Donate Now
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » How do you tell when a guy is a "feminist"?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: How do you tell when a guy is a "feminist"?
SFgrrrl
Activist
Member # 35244

Icon 1 posted      Profile for SFgrrrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is a question I've had kicking around in my head lately. I've realized more and more that as peoples' ideas all vary, the label "feminist" may not be all that meaningful (although I personally identify w/ it) and that it's not always a comfortable question to ask someone if they are a feminist, when they know their answer matters to you.

So, my discussion topic is actually: what specific things do guys do/say that clue you in to the fact that respect for women and equality of power between the sexes in society and in their relationships is genuinly important to them? I'd like to hear perspectives from both guys and girls, and then maybe I'll contribute some of my own thoughts/experiences.

Posts: 207 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1207

Icon 1 posted      Profile for LilBlueSmurf     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I first knew my husband was a feminist when I heard how he talked about his mother and interacted with her. I think how a man treats his mother (and other female family members) is HUGE as an indication of how he'll treat other women. I also knew that the majority of his friends in high school were women, and I heard how he talked about them and to them as well.

As we got more involved, it was more about how he treated me. I have more schooling and make more money than he does and this doesn't bother him. It doesn't hurt his 'masculinity'. He is pro-choice (this is huge for me, personally). He stands up for children, the elderly, disabled, etc w/o needing prodding to do it. He votes for feminism.

There are just so many things ... I would say that the signs that a man (or person in general) is anti-feminist or anti-woman would be easier to see than those that he is a feminist. Speaking in a negative manner about women (and others) or being anti-choice may be some signs of this.

--------------------
Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

Posts: 7168 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SFgrrrl
Activist
Member # 35244

Icon 1 posted      Profile for SFgrrrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I guess at this point in my life I have to question the whole "if the guy has lots of female friends and respects his mother" thing, only b/c I knew a guy who fit the bill on that, and was still somewhat sexually coercive. (And I dunno... maybe that wouldn't make him /anti-feminist/ but I did feel like that was a respect issue and it bothered me.

The guy I'm dating now also has a lot of female friends. He said something the other day along the lines of "My friend in her late 20s was talking about how she was so much more confident and comfortable in her own skin than she was when she was 20. She doesn't care what others think of her or the way she looks, and she feels free to pursue who/what she wants. And I just thought that was the most incredibly sexy thing..."

I thought that was a pretty cool thing to hear a guy say. Maybe guys say that more as they get older or something, but personally I haven't heard that a lot...

Posts: 207 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
James the Dark
Activist
Member # 32379

Icon 1 posted      Profile for James the Dark     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally, I think that if you really feel you deserve to know, you should be free to ask him. Trust being what it should be, he'll answer you with some degree of honesty.

--------------------
"And you're really asking me if I prefer injury to embarrassment? That's not even a choice. I don't know anybody who's literally died of embarrassment."

People are annoying sometimes.

Posts: 78 | From: Summerside, PEI, Canada | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
plain milyeh
Activist
Member # 32511

Icon 1 posted      Profile for plain milyeh     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
i also think it's somewhat important to note that just because a guy (or anyone) doesn't self-identify as a feminist doesn't mean he doesn't fit *your* definition of one, and is therefore still a totally rad woman-respecting machine.

case in point: my brother. he has some complicated idea that he can't just go around calling himself a feminist, which i really don't understand, but it's very obvious from his words and actions that the views he holds are very much feminist-inspired...which you know, makes sense, 'cause our mom is awesome and taught us well.

so i'd kind of say that--while james is thoroughly right that you should really just ask the dude if you want to know--the simple fact of whether he calls himself a feminist or not is probably a lot less useful a piece of information than those little things he says/does that indicate to you that he might be.

