An Open Letter To Lazy Feminist Men

You don’t get a free pass to “Feminism Land” because you read the same ‘zines we do.

Your feminism is only as effective as you are receptive to the women in your own life. 

In the feminist community, we have a habit of celebrating men who seem “woke” to issues of Feminism and Social Justice at large. The more privileged he is, the lower the standards are placed.

This is completely understandable. In the wake of events like Roosh V & his almost-meetings, the ongoing battle against bro-movies using trans women as punchlines, and pretty much anything spewed out of the lips of Donald Trump, we take what we can get.

We settle for little. We grasp for straws. In a society that continues to commodify women and place their “market value” on how much they fantasize about us, it's good when a man is able to step out of that and realize, “Oh, wait — women are PEOPLE.”

It’s not, however, exceptional.  It’s simple decency. 

For all the bullshit I deal with, I remain a white, cisgender, able-bodied woman. Because of this, my own social justice is bound to have blind spots. I’m not ashamed to admit that some of my first lessons in understanding cultural appropriation, intersectionality, privilege, and reverse discrimination fallacy were bestowed upon me by men.

Would I do the White girl thing, and belligerently pout at first?  Admittedly, yes. Because no one — OK, a lot of us don’t — likes being told they have work to do when they fancy themselves as being “progressive."

Then I shut up. I realized I was wrong. I realized I had work to do. So I made an effort to listen, learn, and improve. 

Now, in turn, I ask you, men who fancy themselves as progressive, men who speak out against privilege, men who stay in-the-know, men who claim to be on our side, men who post articles about feminism.

Read these words very carefully: Your feminism is only as effective as you are receptive to the women in your own life. 

If you click “share” on an article about listening to women with one hand, but then put up your other hand to stonewall, gaslight, and shut down women who are actually speaking TO you?

Your feminism is bullshit.

Your feminism is useless. 

I need you to do what I finally ended up doing — I need you to shut the fuck up, realize when you are wrong, learn, listen, and improve.

If you claim to be in favor of smashing patriarchal beauty ideals and sex positivity, but fail to consider the body of your partner(s), as well as their sexual and emotional needs? 

You have work to do.

If you can call out Internet trolls on the double-punch of misogyny and ableism of calling women “hysterical,” “irrational,” and “crazy” for their emotions, but wall yourself up and avoid the women in your life when their emotions become too much for you to handle? 

You have work to do.

When you claim to understand how emotional labor and anything deemed “woman’s work” is devalued and disregarded as unimportant, often lacks any payoff, and exactly why that is wrong, but have no issue using your own financial leverage over a woman just to get her out of your home? 

You have work to do.

When you claim to understand how shaming, harassing, and undercutting women is complexly interwoven with the management & stigmatization of mental illness, but refuse to take responsibility for using words that trigger PTSD in the woman crying before you? 

You have work to do. 

You can’t just sit there and post links; you can’t just talk a big game. You have to walk the walk. Want to make the world a better place for us?  Start listening to — and stop stonewalling — the women by your side.

Start there

This is me shaking your pedestal. This is me telling you that I’m not going to celebrate you. This is me telling you, you don’t get a free pass to “Feminism Land” because you read the same ‘zines we do.

This is me reminding you that you’re not woke until someone wakes you. 

Wake up.

Listen to women. If we tell you something is misogynist, don’t tell us it’s not. Don’t excuse it. Don’t deflect it. Work on it. Do better than that. Be better than that.

Otherwise, we’re going to stop listening to you.

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