Imagine my surprise, yet another dudebro thought I was doing feminism wrong. He sparked a revision of my doctrine for dealing with teenage boys. Let’s face it, even when patriarchy warps everything, the facts and stats are on our side, and feminists are right most of the time (which isn’t to say our way of looking at the issue is the only right one). Trapping men with statistics or with the simple question “Do you believe women are fully human?” may get grudging admissions, but it isn’t an effective way for me to communicate my ideas.
- Engage (insomuch as possible) on my own terms. If I don’t have the mental strength to deal with it, it isn’t my job to exhaust myself to educate someone else how to be a decent human being. I’m tired of feminists being treated like we’re outsourced labourers for caring about women (See a good take down of this foolishness here). I have a finite amount of time and if someone wants me to raise awareness about rape tourism in Thailand or Sharia law in the Middle East, then they can damn well do it themselves (and they don’t even have to join the uber special feminist club to do it).
- Make it clear this is not about him. Feminism is a broad movement based around women’s liberation and equality. It is not a movement to attack or hurt men. (Yes, it is an issue about their mothers and sisters, but also their neighbours and friends.)
- Except when it is. Take a look at this promotional poster.
This is insulting to just about everyone. Feminism fights to break down these ugly stereotypes and, coincidentally, help everyone reach for more of their human potential. There is a place within feminism for men who help break down the toxic effects of masculinity, and who speak to other men about it.
And most importantly,
4. Walk away if I need to. No one can make someone else care.