In my opinion, the only thing more tiresome than a conversation about women identifying as feminists is one about men doing so. But after Pharrell said he doesn’t “think it’s possible” for him to be a feminist since he’s a dude — and in the wake of #notallmen, #yesallwomen, and #allmencan — The New York Times is (as always) asking the
tough obvious questions: “Is it possible to be a male feminist?”
I think it’s probably clear what my answer is. Though I agree with Alexandra that disrupting patriarchy means men will have to give up power they currently take for granted — a project that many might not be on board with — I’m of the bell hooks “feminism is for everybody” school. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or comfortable — but then, if we’re doing it right, it shouldn’t be for anyone.
Somewhere between the two extremes of “Being a feminist is a piece of cake! You just have to believe!” and “No men allowed!” there are plenty of guys who are just quietly doing the hard work of learning about gender inequality and doing what they can to help end it. Here are a few of them — seniors in Ileana Jiménez’s high school feminism class — talking about what feminism means to them.
Transcript below with many thanks to commenter Zed!
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.