Feminism F.A.Q.s: Can Men Be Feminists?

by | June 6, 2012
filed under Feminism

Feminism FAQs Title Screenby Jarrah Hodge

Can men be feminists? That’s the question I try to take on in my latest Feminism F.A.Q.s video.

There’s nothing in the definition of feminism that says no, but it can be a bit touchy, so here are some guidelines for men getting involved with feminist organizing, as well as some suggestions for how men can help feminist goals.

Read the full transcript after the jump and suggest other questions, myths, or issues in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Jarrah Hodge, writer and editor at Gender Focus, a Canadian feminist blog. Welcome to Feminism F.A.Q.s, where I try to answer questions and clear up myths about feminism.

Today, can men be feminists?

As far as I’m concerned, the answer is yes, as long as you’re a man who both believes in women’s equality and is working to support this equality. As I said in a previous video, feminism is about ending sexism and inequality. There’s nothing in the definition that says men can’t be feminists.

However, some feminists do get uncomfortable with men using the “feminist” label, because it can be seen as co-opting women’s struggle. If you’re a man working with feminist individuals or groups, you might want to consider calling yourself “pro-feminist” or a “feminist ally” instead. But when in doubt, just ask respectfully.

If you do feel inclined to call yourself a feminist, pro-feminist, or feminist ally, just take a minute to think about it to make sure it’s not just a term you’re throwing out there to mask the fact that you might practice some sexist behaviour or that you benefit from gender inequality.

There are lots of great things men can do to practice and promote feminism. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Challenge images of traditional manhood and support other men who are challenging them. A good way to do this is to take a look at what’s considered socially acceptable for boys and men.

2. Consider feminist issues when deciding who to vote for.

3. Listen to women’s voices and take their leadership in feminist organizations.

4. Make your support public. Write letters to the editor or blog posts or tweets.

5. Talk to other men about the importance of issues like ending violence against women and treating women with respect, and call other men out on sexist comments

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