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the lip crew on feminist men

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‘Nothing can be more absurd than the practice that prevails in our country, of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus the state, instead of being whole, is reduced to half.’

Well we know what Plato thought about feminist men — but that was some 2000 years ago. We put it to the Lip Crew and here’s what they had to say:

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‘I love a good feminist man. Anything from a concern about the gender divide in income, to an ability to attribute events to something other than “because you’re a woman” makes me happy. He doesn’t have to devote his life to protesting women’s rights, and he’s entitled to make the occasional joke about vaginas (hell, I make the occasional joke about penises). But it’s nice to know that he respects women, he recognises gender equality, and he doesn’t see it as a “battle” of the sexes.’
Michelle See-Tho, Writer

‘I think that men can be feminist in that they can easily take a stand against systems that work to discriminate against women. At the same time, it’s not up to women to make men feel welcome in feminism – some men will feel frightened by it and making feminism seem palatable to everyone would rid it of its zest. But if you’re a man who agrees with feminism, that’s great. Become an ally, protest, call out sexism where you see it, come to events where all are welcome without invading women-only spaces (which are totally crucial given that it’s a man’s world outside those spaces), listen to our experiences, and share your own from a place of humility.’ – Erin Stewart, Literature Editor

‘This desire so many [people] have to label every person immediately as they come upon them, to consider everything, indeed a thing – to narrow them, to render them easier to grasp, to strangle should the need arise – makes any later attempts at conversation regarding the true complexity of relationships between people, stillborn in their very beginnings. Afterward, we then waste precious time arguing about the meaning of these labels, rather than really communicating our frustrations. Both men and women truly suffer, equally, from this short sightedness. It is now widely accepted that gender sensibilities, like all other human qualities, exist as a spectrum on which everyone sits, somewhere. That is all. As for feminist men, I care about them in the way I care about any person – with compassion, curiosity and an attempt at understanding. Here is a quote from Pema Chodron, which answers this question of feminist men perfectly: “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”’ – Audrey K. Hulm, Writer

‘My Dad is a feminist. He has spent the last few months agonising over these lads’ magazines on display in the lunchroom at his work. The magazine is called What Tradies Want, and it features ads for tools and chainsaws with scantily clad women toting them. He is against the normalisation of the objectification of women as well as the homogenisation of who “A Tradie” is (i.e. Blokes). Men like my dad inspire me to believe that feminism is not exclusively for women, because “women’s issues” impact on men as well, and the men who stand up with and for women against sexism are the loveliest of all.’ – Ruby Grant, Writer

‘Maybe we should call it femEnism so the movement encompasses both sexes and no one feels left out. I personally don’t need to change a word; to me, being a feminist means keeping an eye open to the social constructs of gender. It means seeing how expectations of aggression and control can limit guys as much as an anticipation of female passivity can stunt the growth of women. It means understanding the social scripts at work when I see parents scold their little girls for dirtying dresses by climbing trees, and when they are embarrassed because their three-year-old cradles a doll and puts pretty things in his hair. And it means discovering that the media normalises unrealistic bodies for men, too. Men are welcome to feminism. We’ve come so far – now we’ve got our sights set on the roles of women and men.’
– Lou Heinrich, Writer

‘Feminism is about equality – for both men and women. I’ve always been a big supporter of men joining the cause because how could I not want more people to believe in gender equality and feminism? There is often debate about whether or not men should “lead” the feminist cause, and whilst I think those arguments are valid, I don’t think they should negate the importance of both genders working together for equality. Yes, feminism is ultimately a cause for the betterment of women’s lives, but men play a big role in that. And as feminism progresses in the western world, the issues facing women are largely intertwined with issues around gendered norms and values more generally, which definitely also affect men. Breaking down gender barriers can’t occur without input from both men and women. Although I don’t think that whether or not men are feminists is the biggest issue facing feminism by a long shot, I do think that movements for social justice need to be inclusive – the more people fighting the fight, the easier it is to win.’ – Zoya Patel, Editor-in-chief 

‘For some people the concept of a man being a feminist is a weird one, but to me it makes complete sense. I firmly believe men should be feminists; they should care that their female counterparts are oppressed, abused, belittled and stigmatised globally simply because of their gender. Men spring from women so they should be concerned for our welfare! When I see men who fight for women’s rights, I feel that there is still hope in the world that we will one day get it right. Feminism is not a women’s issue, it’s a human issue, and we all need to join together and fight for equality. I applaud feminist men and find them to be rather sexy!’ – Junene Taylor, Columnist

‘I believe there is more than enough room for men in the feminist movement. Whether they call themselves feminists or pro-feminists, it’s important that men who care about gender equality and issues that affect women directly own their position in public spaces whenever possible. The idea that feminism is only about women’s rights and therefore only for women is what keeps the movement stagnant. The world can’t move toward gender equality unless young men are engaged and aware as well, and there are some wonderful men doing great work for equal rights. That said, “awareness” also includes acknowledging privilege and being willing to listen to the women who have been doing this work for generations.’ – Shannon Clarke, Writer

‘If feminism is truly the struggle for equal rights between sexes, then it benefits men as well. In our current climate, some men might feel judged if they choose to stay home with their children, or might feel social pressure to choose traditionally “male” careers instead of “female” domains such as childcare or nursing. These are examples of the patriarchy at work, and yet in these examples it does not benefit men. This is not to say that men face the same level of discrimination as women, or that feminism should work as hard to reduce these inequalities, but the fight for women’s rights does not exist in a vacuum. Women know men; they marry them and raise them and work with them and are friends with them, [so] to exclude them seems counter-productive. It is better for both women and men if we are equal, and I think we should welcome to the cause those special men who can recognise the damage caused by a system [that] usually benefits them.’ – Frances Chapman, Writer

What do you think? Is there any room for men in feminism? Let us know your thoughts below.

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