I ran across this post on Feministe while clicking through blogrolls¹. While the post is a fairly unremarkable reflection on dating a hetero guy (after years of relationships with female and transgendered partners) and said hetero guy’s open embrace of feminism, many of the commenters’–er–“skeptical” comments made me wince:
And yes, I’ve seen this. We’ve all seen it, repeatedly, if we’re honest. And maybe it’s just that that pathetically grateful relief that women can act out when we’re confronted with one man who seems even halfway not-a-shithead illustrates like nothing else just how very, truly fucked we are by this society. Christ, we meet one guy who WON’T defend gang-rape and might be talked out of thinking that all rape victims are lying, drunk sluts, and we fucking capsize ourselves kissing his goddamned ass. It’s that bad. IT’S THAT BAD. THIS SOCIETY REALLY IS JUST THAT BAD.
I know sometimes hyperbole tends to have it’s own momentum. But gang-rape-defending momentum? Who is seriously going to defend gang rape? Oh, you mean the Duke lacrosse rape case? Yeah, no–pick something else.
More on the topic of men as potential feminists or feminist allies:
It’s not that I doubt that men being feminists can be within the realm of possibility, it’s just that I highly doubt it considering that this culture has raised them since infancy to believe the gospel of misogyny (Hell, many women spew misogynistic slurs and assumptions so casually they don’t even question it and when anyone does, they become defensive). There’s always this line–usually when it comes to rape–that even the most liberal men state that women are to blame for the feelings and actions of men
Maybe I watched too much Sesame Street or Mr. Rodgers growing up, but I’m not so much for the gospel of misogyny (although sitting in Women Studies 100 and realizing my father listened to more female musicians than I did was a bit disconcerting). And although having all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD is not a “get out of patriarchal privilege” free card, dammit, I want some credit².
I thought we were past the question of “can men be feminists” after the Second Wave. Yes, we can be feminists, it just turns out there aren’t as many as we’d like. Or perhaps your definition of feminist is a tad stringent.
¹ No, I didn’t have anything better to do. Lay off.
² Perhaps towards a Buffy Season 8 trade paperback?