much can be learned from analyzing how socially-defined notions of gender and sexuality have impacted, and continue to impact, our world.

    However, having said that, I am also very much in favor of female-positive environments that exclude men. I was one of the main advocates for banning men from our Mormon Feminist Rountable last fall and I have no regrets about that choice. I also participate in an all-female book group and purposefully have not encouraged any men to participate in our meetings. I wholeheartedly support womens colleges and women-only organizations. Such environments allow women some autonomy from the still-repressive bonds of patriarchy.

    But, back to your original question John. Yes, I think there is a place for you in feminism. I think it will be a difficult path for you in academia, but perhaps not more so than any other field within the humanities where jobs are scarce and finding nonexistent(!). However, I would suggest that you take more classes on the history of feminism (I need to do this, too), so you (and I) can be well-schooled in the history of this discipline and the scholars whove debated/discussed/theorized on many of these issues already.
    🙂

  2. Thanks, John, for trying again. I’ll gladly repost my earlier comments below.

    Thanks for posing these questions, John. I hope I can do justice to them.

    First, I believe that men should identify themselves as feminists, and work to improve the lives of women, advance the cause of women’s rights, and fight sexism; that white people must fight racism and work to improve the lives of people of color; that straight people need to fight homophobia and support gay rights; that rich people need to care about poor people; that human beings need to work for the humane treatment of animals, and so on. Everyone needs to be on the side of justice. No righteous cause (and I use that term advisedly) ever truly succeeds until even those who benefit from an unjust system begin to work to overthrow it. Slavery would still exist were it not for the efforts of those who were NOT slaves.

    Re: doing feminist theory in academia–there are plenty of male academics who work on feminism and gender theory. I think you’re probably going to face an uphill battle, just as white people who do race theory face some suspicion. I don’t, however, think that’s a reason not to do it. I realize I am not in your department, and I have only heard a little of the work you’ve done on feminism, but I take you pretty seriously: I appreciate your academic work on and your personal commitment to feminism, and as you will (I hope) attest, I have encouraged and defended both.

    As was recently discussed in the comments on “Mellencamp, the Game” on my blog, I feel grief and pain when men I consider enlightened and humane refuse to identify themselves as feminists. And as you and I have discussed, and as I have discussed on my blog, I heartily applaud the decision by any man (but especially Mormon men and men I like) to embrace the cause of feminism. I hope people will go to my blog and check out the archives for the things I’ve written about Mormon male feminists–there’s quite a bit. I was delighted to see the panel on the topic at Sunstone last August, and hope that it will be a recurring panel. And I am grateful for the efforts of men in the past who worked for women’s rights–the world is a better place for women not only because of Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan, but John Stewart Mill.

    But since your entry here arises in part from comments I made on Exponent II, let me create an analogy that I hope illustrates why I objected when a man asked a question in a feminist forum about whether or not Mormon men who are single suffer as much from their single status as Mormon women who are single–and then answered his own question in the affirmative, though he did acknowledge that although men’s pain was as great as women’s, there seemed to be more women who had the problem–i.e., there are more old maids in the Mormon church than old bachelors. And let me also explain why I was disappointed when several women rushed to support him.

    Let’s say there’s a forum devoted primarily to discussing the concerns of black people in the US, although people of any race are welcome to participate. And a discussion arises about poverty. And a comfortably situated white person comes along and asks, “Do you think white people suffer as much as black people under the conditions of poverty? I know both black and white people who’ve really struggled, so I think it’s the same emotionally, though I admit there are more poor black people than poor white people.”

    Well, gee! I have an adequate grasp of the obvious, and I’m pretty sure it sucks to be poor, no matter what color your skin is. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve never been truly poor; moreover I’ve never been black and poor, never felt several centuries of cultural oppression that have conspired to make poverty particularly acute in the black community, never faced a particular sort of hopelessness in terms of dealing with the problem of basic subsistence.

