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How do we encourage the men we care about to care about feminism?

Recently, several male friends of mine have gotten involved in Women’s Studies classes and other class discussions that involve feminism, and a few have mentioned that they have felt alienated or attacked in such classes because they are male. I have not been in the same classes, so I can’t say first-hand what is going on, but I worry that a feminism defined as women versus men is denying itself many more potential supporters than a movement defined as feminists versus anti-feminists.

As a person with white and economic privilege, I also recognize that my friends’ apprehension to call themselves feminists could have something to do with the difficulties of recognizing and disassembling male privilege in a society that strongly encourages privileged groups to ignore the unfair advantages they receive as members of that group. While acknowledging and disassembling privilege is small compared to the challenges faced by those without privilege, I suspect it will be to feminism’s advantage to help men and other privileged groups recognize and confront privilege in a way that is open and includes them. 

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