I mistakenly called myself a feminist on Feminism, Writing, and Doing Womanhood Wrong. I say it was a mistake, because really, we're not anything- Buddhist, Feminist, Anarchist. And as soon as we say something like that, we make a binary, and you set yourself up to be logically dismantled.
Has anyone ever dismantled you? It hurts!
I wrote too conversationally on her post. I was feeling a very light hearted and very friendly, and I over shared and got was coming- someone wanted to tear me down. A commenter said this:
"Men shouldn’t call themselves feminists. In fact, when you really think about it, they can’t be. Feminism doesn’t fundamentally change a man’s mindset and worldview as it does a woman’s because he simply cannot grasp what it is like to be a woman. If you cannot think about and analyse the world through a female-centered perspective, not only are you unable to fully understand and support the views, experiences, and goals of women, you also cannot possibly have anything of value to contribute to feminism. And that’s why men who invade feminist spaces constantly speak over and silence women, and insult those women they disagree with. Just wait until you see a man trying to call out a woman on her “internalised misogyny,” real or imagined, so that he can be lauded as a ~brave and enlightened~ hero of feminism. I’ve heard it said that men’s reactions to being told that they can’t be feminists justifies their exclusion from both the label and the movement."
Meghan Murphy went on to say this:
"They don’t call themselves feminists. I call them feminist when I talk about them. If my male friends called themselves feminists I would think they were douchebags and definitely not feminist. Actual feminist men don’t go around identifying as feminist — it’s about showing not telling, as far as I’m concerned — though I’m ok with them calling themselves ‘allies’ or whatever…"
What's great about being eviscerated in a comment section is you vow to never be nasty again. I've been critical of a lot on this blog and other blogs, but I've only had my feelings hurt a couple of times. However, on this gutting, my feelings are more than hurt, I feel undermined, dis empowered, othered, and born to lose. Although I was not called directly an invader, a douchebag, and unable to contribute ANYTHING to feminism, it's implied directly in a passive aggressive sting. What's wrong with passive aggressive implications is that they lack the Adrenalin/endorphin rush, which helps you stand under the onslaught of an aggressive-aggressive attack, but includes all of the pain.
And I disagree. I'm not feminist to "analyse the world through a female-centered perspective" but to challenge patriarchy. Can I challenge patriarchy? Everyday. Do I need to? YES! Why is it important to me as a man? Because as bodhisattvas we vow to end greed, hate, and delusion. At the top of this is patriarchy, then capitalism, then ecocide. I don't need to be lauded as a brave and enlightened hero among feminists. I need freedom from the sensation of being alive and having my skin crawl in our samsaric world of suffering. This transformation takes place through the inside and the outside (which is really the inside).
I'm reminded of Derrick Jensen's t-shirt that features a bomb, a wrench, a spray paint can- it represents all tactics, and how a movement can be dismantled from the inside when different factions attack each other instead of a common target. I feel like that's been demonstrated on a micro level here- dismissing would be allies with insults. Maybe a gentle reeducation was called for, but insults? There's nothing to discuss when insults are flying.
And on this question, can men be feminist, a quick search shows it's all about a community's agreement. In my circle, if you want to challenge patriarchy, you can be a feminist. I won't call myself a feminist in other circles where they have a different definition of what being a feminist means. But you can call yourself the Mickey Mouse Club if you want, and as long as you challenge patriarchy, I'm in solidarity with you.