Posted by: hellonhairylegs | March 4, 2009

Life is strange, ya know?

Every time I hear a dude I know call himself a feminist I wince, think about his past actions and then wish he called himself a feminist ally. On the other hand, the dudes I know who call themselves allies (all three of ’em) are, in my mind, legitimate feminists.



  1. I don’t really get the ‘ally’ thing. Does this mean that they don’t actually believe in, say, equality for women, but are happy to support it for some other reasons? Or is it a secondary concern?

  2. Yep, that’s the thing. The men more genuinely aligned with feminism tend to be more cautious, in my experience.

  3. It means that they respect the women who doubt men can be real feminists. (methinks)

  4. In my mind it’s about, as a by-default member of the oppressor class, not wanting to appropriate the word “feminist”, although I suppose you could argue that if Katie Roiphe and the Pussycat Dolls are using it then it’s not like you can do any more damage. I know what you mean about “Ally” sounding half-hearted, but I do think it’s a more respectful term in a situation like that (same with white people involved in anti-racism, straight people in anti-homphobia etc.).

  5. I think it means they’ve figured out that it isn’t their movement and that they need to let women run it. When I hear a dude call himself a feminist, I’m extremely suspicious, and I’m usually proven right when he starts telling me how to make feminism palatable to men.

  6. M’enemists (or male feminists) fill me with suspicion. I’d rather they just treated women like human beings and didn’t feel the need to big themselves up with a label.

  7. I see it as a nice act of solidarity, as voluntarily given up a little of their male privilege. Each to her own I suppose.

  8. I used to agree with you in regards to solidarity, but over the years I have become very uncomfortable with me claiming the “feminist” label. There are way better ways to support women than appropriating a label, at least in my experience, is more often than not used as a ploy to get laid. Yuck.

    But as you said, to each their own I suppose.

  9. @ zooeyibz (March 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm)

    I have encountered the word femenism as a near synonym to your M’enemist term. I suggest the distinction between the two may be that the latter are the hypocrites and the former are those men involved in feminist movement.

    I admit to using/claiming the term feminist for convenience. Sometimes people need to hear the familiar before branching off into the unknown: e.g. me claiming women are human beings.

    I hope/wish my friends would call me on being hypocritical any time they thought I was behaving so. That feedback would help me continue to grow into a decent human being.

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