Men can be feminists, too

Men need to be more active within the feminist movement

Men are perfectly capable of being feminists, but if they want the ability to label themselves as such, they need to be active in the movement and help it progress. 

On campus, this idea is particularly important because the younger generation is partially responsible for changing minds. In the digital age, our generation has been exposed to many facets of injustices, and this makes all of us want to bring about change.

There has been a recent spike in controversy surrounding feminists and their actions, but the core values of feminism remain the same.

Men can be active within the feminist movement by doing something as simple as holding their friends accountable.

What do I mean by this? Men need to start calling their friends out when they make sexist, racist and rape jokes. These topics are never funny. If they are truly your friends they will try to see your perspective and hopefully won’t make jokes on that topic again.

Working against your own biases is another way to be active within the movement.

“I am a man that still benefits from the patriarchy,” Brian Badahdah, former co-media chair of Women as Hero, said. 

Badahdah recognizes that as a male he benefits from the patriarchal world that we live in.

patriarchy is a social system or government that is predominantly controlled by men in power. It is when men are the main beneficiaries to progress. 

“You can define yourself as a feminist, but what does that mean?” Badahdah said.

Badahdah raised an interesting point. Being a feminist is about equal rights for all people, but how does labeling yourself as such affect the movement? It doesn’t. 

It takes going to the marches, going to the Women as Hero events on campus, getting involved and talking about it.

Inform your male friends about what they are saying and how it could potentially offend someone. It is also important to educate male colleagues and friends on the difference between feminism and misandry

Most men think that women who are feminists are misandrist. While there are some extremists out there, this is not true for the majority. Misandry is contempt toward males — however, feminism is love and equal rights for men and women. 

We need men to be an ally to the movement and help us move forward. Men need to start educating themselves and their friends on women’s rights and think of ways to help.

“I don’t want to take up that space and make it about me,” Badahdah said. “It’s not about me, it’s about women, and they should be at the center.”

When we look at feminism, we see that there are a variety of genders and races that represent it. There isn’t one woman that can speak for the rest.

Maybe some women don’t want to admit it, but we need men and their way of thinking to change in order to progress.

Men can be hurt from the patriarchal world too. Some men are emotionally stunted by this system. For example, being told to “man up” and to never show emotions can harm a man's self esteem and personal relationships. 

I understand that men can be harmed by this system. However, their oppression is linked to the oppression of women because patriarchy is a lose-lose situation. This isn't to say they can't be an active participant of the feminist movement. 

Right now, we need men to recognize their privilege and become active proponents of the advancement of women’s rights before they label themselves as feminists. 

Reach the columnist at or follow @serena_mart on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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