Word Order

by aronjerrison

Before I get to the body of this post, I should like to, as much as I hate both the word and the concept, indulge in a bit of “blogsplaining”.

Finals are upon us here at Midwestern liberal arts university, and conscientious students that we are, Naomi, Eddy, and I have let this blog sit on the back burner as we move academics to the front.

That being said, I will be putting my work aside for a short while so as to write about something which has been on my mind for a while.

As I have made my way through the feminist blog-o-sphere, particularly the more radical areas of it, I have repeatedly come across the phrase “feminist man”. Because no disclaimer that I could write would be enough to convince everyone that I am not attempting to “correct”, “educate”, or “fix” feminists and feminism, I am hoping that this meta-disclaimer will make some progress towards that end.

The phrase “feminist man” poses for me, a couple of problems.

The first, and most trivial, of them is that I dislike the double use of ‘feminist’ as both a noun and an adjective. I would much prefer that the term ‘feministic’ see a rise in usage.

The second is its gendered implications. If we accept this terminology, we are implicitly accepting gender as our identifier, with feminist as a mere modifier. I have written before about what a feminist is, but I feel a need to reiterate my point here.

A feminist is, asThe American Heritage Dictionary tells us, “a person whose beliefs and behaviour are based on feminism.” This definition has no gendered implications, and adding them seems counter-productive.

I will not deny that gender is an important thing to take into account when considering feministic (see? it works–right?) discourse, but having it as our primary identifier doesn’t help. When I am discussing an issue and feminism comes up, the fact that I identify as a feminist is much more relevant than the fact that I identify, however marginally, as a man.

This is why, when the issue of identification comes up, I call myself a male feminist. My gender is indicated, but it is not my primary identifier. Men are not monolithic. If I am identified as a man, nothing can be divined about me, the fact that I am a feminist is significantly more telling. This is not to say that feminism is monolithic, merely that having a similar goal provides more of an association than having a similar sex or gender.

I would like to continue this post, but it’s nearly 5.00 AM, and I have papers to write.