I’m not a feminist.
That sentence, alone, already feels loaded. Am I anti feminism? No. Do my values and beliefs line up with intersectional feminism? Yes. Shouldn’t that make me a feminist? No. Feminism takes work, learning, growing…I’m not there, maybe never will be. Do I see myself sitting down reading Roxanne Gay or Rebecca Solnit? No. Which begs the question, why not? Am I being willfully ignorant? The fact that I choose not to do said work, does that make me a bad person? How feminist am I? That sounds like a Buzzfeed quiz (Turns out it IS a buzzfeed quiz, I got a 42/50, I mean why even do this post now?) . I guess my issue with actually calling myself a male feminist, is not dissimilar to white allies. I can’t help but roll my eyes when every white person who dances on beat or says black lives matter gets an invitation to a cookout, or how people were actually down to give Rachel Dolezal a pass because she worked with a NAACP chapter. Well intentioned or not; I’m more particular about who can sit with us. So going back to feminism and being on the other side of the privilege I can understand a woman saying, you don’t have enough stars for this level.
On the other hand, I can recognize what a black male feminist means. On social media, I’ve watched men change their tune when a man they respect speaks up. In my day to day life, men are far more likely to listen to me than a woman. I might check someone on their language or make fun of how ridiculous they sound sometimes but as far as really trying to change minds and hearts…I don’t have that energy. I’ve said on the “Homies” post, men are only going to take so much lecturing, so much challenging before you get hit with the “who’s mans is this?” and pushed out the barbershop. Its one thing to be a black male feminist online, clapping back at the League of Ashyassins on Twitter, it’s another to actually challenge “locker room talk” in said locker room when there isn’t a legion of followers behind you. I can’t help but roll my eyes at men who claim to be down because they are on the right side of the Bill Cosby debate whilst ignoring all the other problematic stances they take.
Feminism, through the lens of a black man can be conflicting at time. In a patriarchal society, men cannot remove themselves from their power and privilege in relation to women. But in a racist society, black men hardly have power to wield in the first place. The black man and the white woman fight for 2A and 2B, depending on a white man’s proclivities. It’s Oppression Olympics; it could be easy for me to not care about women earning 78 cents of the male dollar when I’m making 75 on the white dollar so we bicker for the support of black women, whom are sideeyeing us both whilst making 64. There’s a clear common denominator here. It would make sense that we’d all come together, but, well, we saw how that worked out on November 8th.
I’m not a feminist. I’m just trying to be the best person I can and trusting my sensibilities. Continue to grow, continue to mature. I’m not the same man I was 5 years ago, I won’t be the same 5 years from now. Honestly, that quiz gave me more credit than I give myself. I see women and men putting in WORK to change things and I feel like it’d be insulting to them to act like I’m kicking it the same. I just carry myself as someone who was raised right. Maybe that’s enough, maybe it isn’t. Time will tell. In the interim, I’m just gonna relax and take notes from the ally section.