Straight, white, cis, male, and feminist

by EddyNorthwind

I’m an eagle scout, a member of a social fraternity, and a self-identifying masculist. Three strikes and I’m out on the whole “feminsim” thing, I guess.

…Except that’s horse shit. My mom was part of the first generation of women engineers to graduate from Duke, and is now the owner of two small businesses while still finding time to listen to me whine about whatever silly and transient problem is eating at me when we talk. My dad is Certified Nursing Assistant, which is like being a male nurse, only you also have to deal with the stereotype that you’re either too stupid or too poor to be a Real Nurse. The role of primary caregiver flipped between parents throughout my childhood depending on work schedule and barometric pressure. They didn’t raise me to be a bigot, and I like to think that I’m making them proud.

I am a loud proponent of Scouting For All, both within and outside the BSA. If you pass out drunk at my fraternity, we carry you to an extra bed, stay with you until you wake up, and offer to walk/drive you home, without even raping you once! I’m also one of those silly masculists who believes that masculism and feminism are complementary, i.e. that rigid gender roles and their enforcement hurt everyone, and that there is no way to deconstruct femininity without also deconstructing masculinity.

Oh, and I call myself a feminist. I do prefer the term gender egalitarian, but that’s unimportant (and more on that in a later post)

Something quiet and wonderful happened between the second and third wave: Feminism worked. If a straight white cis male from a well-off two-parent household in suburbia is arguing with his fraternity brothers about whether or not a particular nominee for a bid is conscious enough of personal boundaries to be admitted, someone did something very, very right.

Trouble is, some of us — even us third-wavers — are still stuck in the 1960s mindset that everyone is against us. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t very real issues that we face today — rape and rape culture are serious business, women are still making $0.77 on the dollar, and the idea of the hegemonically masculine male as the norm and everything else as “other” is still insidious and everywhere, to name just a few. Still, “the radical notion that women are people” isn’t radical at all today.

What is radical is the idea that a guy who fits the mold of hegemonic masculinity okayishly enough to fool a passing glance is Not A Real Feminist (And Is Probably Just In This To Get Laid). And I don’t mean radical in the good way, here.

Certainly, not everyone who calls themselves feminist feels this way. I don’t, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the Gadfly doesn’t. I’d even go so far as to suggest that most self-identifying feminists don’t. That doesn’t make it any less shitty when someone does voice these opinions. In high school, the sentiment was enough to drive me away from my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (admittedly, a different movement, but we didn’t have an in-house feminist group), despite the fact that roughly 2/3 of my social group at the time was at least a little queer.

Now, imagine what that attitude does to someone who is generally sympathetic to the whole “women are people” thing, but has heard some nasty stuff about man-hating feminists from some people and doesn’t really know what to think about the group of girls and a gay guy passing out SlutWalk fliers.

If we want to change how society views people, we have to be confrontational about some things. However, it’s important to make sure that we’re attacking ideas, not people.


Edit: I suppose I should mention that I no longer identify as straight. At time of writing, I had been in denial of my own homosexual attractions for about 6 years and was in the process of getting honest with myself. For the whole story, see this post. The short version is that I am and have always been a 2 on the Kinsey scale (primarily heterosexual with more than incidental homosexual attraction) and that I am currently still closeted to my family and some groups of friends.