    And let’s imagine that in this forum, once this question has been posed, several of the black people immediately rush to say, “Wow, I bet poverty IS really bad for white people!” instead of, “Yeah, it’s bad for white people too, but, uh, why are you bringing it up here, and why are you bringing it up in this particular way?” At that point, I would have to question not only the motives of the person who posed the question, but the motives of the people who responded as well–it would seem to me that ultimately, this group was more about placating white people, reassuring them that their egos need not be threatened by this little racially oriented forum, than about doing what it had actually stated as its mission.

    And perhaps if I were truly wise, I’d just leave these people to their foolishness–god knows I’ve seen this situation before, and god knows I’ve seen so little change in the past when I’ve done this–but somehow, I actually still care about both feminism and Mormonism, and I just can’t stop myself from saying, “Um, uh, not to be rude or anything, but, you know, this sounds like complete and utter bullshit to me.”

    Because the fact of the matter is, I have neither patience nor respect for such things. I say to men who claim they want to talk about feminism, TALK ABOUT FEMINISM! The point is this: men as a collective are the recipients and wielders of privilege and power, and if that’s going to change and we’re going to achieve gender equality, you’ve got to be willing to give up some of that privilege and power, so START NOW. Set aside some of your concerns in the short term, and be willing to relinquish some of your privilege for eternity. Because that’s what has to happen for gender equality to happen: those with power have to give some of it up.

    And for god’s sake, don’t expect a pat on the back just because you hang out with women who call themselves feminists. Put your money where your mouth is–which in some cases, means shutting the hell up about your masculine concerns.

  3. Also want to add that I’m glad to read J’s comment that she is “very much in favor of female-positive environments that exclude men.” I have no wish to live without the companionship and affection of the many men in my life, but I also really value (to use another loaded term) “sisterhood.” One of the things I liked about being a Mormon teenager was the gender-segregated time in Mutual, because it allowed for plenty of female bonding. I am unapologetic about my belief in the need for spaces that give primacy to the intellectual and emotional concerns of girls and women.

    Which, of course, is what I am saying in my comments: it’s great that men want to talk about feminism in forums devoted to feminism, but hey, stay focused on that! It’s dishearteningly rare to see men express the humility and hesitance you are exploring here. Really, would it kill the guys who enter women-centric forums to spend a little time acting like polite guests? Not because their input isn’t relevant, but because they can learn a lot from just listening for a while.

    I’ve been thinking about a class I taught a couple of years ago, an undergraduate class on the works of Jane Austen, with 19 female students and one lone male. He didn’t talk much, which isn’t to say he never talked, but he certainly didn’t try to dominate the class. He said at the end of the semester that he learned more in that class than in any other course he ever took–and what he learned had more to do with how he should deal with his girlfriend, his mother, his sisters and his female friends, than with the works of Jane Austen. All men should be so lucky as to find themselves in a situation where they are the minority, and all men should be so brave as to stick it out. It builds character; it builds empathy; it builds a clearer vision of one’s place in the world.

  4. John, I’m really glad you raise these questions. I strongly support gay rights, but I never feel that I can speak for gays. However, I can be a voice for gays. This, for me, is the tricky balance.

    I attended an all womens college and I know there are many studies which show that women speak-up less in a mixed-gender group. Thus, we need women-only arenas. However, we also need you. My husband is a feminist and sometimes, he has a better eye at seeing sexism straight-on because hes not as mired in it as I might be. (Women are often socialized to accept certain lies about themselves.)

    I completely support all men studying feminism and taking a leadership role in feminist issues, but ultimately, I dont believe Martin Luther King could have been white. And if you light a bra on fire, I just dont think its gonna have the same impact or implications as a woman doing the exact same thing – 😉 Good luck!

  5. John: Your comments and questions are much appreciated. Here are some convoluted thoughts.

    While you do not differentiate between male feminism in an LDS context and male feminism at large, I do often make that distinction on the simplistic basis of personal observation. Male LDS feminists often find themselves in a difficult position. They may firmly believe in the principles of feminism and yet conduct their lives in a realm that continually reaffirms a certain set of male authority, power, and obligation. In addition, they may not only find the church at odds with their view of feminism but also with their view of masculinity. For example, I watched a brother, an ardent feminist, wither under the expectations for manhood that he did not identify with. In addition, as a feminist, he felt a certain weighty guilt at being a male in this power structure. In the Cambridge singles ward, more than once a man attended Relief Society for a few weeks at a time because of his discomfort with Priesthood meeting and feeling of solidarity with his sisters. However, their very presence made some women understandably uncomfortable Relief Society at its best is a womens-only zone where we can preside with creativity (in the creation sense, not the doily sense).

