I live in liberal Boulder, Colorado. No, that’s not right, because that understates just how liberal it is here in my little college town just thirty minutes from Denver. We’re actually ranked one of the five most liberal-friendly cities in the United States. To be fair, I consider myself mostly a liberal Democrat and am accused of being the “L” word all the time when I’m away from the Boulder bubble. But in Boulder, you can’t be too liberal; around here, people see me as a conservative, of all things. Most odd.
It’s the same with being a man and a feminist. I’m all for equal rights, equal pay, self-determinism and all of that, whether someone’s male, female, white, black, gay, transgender or an alien from Planet X. Honestly, it’s hard for me to understand why anyone wouldn’t support equal pay and equal rights.
Back in the 1960s, advocating for equal rights would have given me the right to wear a “feminist” button and I would have gotten zero pushback. Heck, I’d have been celebrated as an enlightened man. Add to that my support for minority rights as a white man? Another button, and this time a high five for being one of the good guys.
That’s unlikely to happen today. Feminism hasn’t stood still; the movement has morphed into something that is less about equality and more about the oppression of the group who have historically oppressed women. Namely: men.
Consider the signs from the recent Women’s March on Washington, D.C. (I feel I must say: I loved that tens of thousands of women marched and I completely support them; I have nothing but gratitude for the fact that I live in a country where the march happened, where it was completely legal and, most notably, non-violent).
For many supporters, the march was about gender equality, health care and continued legal rights and protections for historical oppressed minority groups like those who are LGBTQ. That’s all completely in alignment with my own beliefs and concerns and I’ve got their backs.
Unfortunately, a lot of the women at the march didn’t stop there. One big issue that the feminist agenda has assumed is abortion rights. If you’re not an abortion supporter, whether veiled in the rhetoric of “pro-choice” or not, you’re not a feminist. In fact, there were feminists who were asked not to participate in the march because they were pro-life.
So what are the key feminist beliefs in 2017? Feminist.org explains that while the group’s slogan is “political, economic and social equality for all” the tenets of the group include “safe, legal and accessible abortion”, “preservation of the environment [including] elimination of chemical and nuclear weaponry” and, the one that bothers me the most, support for “workers collective bargaining”.
Now I’m not a fan of nuclear weapons, but why are environmental issues, abortion and support of unions (which implies that factory owners and other people in management roles are the enemy) added to the principles of the group? These don’t sound like feminist views as much as the basic platform of the Democratic Party, particularly its more liberal constituents.
Add to that the fact that feminists now promote the ridiculous notion that all men are potential rapists, that we spend our days wallowing in “male privilege” (when those of us who are white are not also enjoying our “white privilege,” that is). Are you a white male? You’re the scum of the Earth. So much for equality and inclusiveness.
So what’s a white male liberal who supports gender and race equality to do when I’m not in perfect alignment with the staunch feminist agenda? I’m just going to stick with my own values and beliefs. I will try to be okay with being labeled as someone who isn’t really a feminist and is just enjoying my white, male privilege.
But it’s too bad that that is what feminism has become. It’s always better to hear the cares, concerns and beliefs of the other side than to vilify them and shut down the dialogue. If someone asks me if I’m a feminist, given what feminism represents today, I’m afraid I’ll have to say no.