I was listening to a man that I heard was a feminist. His name is Michael Kimmel. according to his bio on one of his many websites he is “among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity (1987), Men Confront Pornography (1990), The Politics of Manhood (1996), The Gender of Desire (2005) and The History of Men (2005). His documentary history, “Against the Tide: Pro-Feminist Men in the United States, 1776-1990” (Beacon, 1992), chronicled men who supported women’s equality since the founding of the country. This “inspiring, pathbreaking collection of remarkable documents” (Dissent) was also called “meticulously researched” (Booklist) and a “pioneering volume” which “will serve as an inspirational sourcebook for both women and men.” (Publishers’ Weekly).

When asked if he was a feminist he said, “No. I believe I am pro feminist, but because I’m not a woman I can not be a feminist.”

I was shocked…being a man who proudly calls himself a feminist. However, as I and a group of women spoke to Michael I got a very interesting education I’d like to share with you….

As a man I can look at the violence against women and get physically sick. I can look at the staggering cases of rape and the even more staggering cases of rape that aren’t reported and wilt in knowing that men cause these numbers and statistics. As a man I can look at the violence that my gender creates and be sickened and sad. As a man I can look at the millions of women being abused throughout the states and know that it has to stop. I can watch congress try to regulate what a woman can do with her body and what a man is allowed to do to her, and shake my head in disbelief. I can watch as needed money to help the survivors and prevent the violence is given to war efforts and ways of exerting power and control over other countries.

BUT

I can’t truly understand what it is like to be a woman. I can’t truly understand what it is like to be a woman growing up in the united states. I can’t truly feel what it’s like to be a woman watching her fellow sisters be told that they are fat, ugly, worthless, etc. I can’t truly understand what it’s like to have a vagina and all the other trials and tribulations that go with it. I can’t truly understand what a woman feels like when she is yelled at by a passing car and knowing that this has been going on for decades in her life. I can’t know the fear that a woman has as she stands in the lighted hallway in front of a dark parking garage and knowing this is the only way home and it may be the end of her life as she knows it. I can’t feel the historic destruction of the female gender that every woman sees as she goes through school. I will never know the constant bad lines and octopus hands that most woman have to grow up dealing with or how that shapes her life in the future.  However…I do know this is only the beginning of the long list of persecutions women deal with on a daily basis.

These feelings and this knowledge is what has birthed feminism.

Though men can not feel what it’s really like…we can’t turn our head.

So no..we aren’t feminsist…we are pro-feminism.

We are the ones that are changing the way women are seen.

We must understand that patriarchy is real, and we as men can use it to change the way women are seen.

 

 

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