    Many of my male feminist friends who are not LDS (including my husband) consciously choose to avoid organizations and work environments that reinforce imbalanced gender roles. My husband grew up in an authentically balanced household; as he notes, his parents did not so much talk about feminism as simply live it (I love being an in-law!). He has not experienced the guilt that some of my LDS male friends have felt at simply being male, but he does actively identify with feminism. He did not worry that becoming a teacher would threaten his manhood. He doesnt pray about whether my pursuit of a doctorate is in keeping with the needs of our future family, nor does he worry that my feminism will harm my spirituality.

    I want more LDS men involved in the feminist dialogue but I want them to ere on the side of listening. Whether they chose it or not, they are placed in positions of power especially with the lay ministry. In addition, I guess that as much as I want them thinking about how womens roles in the church affect women, I want them discussing how the emphasis on mens roles affect men. Thus, I dont want them to try to appease issues for women while glibly ignoring that the power dynamic perhaps fractures them as well. The two discussions are not identical, but they are related if we are to move toward an authentic wholeness.

  6. Mike

    John,

    Is there a place for men in feminism? Definitely. It’s not a club you can get kicked out of! (This was meant both to be funny and true.)

    What is that place? I think, like so many things in life, a person’s place is whatever s/he makes it out to be, given the constraints set upon him/her.

    This is no more true in feminism than anything else because there are so many brands of feminism. Whatever place you try to stake will involve some people being happy about it, others being not quite sure what to make of it, or some others being downright hostile about it. Consider politics and feminism. According to one of my wife’s books on feminism, there are five different feminist perspectives. Since each has a different implication for political activism, disagreements and contention can easily follow.

    I think this connects to J’s comment that the word “feminism” carries so many connotations that its difficult to use. I find that when my wife refers to herself as a feminist, she means one she fits into one of those perspectives, but people often think she’s in another category.

    Maybe it’d help if whenever you tell someone you’re a feminist you should qualify the term. That way they know what you mean and not just assume you mean what they think you mean.

    I know some people don’t like this idea, but to me language is a matter of coordination of understanding, and it’s just not productive if people don’t first agree on terminology.

  7. Whoa! Got back from class and am amazed at the quantity and quality of responses–thanks!

    This is what I’m getting out of your responses:

    1) Women’s only spaces: there is a need for manless spaces, where women can feel free to speak out without the gloomy spectre of patriarchal domination hanging over them, and where they can connect, woman to woman.

    My only comment here is that I feel more comfortable with groups of women than I am with groups of men. I think that this is part of the attraction of feminism to me (and one reason I began knitting). I’ve never really fit into male group dynamics, and I envy female communities.

    That said, I understand the need for strategic separation.

    2) Men need to be vocal and active in the feminist cause, but may not be the best suited for the majority of the leadership roles, at least within feminism. Men need to listen more and stand down more often, and respect feminist space.

    I’m a little more confused and questioning concerning this item. I agree with Frankengirl that there are limitations to what men can do for feminism (and my wife Jana said that the heart-rate strap I wear running is not even close to a bra experience) :). Part of the problem is that some people equate feminist space with female space. The spaces are not always clearly defined, and participants may vary in their perceptions of who is welcome in that space and what is appropriate. The panel of Mormon male feminists was an example of a clearly defined forum where men were expected to speak on feminism, and as counter-intuitive as it may seem, I think it went well (I’m grateful for Holly’s affirmation).

    Right now, feminism is perceived as a movement entirely for and by women. But it seems that for sexism to be eradicated, most (if not all) men need to essentially become feminists. Men’s attitudes towards and treatment of women need to change. How do you convert and recruit men if the feminist spaces are primarily conceived as female spaces? While feminism is concerned with the subjugation of women, isn’t it about men as well, since they (we) are heavily involved in the oppressing?

