lip top 10: male feminists
I know when I think of male feminists that first image conjured in my head is that picture of Bill Bailey wearing a t-shirt that says ‘This is what a feminist looks like’. Then I scrub that image out of my head and replace it with this list: the top 10 men for the ladies.
Perhaps one of the first to do so, Plato advocated for equality in his dialogue ‘The Republic’. Published around 380BC, the text suggests that a state where women received the same education and opportunities to participate in state activities would be ideal. Not that it really changed anything, but it was a nice thought on Plato’s behalf.
Around 411BC Aristophanes’ play, Lysistrata, was first performed, and it sent the ultimate “screw you” to men. It’s ironic that I’ve chosen the term “screw you” because that is the last thing that was happening in this play. Fed up with the Peloponnesian War, Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sex until the men negotiate peace.
3. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Mr Agrippa here wrote a little book in the 16th century called ‘Superiority of the Female Sex’. Look, I can’t say I’ve read it, but I think I can take a pretty good guess at what it’s about.
4. John Stuart Mill
In 1869 Mill published an essay entitled ‘The Subjection of Women’, in which he argued against the legal oppression of women and pointed out the obvious – that men didn’t know what women were capable of because they wouldn’t let the women try.
5. Jules Allix
Allix was the inspiration for the creation of the Comité des Femmes de la Rue d’Arras (Women’s Committee of the Rue d’Arras) (I hope Rue d’Arras doesn’t require further translation because Google can’t provide that). Basically the group empathised with the rights of women, but didn’t achieve much more. Points for trying, nonetheless.
6. Charles Fourier
Fourier was a French philosopher who in the 19th century actually coined the term “feminist”. He believed that the development of civilisation was directly related to how liberated its women were, and argued that social progress could only take place if women were treated as equals.
7. William Mouton Marston
This guy created Wonder Woman because, ‘Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power.’ Although I bet the dollar signs were part of his inspiration too.
8. Vojt?ch Náprstek
During the 19th century the Czech born Náprstek spent ten years living in America, and saw a great difference between the education levels of the women there and in his nation of origin. When he returned to Prague he founded the American Ladies’ Club which offered lectures every Sunday morning on topics such as medicine, biology, philosophy, history and women’s emancipation. The lectures continued for almost 20 years and were free for the women to attend, with men only being allowed to listen from the lobby.
9. Thomas Sankara
Sankara was the President of Burkina Faso from 1983-1987. He was the first African leader to recruit women for the military, and the first to appoint women to high-level cabinet positions. His government also banned female genital mutilation, forced marriage and polygamy. He promoted contraception and a woman’s right to work outside the home and remain in the school while pregnant. He even suggested that men should prepare a meal themselves to see what women go through.
10. Barack Obama
Not an obvious inclusion, I know, but after Todd Akin’s comments about legitimate rape, Obama came out with this little beauty: ‘So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.’ Right on.