Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feminist Man in the Midwest

That sentence describes me. I can not say that this was always the case, but I can say that I've acquired the wisdom to call myself a feminist for a couple years now. I don't particularly feel like describing my journey into feminism, but after a brief conversation at the skeptical conference I want to outline why I'm a feminist.

In the first place feminism is not some monolithic man-hating organization. Anyone reading this probably already knows that, but I frequently here it described that way. There is a considerable amount of diversity within feminism and what it means to be a feminist. I honestly can't even claim to have an expert understanding of all feminist positions. I can only claim that I think strict gender roles and expectations can be harmful to individuals, and that I choose to help establish gender equality in my day-to-day life (as that's where it really begins).

So what does all that entail? For me, it just involves speaking up and asking questions. There are a lot of mores and folkways that strike me as silly and outmoded, but I would like to replace those social constructions with better ones. So I question norms in the hopes of finding better answers. Feminism encompasses some moral positions that anyone ought to defend, like rape prevention, access to birth control, and pay equality. Nobody argues against these things (well, OK, there are a few who argue against birth control, but it's nonsensical). I've argued against feminism without realizing the contradiction. But feminism, as a philosophical position, is beneficial to both men and women: It puts our social expectations in human terms, general terms that can be fulfilled by anyone in spite of their sex. I think that this more general formulation helps us to respect each other as humans, which is really what I think feminism is all about. There may be general sexual trends within a population, but we ought to also find ways to encompass those who don't follow those trends. Feminism is one of those answers.

Feminism can cover a host of issues and topics, none of which I am an expert on, but most of which I find interesting and enjoy discussing and reading about. I tend to approach feminism more from a male perspective, and think that the social expectations of men can be harmful and should therefore be questioned. (shocking, I know, seeing as I'm male).

1 comment:

  1. Not at all shocking that you take this approach; if only more men would. It's damn hot! Thank you for getting these thoughts out there - it is appreciated :)