    3) Which brings me to men and the academic study and teaching of feminism. I spoke more personally and less generally about this point, and I appreciate Holly’s and Jana’s encouragement. Apparently there are a few men who teach feminism, and there is the growing field of gender studies.

    While I don’t want to give up my study of feminism (which I love!), I’m thinking that gender studies (esp. the study of masculinities) might be worth looking into. I agree with bell hooks that the patriarchal benefits that men accrue come at a price to them:

    Most men are disturbed by the hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women…but they fear letting go of the benefits. They are not certain what will happen to the world they know most intimately if patriarchy changes.

    It’s obvious that women would be better off if patriarchy were eliminated. But I also believe that men would be much better off as well–as individuals, as a group, and in partnership with women. Maybe the best work that feminist men can do in the cause is among their fellow men.

  8. Holly, thanks for both the nomination and the email you sent today. I’m very humbled. Thank you.

    Deborah, I’m glad you introduced the LDS topic. Church is where I struggle the most with patriarchy, especially as a male (redundant) priesthood holder. My son will become a deacon in a few months, and neither I nor Jana are very happy that his sister will not have a comparable experience in a couple of years. Also, I can relate to your friend’s experience. I feel guilty for my (undeserved) position and have snuck into several Relief Society meetings when Chieko Okazaki was speaking. 😀 I wonder sometimes about my continued presence in the Church and how much that conflicts with my feminist ideals.

    When I spoke on the Male Mormon Feminist panel, I suggested that while we need outspoken feminist men speaking from within and on the margins of the Church, our hope may ultimately rest with what I call the “stealth feminists” and feminist-friendly priesthood leaders. These are the ones who aren’t so radical and outspoken that the Church lets them rise in the hierarchy, but who quietly instigate changes and soften harsh attitudes along the way. The only problem is that the structure reinforces patriarchal attitudes at every step. *sigh*

    Mike: I agree with your assessment of the different types of feminism, and wish that I were better versed. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to examine the relationship between men and feminism(s) further. BTW, can I get the title of that book? So much to learn!

  9. I’m a little more confused and questioning concerning this item. I agree with Frankengirl that there are limitations to what men can do for feminism (and my wife Jana said that the heart-rate strap I wear running is not even close to a bra experience) :). Part of the problem is that some people equate feminist space with female space. The spaces are not always clearly defined, and participants may vary in their perceptions of who is welcome in that space and what is appropriate. The panel of Mormon male feminists was an example of a clearly defined forum where men were expected to speak on feminism, and as counter-intuitive as it may seem, I think it went well (I’m grateful for Holly’s affirmation).

    It’s going to be hard to define the spaces of feminism and figure out what you’re welcome to do and what is appropriate. You’re going to struggle your whole life to figure this out. We’re not going to fix it after 30 comments on this entry.

    All space inhabited by more than one person involves negotiation. Most people behave differently when they are guests than they do in their own homes. Most people have had experience with horrible guests, who expect to be waited on and entertained, who stay too long and don’t seem to care that they are disrupting your routine. Most people have also had gracious guests who are so enjoyable you’re sorry to see them go.

    And having a guest is a very different experience from sharing living space. I have lived alone for most of my adult life. I sometimes joke that if I were ever to get married, I would want to live next door to my husband. I still remember what it was like sharing a bedroom with my older sister, who was a slob. (I am extremely tidy.)

    It’s not like Miss Manners has yet written a book for how men should be have when they start hanging out in feminist forumsthough maybe I will devote some time to that.

    The entire world is the living space that men and women, feminists and non-feminists, share together. It’s where everyone should have a voice in how things get done. (Which is part of what feminism is trying to make happen, since right now women don’t have as much voice in that.)

    And I would say that feminism is still someplace where men are guests. And I would say that when men stop being guests in feminism, when it is a house men and women inhabit equally, feminism will have done its job and it will go away.