Posts: 108 | From: caaaaanada. ('cause we've got rocks and trees and trees and rocks...) | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Thursday
Neophyte
Member # 36710

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Thursday     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd still want him to have a damn good reason for not calling himself one though. At least, after I'd educated him [Smile]
Posts: 5 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jill2000Plus
Activist
Member # 41657

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jill2000Plus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some guys think that they should call themselves pro-feminist, and that feminist, as a label, is for those who are biologically female... I don't really agree with this, and wonder where the intersexed fit in, but it wouldn't stop me from liking a man.

--------------------
Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
daedalus_rebuked
Neophyte
Member # 34216

Icon 1 posted      Profile for daedalus_rebuked     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the best indicator of how a man feels about women is seen when he's not around women at all. Granted, feminism usually doesn't come up while the boys are having a beer after work. But when it does come up, how firmly does he stand his ground? Does he resist the temptation to dismiss the subject and really try to engage other guys in the discussion?

I guess my point is that, unfortunately, some guys do have a motivation to be insincere about their feminism. It's made even more difficult by the fact that sometimes our motivations are so deeply buried that even we aren't able to acknowledge them, let alone address them.

Having said all that...I grew up and still live in a retirement town. Feminists aren't exactly shouting from the rooftops around here, so it's hard to pick out a feminist out of a crowd. For that matter, its hard to find a crowd.

I couldn't approach it from the perspective of, 'This guy has claimed to be a feminist, I want to know if this guy is legit.' I'd have to approach it as, "Based on his behavior and personality, he seems like an empathetic guy who is concerned about women's issues. He could be more or less accurately labeled as a feminist."

Posts: 26 | From: Southeastern US | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Idir
Activist
Member # 41176

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Idir     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LilBlueSmurf:
I first knew my husband was a feminist when I heard how he talked about his mother and interacted with her. I think how a man treats his mother (and other female family members) is HUGE as an indication of how he'll treat other women. I also knew that the majority of his friends in high school were women, and I heard how he talked about them and to them as well.

As we got more involved, it was more about how he treated me. I have more schooling and make more money than he does and this doesn't bother him. It doesn't hurt his 'masculinity'. He is pro-choice (this is huge for me, personally). He stands up for children, the elderly, disabled, etc w/o needing prodding to do it. He votes for feminism.

There are just so many things ... I would say that the signs that a man (or person in general) is anti-feminist or anti-woman would be easier to see than those that he is a feminist. Speaking in a negative manner about women (and others) or being anti-choice may be some signs of this.

That would totally make me one [Smile]
And also because I identify as one. Like Jill has already mentioned, you don't need to be a biological woman to be a feminist (Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, anyone?) and that you can be a guy AND be for the equality of men and women in society, speak up against misogyny, treat women with respect, and be for reproductive rights, and supporting the advancement of the political agenda bent on the freedom of all.

(Whoever guesses which song the previous sentence comes from gets a cookie [Wink] )

You also don't need to be gay to support LGBT rights just as you don't need to be a minority to speak up against racism. Also, it's not like there isn't any antifeminist women out there. Most of my female friends see feminists as lesbian man-hating radicals.
First, can't they see how much feminism has done for them? Universal suffrage, women's health, equal pay? Hello!
Also, it's not like all women's rights' activists are misandric, or lesbian (even though I can't see what's wrong with that)

--------------------
I know there is an over the rainbow for me.

Posts: 84 | From: Algeria | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
Neophyte
Member # 43197

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Q     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"you don't need to be a biological woman to be a feminist (Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, anyone?)"

um? the michigan womyn's music festival is exclusively for "women born women." meaning cisgendered women and transsexual men. no cisgendered men, but more importantly, transsexual women allowed. it is horrid.

Posts: 3 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
Peer Ambassador
Member # 44338

Icon 1 posted      Profile for moonlight bouncing off water     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What is cisgendered? I have seen it used here a couple of times and it is not in the dictionary! What specifically is it?

Yay feminism!!!! [Wink]

(BTW I get why some women are anti feminist, I was when I was little, but only because I had no idea what feminism actually was. I thought it was the opposite of what it was. So I guess that didn't make me anti feminist, just uninformed.)

