The “feminist agenda” is one that men seem to hate. I get it, equality is a scary thing. For so long, men have been controlling what we do with our bodies and when we’re allowed to show them, and it must be terrifying to see us reclaim them like this.
Emma Watson’s United Nations campaign, He For She, asks men to commit to “[taking] action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls”. However, making men the champions in this scenario by giving them a platform on which to declare their endorsement of feminism undeniably undermines the work that actual women are doing to achieve equal rights. Though it may be a good natured concept, there are plenty of ways to support women without proclaiming male affirmation of the feminist movement. Here’s 5.
- Support female authors. Buy their books. Read their books. Learn what it’s like to be a woman from actual women. And when you’re done, share their books and thoughts, not what you took away from their books. We don’t need to know what you “think” of feminism, we need you to share what women think needs to be done to achieve equality. Use your platform to share the sentiments of women, not your own sentiments about women. A few authors to get you started are Rebecca Solnit, Roxane Gay, and Yona Harvey.
- Stop making comments about women based on what they’re wearing. Slut shaming and victim blaming helps approximately zero. When a woman is raped, what she was wearing doesn’t matter. If you have a girlfriend, you do not get to dictate what she wears. Your opinion of a woman should not be based on her outfit.
- Make sure that your support is inclusive of WoC and the LGBTQ+ community. The most important thing that feminism needs to be is intersectional. The $0.70 to the dollar statistic that you hear is the statistic for white women. Hispanic women make $0.55 to every dollar that a white man makes. Black women make $0.60 to the white man’s dollar (Source). Additionally, if you are homophobic or transphobic, feminism is not for you. If you can’t be inclusive of the minority women of the world, your support will not be helpful.
- Stop with the “Not All Men”. If you are going to support feminism, you are going to do it wholeheartedly. You aren’t going to get offended when women express their grievances, because, frankly, you don’t fully understand what they are. So when women do have grievances to express, you do not get to refute them, you have no business doing so.
- Don’t expect anything in return. Being a feminist does not mean you are worthy of praise. In all honesty, it’s something every decent human being should be on board with. You aren’t special because you see women as equals. At the end of the day, you’re still making more money because of something as arbitrary as what body parts you were born with.
In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to support women without making it about you. And obviously there are more than just this. If you want to be a feminist, try one of these instead of simply tweeting a hashtag proclaiming your approval of the movement, that’s honestly the last thing we need.