    So I would suggest that men who attempt to share feminist space with women think themselves, at least initially, as welcome GUESTSvery welcome indeed, but still guests. Yeah, you can go get yourself a glass of water when you’re thirsty. But don’t start rearranging the cupboards. Don’t tell your hostess how to make her bed. Don’t tell her you don’t like what she has to offer you for breakfast and ask her to run out at 11:30 p.m. and pick you up some bagels. And if she tells you to put your DIRTY dishes on the sideboard to the RIGHT of the sink, because the sideboard to the LEFT of the sink is for CLEAN dishes, don’t make her repeat herself 50 billion times, and for god’s sake, clean up after yourself.

    OK, it’s an analogy, and a limited one. But I hope it’s useful.

    And I will also add a couple of things.

    I’m pretty committed to gay rights, but I have to say that I notice that at Sunstone, there are far more straight men willing to talk about what needs to be done to make life fair and open for gays, than there are men who will talk about what needs to be done to make life fair and open for women. Morever, in most of the forums where straight men talk about fighting homophobia, the emphasis is overwhelmingly on male homosexuality.

    I think one reason Mormon men don’t talk more about how to treat their wives and daughters is that it’s assumed that most other Mormon men have a wife and daughters, and each gets to treat his wife and daughters as he sees fit, as long as he doesn’t hit them or something. But it’s also assumed that most Mormon men don’t have a gay relative, so more proselytizing can be done in that arena.

    There’s way to explore thereit’s a big issue, why the evils of homophobia has been embraced as a cause in liberal Mormonism in ways that the evils of sexism has not. One reason, of course, is that Joe Smith and Brother Brigham had a lot more to say about marriage and the role of women than they did about the evils of gay sex, and they were pretty big on male bonding and creating arenas that exclude womenand after all, male homosexuality is the just most intense form of that bonding.

    Anyway, it seems to me that if men want to assume leadership roles in feminism, it should be in forums that involve mostly men.

    And to respond to a point Mike makes, about the different kinds of feminismI admit I’m a bit mystified by that. I don’t qualify the type of feminist I amI just say I’m a feminist. But perhaps it has to do with the arena one operates in and the audience one deals with when explaining these kinds of labels. I’m guessing that there are people in this discussion who don’t qualify what kind of Mormon they are, whereas I am always careful to say that “I was raised Mormon” or “I’m a post-Mormon” or “I am no longer a believing or practicing Mormon.” Oh, and most importantly, “I grew up Mormon in ARIZONA, NOT UTAH.”

  10. As I pursue my academic career, I write and present papers on feminist topics, but I get the sense that my professors and even some of my fellow feminists dont take me seriously. Im continually drawn to feminist theory, issues, and concerns as I think about research projects, but part of me feels that making this my main focus would kill my career before it even had a chance to get started. In the insanely competitive academic market, who would hire a man to teach feminist theory, when there are so many women who would be better qualified?

    OK, I kind of hate to raise this point, but have you considered the possibility that some of your colleagues in academia don’t take you seriously as a feminist not because you’re male, but because you’re Mormon? This touches on Deborah’s comments and also goes back to the discussion last August on that other blog, about whether or not any man who is a practicing member of the Mormon church has the right to call himself a feminist, because the Mormon church is so misogynist. As you’ll remember (I hope) I defended the right of such men to call themselves feminists, but perhaps your continued allegiance to this overtly patriarchal and sexist institutions is part of what undermines your credibility when you claim to be a feminist?

    I’m not suggesting you should abandon Mormonism if you don’t want to do so, but I am suggesting you think about whether or not–and perhaps ask someone if–this might be part of what makes your work in feminism suspicious.

    Or maybe it’s just because you’re a straight man. I know plenty of gay men who do a lot of work in feminism, and no one questions their right to do so. Perhaps it’s the “Will and Grace” thing, or the thing Marc Cherry (creator of “Desperate Housewives) has discussed: the idea that gay men and straight women share an affinity, in part because gay men can listen to women talk about their lives without using it as an opportunity to get in their pants. And I’ve certainly met plenty of straight men who flaunt their “feminism” because they think it makes them more attractive to smart chicks.

