These Men Were Asked If They Call Themselves Feminists. Here’s How They Responded


In case you hadn’t heard, there are people in the world who don’t call themselves a feminist, but when they list all the things they do stand for, they basically describe feminism to a tee. The fact that there are so many people scared of the world, but wholeheartedly believe in what it stands for, means there needs to be a massive publicity overhaul of the movement. Blogs like ours work hard everyday to ensure the proper definition is shared on a daily basis.

Video content sharing site Upworthy decided they too wanted to help the cause of feminism and embarked on a fun experiment on the streets of New Orleans.

They asked a group of men what the definition of feminism was, and then asked them whether they would call themselves feminist. To their credit, the majority of men (obviously they only included the most awesome dudes ever) agreed that women deserved equality. But when asked if they would identify as a feminist, most said no. Why? Because the majority of them didn’t seem to actually know what a feminist was.

The Upworthy interviewer then explained to each of them that it means equality for women, the very same things they were agreeing with in the first part of the video.

“If that’s the definition of feminist then I’ll be a feminist because I have strong beliefs about everyone being equal,” said one young man. Now we’re talking!

“From now on I’m going to label myself a feminist,” says another more older man who laughed when he was told that the definition of a feminist was everything he was previously describing.

It’s a fun video experiment and definitely more on the light-hearted side as far as feminism discussions go. But engaging men in the equality conversation is a crucial part of advancing gender equality. It is something Emma Watson outlined in her now-famous UN Women ‘He for She’ speech which went viral in September 2014.

But how do you get men to be part of the conversation in the first place? As you can see from this video, there are so many who don’t necessarily understand that it is about equality for both sexes.

One study suggests more male public figures and celebrities could help, such as Ryan Gosling.

Two PhD students at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada were studying the cultural impact of memes and whether exposure to them could influence feminist attitudes and beliefs.

Sarah Sangster and Linzi Williamson chose to focus on the uber popular feminist Ryan Gosling memes which have become internet sensations thanks to the Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr which was launched in 2011.

They conducted an experiment with 99 students in which they showed half the students a series of feminist Ryan Gosling memes (the experimental group) and the other half images of Gosling with no superimposed text (the control group).

They then asked all participants to fill in a survey about their attitudes to feminist ideas and were asked whether or not they self-identify as a feminist.


The results were surprisingly conclusive. Sarah and Linzi found that members of the experimental group were considerably more likely to endorse feminist principles after seeing the images of Gosling endorse them. The researchers tested both radical feminist ideas and social feminist ideas, and found the experimental group was considerably more likely to endorse both when compared to those who had not seen the memes.

While women in the control group already scored relatively highly when it came to endorsing feminist ideas, men in the control group returned average results. Overall, the majority of men in the control group did not endorse the feminist notions they were asked about. But the men who had seen the Gosling memes responded very, very differently.

“We saw this pop culture phenomenon that many people dismissed,” said Sarah in an interview. “But maybe they also have an important effect.”

The girls told Huffpost Women that of course the study is not conclusive and more in-depth research would have to be done. But it shows the significant cultural impact public role models can have. For us we see this as another confirmation of why more celebrity role models should be using their platforms to speak up for important causes.

Men have to encourage and affirm each other when it comes to matters of equality and not be afraid to lead by example. Sure we all wish Ryan Gosling was actually walking around in real life saying all the empowering things written on the Tumblr memes, but it will take everyday men in society impacting their own social networks to create cultural change.




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  2. Pingback: Can Men Really Be Feminists? The Men Who Say "Yes" Give Compelling Reasons Why - GirlTalkHQ

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