--------------------
~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 859 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Cisgender is when the way someone was sexed at birth (as male or female) "matches" or feels like a good fit with the way they choose to identify their gender themselves. For instance, I identify as a woman and my birth certificate also says female, so I'm cisgender.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67055 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
Peer Ambassador
Member # 44338

Icon 1 posted      Profile for moonlight bouncing off water     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh, thank you.

--------------------
~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 859 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Felixosaurus
Activist
Member # 42678

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Felixosaurus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How did I not see this thread earlier?

I think in terms of the original question of who to tell whether or not a man is feminist or believes in the values and principles of feminism is very much an actions speaking louder than words thing.

I know lots of people who preach lip service to a whole bunch of values and beliefs but who demonstrate through their actions that this is a position of convenience, and makes them look "cool" in some way.

It's easy to say you're a feminist. It's harder to call out a bunch of your friends making misogynistic jokes.

--------------------
www.criticalmasculinities.com

Posts: 42 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
branphlake
Neophyte
Member # 35071

Icon 1 posted      Profile for branphlake     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As for the reason why guys may not readily call themselves "feminists," we can look at Penelope Eckert and Sally McConnel-Ginet: "In the US, there have been several studies suggesting that many college students who say that they embrace a basically liberal feminist ideology nevertheless are uncomfortable applying the label feminist to themselves. many of the studies looking at attitudes towards feminism and feminists focus on women. Although many feminisms have room for male feminists, there is a widespread belief that feminists are protypically women and for this and other reasons many fewer men label themselves feminists."

They also go on to talk about how many men will use "I'm not feminist, but..." because they are afraid to call themselves feminist. Another thing to consider is that everyone is feminist - you may be anti-feminist, post-feminist, a first waver, a second waver, etc... there are so many different types that everyone falls into some category. I guess, you just have to ask about his view points and find out if they match with your values, right?

Posts: 23 | From: Boulder, CO | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dusky
Neophyte
Member # 46451

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Dusky     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some men are also afraid of feminism. They don't really know what it is and have only ever seen it stereotyped as angry man-haters with hairy legs, so even if they are feminist, they can't identify themselves as one.

I remember listening to a boy at my uni talking to one of our male tutors about how he shouldn't have to go to a feminism tutorial, because that was sexist. He was flabbergasted when the tutor told him he was a feminist and that one of the reasons he needed to go to the tutorial was because he felt threatened by it.

Posts: 8 | From: The land of milk and honey! | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Callie_Cat_09
Neophyte
Member # 51438

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Callie_Cat_09     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since I've started openly calling myself a feminist (I haven't really changed my views, just educated myself [Smile] ), my boyfriend has decided that he's an 'antifeminist', because all feminists are evil and are out to ruin the lives of men, which is wrong because men have it WAY worse than women. And a lot of other rubbish he's picked up from anti-feminism sites. make me sad. I'm not saying I want him to change his views, just to accept that mine are not about to change /rant

--------------------
~Callie

Posts: 11 | From: England | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jill2000Plus
Activist
Member # 41657

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jill2000Plus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dusky:
Some men are also afraid of feminism. They don't really know what it is and have only ever seen it stereotyped as angry man-haters with hairy legs, so even if they are feminist, they can't identify themselves as one.

What's actually wrong with being a woman or biologically female and having hairy legs? It is not a threat to men for women to not look conventionally attractive. Not that I've never heard feminists say things that are genuinely threatening to men (like wanting to cut off rapists' dicks/balls as a punishment instead of/in addition to jailing them, I have occasionally heard this), but women who don't wear bras/have body hair/are fat/are lesbians/use vibrators/don't wear pink/don't wear heels... are not threatening men by doing/being so. The face of feminism should not have to be conventionally attractive, feminine, straight and penis-vagina intercourse loving.

--------------------
Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3