  11. Caroline

    Here’s what I commented yesterday on the original post:

    In general, Im sympathetic to Hollys concerns about men stepping into conversations about womens issues and then saying Hey, what about me? I could definitely see how such hijacking could be a way to shut women up from delving into womens concerns. (In fact, if I didnt know Mike and know that the only reason he posts at all on the x2 blog is because he wants to support me, I might be suspicious of his motives as well.)

    But I do have mixed feelings about this. Yes, men stepping into conversations about feminism and bringing up mens issues can derail the conversation. But I also think its VERY healthy for men to look at ways in which gender roles constrain them as well. And I personally dont mind if they bring up questions about their own gender constraints as men and compare them to womens as long as they are sincere and arent pushy when the conversation comes back womens issues. For me its all about intent: if the intent is to derail, then its unacceptable. But if its to further conversation and make connections between ones self and the other, then I have no problem with it. (of course, figuring out intent is a problem.)

    John, theres definitely a place for you in feminism. I have no problem with men engaging in feminist ideas and conversations, and I think such conversations would be all the poorer if you didnt occassionally also bring up the gender constraints which affect you as a male.

    Comment by Caroline

  12. John said, “My son will become a deacon in a few months, and neither I nor Jana are very happy that his sister will not have a comparable experience in a couple of years.”

    Watch for a future Exponent II post on Reiki! That said, I’d be curious to hear more about how you explain the priesthood to your son/daughter. How do you get him ready for this right of passage in a way that doesn’t minimize it for him but doesn’t create a feeling of inequity for her . . .?

  13. Dora

    John, theoretically, I would say that any movement that isolates is bound to be self-limiting. I think that feminism needs to grow to encompass those who are and aren’t women in order to be self-sustaining, otherwise it will always retain the Us vs. Them mentality. And no, I don’t mean that feminism needs “men” to be legitimate, just that it needs non-women; who, by default, just happen to be men.

    In the book you just loaned me, Conn defines feminism as, “both a coordinated set of ideas and a practical plan of action, rooted in women’s critical awareness of how a culture controlled in meaning and action by men, for their own advantage, oppresses women and dehumanizes men.” In a community, we should be working for all of our advantages. People, not just women or men, need to recognize our collective humanity.

  14. Deborah said:

    Id be curious to hear more about how you explain the priesthood to your son/daughter. How do you get him ready for this right of passage in a way that doesnt minimize it for him but doesnt create a feeling of inequity for her . . .?

    I think we’re improvising at the moment, and I’m not sure if we’re doing a very good job. We’re supportive of Christian, but we’re also very clear that we don’t think it’s right that she doesn’t have the same priveleges. I’ll probably explore this more in a future post, and I’d love to hear about any other sources that discuss this specific topic that you might know about.

  15. Starfoxy: Curse you! You’ve introduced me to another great blog to follow! 😛 Seriously, thanks for the tip–I perused, and I’m looking forward to going through Hugo’s archives.

    Visions of Male Feminist Blogger networks… hmmmm…

  16. Dora, I’m listening to a course by a feminist historian who teaches that feminism is not and never has been a monolithic movement–she prefers to say “feminisms.” Maybe some are exclusive and valuable and others are inclusive and also valuable?

    As a non-female and a builder of bridges, I fit better in that latter category. Your emphasis on community-building also appeals to the nurturer in me. One of the reasons I struggle with Mormonism is because of its tendencies to draw lines and exclude. I fight against that tendency whenever I can (including in the EQ lesson I taught today).

    BTW, there’s an article in this quarter’s issue of Bitch (the 10th anniversary edition) called “Everything you always wanted to know about feminism but were afraid to ask” that is a round up of the history of the varieties of feminism. Interested in a copy? 🙂

  17. Excellent post! I came across it in the Carnival of the Feminists, and decided to blog my response. Won’t repost the whole of it here, because it’s miles long, but in a nutshell, my answer (and i am a feminist woman) to your question of “is there a place for feminist men in feminism?” is a resounding YES.

    –IP

  18. Dora

    Yes, John, I’m interested. Can I get it from you next week when I’m down in the OC?

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