Can Men Really Be Feminists? The Men Who Say “Yes” Give Compelling Reasons Why


Can men truly be feminists? From the outside, given how problematic the word seems to be in society today, it could be hard to give a clear answer. But when you look at the definition – the social, political and economic equality of the sexes – it’s a no-brainer. Nevertheless, since there is plenty of myth and misconceptions floating around about the movement, it is important for every feminist, not just women, to speak just as loudly about why they believe in fighting for equality.

In a recent blog post for The Good Men Project, a website started in 2009 as a way to redefine 21st century masculinity, writer Jay LeBlanc who focuses mainly on sex and relationships on his own blog, gave some pretty compelling reason why he is a feminist and why it is important to him.

“Until recently it hadn’t occurred to me that I need to explain why I’m a feminist, but reading through some extremely deluded material on the internet has made me worried that mainstream culture doesn’t understand who male feminists are and what we’re doing,” he begins.

He goes on to explain that feminism for him isn’t necessarily a political decision, he doesn’t feel it is a threat in any way to his masculinity, he doesn’t do it to be progressive or trendy, and he certainly doesn’t do it because he thinks it is about women being better than men.


“The feminism I believe in advocates for gender equality—not female superiority. It argues that we should all be who we really want to be rather than what we’re told to be or what our ancestors were. It allows men and women to be best friends and partners rather than first and second in command,” he said.

Jay believes feminism at its core allows people to understand, empathize and accept those who are different from us, and also allows people to define themselves away from harmful societal norms. This is especially true about masculinity, and the standards men are expected to live up to, an issue not always discussed as much as harmful ideals about women.

“Through the eras, gender conditioning has harmed men as much as it has women. Men have been taught to suppress, repress, and despise their own feelings. They have been trained to fight and to kill and to die. They have been taught to dominate and control their families creating fear and a loveless resentment towards them. They have been conditioned to believe that their opinions were facts and that contrary opinions were attacks rather than collaboration. They have been taught that their passion, imagination, domesticity were at best a diversion, but more probably a weakness,” he said.


Jay isn’t the only guy looking to express a 21st century view on being a male feminist, and one of the biggest reasons why love the men who are speaking out, is that it adds to the idea of intersectional feminism, a term coined by scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in the 1980s, which includes LGBT issues, race issues, disability issues and more. We dare say this should include damaging notions about masculinity too in order for both men and women to better understand the need to work alongside each other in the fight for gender equality.

Over in New Zealand, writer Joshua Drummond shared his views in a very matter-of-fact manner to his audience, starting off by pointing out the obvious associations with men who are willing to call themselves feminists – “Men who call themselves feminists must be whipped, or cuckolded, or otherwise defective.”

Not true, he says, then proceeds to explain how male privilege sometimes dictates misconceptions about the movement and forces some men to think they cannot be feminists. He also brilliantly points out that many of the men’s rights activists who claim feminists are the “problem” don’t realize that it is historical patriarchal domination that is really the problem, even today.


“The saddest thing about men’s rights is that a lot of the blokes who get caught up in it (often over things like custodial rights to children in divorce cases) are blaming feminism for their woes, when a lot of their problems stem from society’s misogyny. The idea that women are inherently better placed to look after children comes straight from the minds of dudes who don’t know better. See also: men who are suffering from depression, who have been told throughout their lives that it’s not okay to talk about what’s going on in their heads. The suicide rate for men is appalling, and I think it’s fair to blame at least some of this on the way that men are endlessly told that things like sharing problems or expressing emotions are feminine traits – and are, as such, undesirable,” he writes.

Joshua believes the “age-old social order” manifests itself in many ways in society, from the way the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ character Rey was excluded from all merchandising and every day sexist jokes about women, to the wage gap and the high rate of domestic violence in New Zealand.

The best part of his article is how he zeroes in on the “extreme” feminists, who often are the ones who get most of the spotlight in the media when it comes to attacking feminism in general.


“Sure, there are plenty of women, and possibly just as many men, who use feminism as an ideological cudgel with which to bludgeon people and earn social status. But this is hardly restricted to feminists. You can find any number of examples of this sort of thing – just replace ‘feminism’ with, let’s say, ‘atheism’ or ‘Christianity’. So, here’s an idea. Ignore these people. They’re dicks. What they do doesn’t invalidate what feminism stands for at all. If we judged every movement by the worst of its adherents, there’d be nothing left to believe in,” he said.

This is the type of male ally we need in the feminist movement – someone who fundamentally understands what it is about and how to strip away the superficial and incorrect misconceptions about modern feminism. Just like Emma Watson’s call to men to stand alongside women in the fight for gender equality in her He For She campaign launch speech, Joshua wants to tell his fellow brethren that feminism is for them too.


“I think we’re more needed than ever. Not as white knights charging about with helpful explanations of how to do feminism right or better, but to use some mental muscles, pick up shovels and help level the gender playing field. For women to get the vote, men had to be on board. And all that took was agreeing with the idea that women are people too…If you think that women are human – that they deserve exactly the same rights and opportunities as men, then congratulations. Female or male, you’re a feminist,” he concludes.

But hey, these are just two opinions. If you want to see more perspectives, take a look at this great video from Buzzfeed, where men on the streets of Los Angeles were interviewed about feminism. It’s sad to see so much misinformation continuing to spread, which is why we need more men speaking about how feminism can benefit them just as much as women.

Watch below:


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