Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I love male feminists

I'm going to start bringing props---books, pins, t-shirts, you name it---to dinner parties. I can't go anywhere without accidentally getting into conversations in which I end up getting teased and harassed for being a feminist. Last night I was a late addition to a close friend's Christmas dinner plans. We were seated at different tables, but when she heard me explaining to the table of eight guests with whom I was sitting (her dad and brother among them) that a lot of intersex babies automatically are assigned a female gender at birth because it's easier to correct a too-long clitoris than a too-short penis I heard her screaming, "Brooke! Stop!" But this conversation DID come out of a conversation about feminism and what I do for a living.

I was the only one at the party willing to say outright that I'm a feminist, even though my friend and her mother and the hostess of the party, and equally or more important, her dad and her boyfriend, are sooooooo feminists. Like far too many people, they just don't know it, or don't own it, because being a feminist means so many bad things to so many people. And it's precisely because female feminists are so often and ridiculously accused of being unwomanly lesbian man-haters that male feminists have to step up to the plate.

The prop idea came to me last night, for several reasons. One of the guests had brought a book in his jacket pocket, which he handed me toward the end of dinner. It was called Everything Men Know About Women. It was a tiny book, retailing at $2.95 (now $4.95), and all its pages were blank. It was silly, and the men at the table thought it was hilarious. At another point in the conversation my friend's mom suggested her husband needed an "I LOVE LESBIANS" t-shirt (the context was actually unoffensive). And if I could tack on a "THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE" t-shirt to boot, that man would be good to go. Because, yes, I want women to profess their feminism, but I want men to own it too. Only when men start owning their feminism are things really going to change. Instead, too many men take the offensive. Consider this recent book, Feminists Say the Darndest Things (link intentionally not included), by Mike Adams. A recent review said: "Claiming that 'feminist scholar' is an oxymoron, Adams asserts that feminists have no sense of humor, are the biggest censors on college campuses, lack the courage to act as individuals, engage in 'widespread academic and personal dishonesty' and attempt to solve problems by changing society rather than their own behavior."

Can't wait to read that one.

Meanwhile, fellows, feminists do love men. We just love those of you who have balls enough (penis size inconsequential in this particular area) to engage in meaningful conversation where women are concerned without getting totally offended and freaked out. Poor guys. That blank book really doesn't have to be so funny.


1 comment:

Andie East said...

So last friday at a dinner party I was talking about my job and how one of my books was in Bitch and this guy I'm talking to says, whoa, that must be a pretty harsh magazine. And i Say, no it's just a feminist magazine. And he was like, well that's scary. And I say, NO, it's not, not unless you're afraid of Hairy armpits and castration, and I take a long look at his crotch and he sorta laughs. Then I explain to him, Feminists hating men is so passe, we don't do it anymore. Some of us love men! What we hate are gender stereotypes and inequalities that are still being passed off as accepted fact and behavior norms! We're just trying to educate here, and become a little more self actualized.