I just read an excellent article, So You Want to Be a Male Feminist? Here Are 11 Simple Rules to Follow: A Beginners Guide for Men, by Derrick Clifton on mic.com/identities. Clifton is a Staff writer covering identity, culture and politics
Briefly reflecting on the many male celebrities who have “come out” as feminists on the heels the new #HeForShe and #ItsOnUs campaigns, Clifton acknowledges that there is a place for male allies in the movement for gender equality. However, he reminds all men that they should educate themselves about the history of the women’s movement; listen to and respect the authority of women’s experience in setting an action agenda for change; take responsibility for educating other men about gender equality; and to step back and learn to follow women’s leadership.
I encourage men and women alike to read this article to grasp the full, nuanced agenda that Clifton puts forth, instead of my brief synopsis. I introduced readers to his piece to add a few more simple rules that men who wish to be feminist allies can incorporate into their everyday personal lives and encourage other men to follow as well.
1. Stop playing video of games that justify violence and sexual assault against women. We can’t have gender equality and at the same time pretend to rape, beat and murder women as a form of entertainment.
2. Stop singing along with, dancing to and buying music and music videos that glorify the sexual objectification of women, glamorize pimps and refer us as “bitches” and “ho’s.” We can’t have gender equality and at the same time denigrate and dehumanize women in music.
3. Stop economically supporting the commercial sexual exploitation of women. Here’s what that looks like: Stop going to strip clubs. Stop buying pornography. Stop buying women for sex. Each of these multibillion dollar businesses are driven by economic social and economic inequality between men and women. Each is compounded by racism and sexism. Each is the result of exploitation, coercion and outright violence. We cannot have gender equality if women are reduced to objects in the market place to be bought and sold for sex.
One more thing: stop making excuses for yourself and other men who undermine gender equality by availing themselves of male privilege by engaging in these behaviors.