Men and Feminism: Where’s Is the Love?

by Katharine Ernst

Some people really have a problem with referring to him- or herself as a feminist. Generally, even if someone still believes in gender equality, they still tend to get defensive when someone calls them a feminist. This is clear in first segment of an article published in the Guardian written by a man who, when asked by a fellow journalist to answer some questions about male feminism, agreed to speak, but was adamant about not being labeled a “feminist.” He asserted that being called a feminist was “in roughly equal measures as a compliment and an insult.”

I find that the term “feminism” is wildly misinterpreted over and over again. If you really consider it, feminism provides a counterpoint to patriarchy and the standardization of gender roles, which affects men too. 

Men are expected to be strong, aggressive moneymakers who go out and make a difference in the public sphere, while women must remain docile caregivers confined to the home. Feminism allows men to make the sandwich and women to win the bread – allowing families a modern flexibility that the patriarchy makes impossible. 

These prescribed gender roles are breeding grounds for misogyny and misandry alike. By forcing men to become only public actors, the patriarchy forces women to become singularly acted upon – objects rather than subjects. Women in this way have become a social body entirely objectified (in the grammatical sense) by the male political body, forcing a public debate of these roles in the wake of advances in healthcare, women’s rights, etc. Feminism is the discussion of the flux in gender roles, affecting people beyond the assignment of their x and y chromosomes. 

We all need feminism, guy!

Women still do not have the same political and social rights as men do – it wouldn’t even be up for discussion to close all but 5 abortion clinics in Texas if they provided vasectomies or Viagra. Women face different battles than men do – abortion rights, sexual assault and salary inequity versus – wait, what exactly have men been fighting for recently?

It has been often quoted that men’s greatest fear is that women will laugh at them, and that women’s greatest fear is that men will kill them.

Feminism is about closing the gap between those two extremes; making men acclimate to a sometimes harsh reality and helping women reach a plateau of security.


This guy read his Title IX

Many people associate the word “feminism” with radical, second-wave feminism and ‘bra burning’ of the 1960s and ’70s. People for whatever reason cannot get that image out of their heads, and prevents them from seeing the bigger picture – they portray feminists as anarchist harpies, and not the everyday women who just want what everyone else has. This fear of “feminism” has stigmatized the entire movement, further branding it as evil when reasonable men and women refuse to identify as feminist. 

Sometimes, I feel that these gender roles are so inhered in our minds and upbringings that much of the problem with people and feminism is because of the “fem-.” The Guardian article goes as far as to distinguish male from female feminists, as if the feminist agenda had solely to do with women. It’s feminism, period. Men aren’t too “macho” to be called a feminist – the idea of a male feminist removes men from the agenda that feminism espouses, which has nothing to do with gender; feminism is above and beyond gender, and aspires to total equality.


What do you BUSTies think about “male” feminism? Does it help or hurt the growing cause of feminism, in the gender studies sense of the word? Say what you think in the comments below.

Thanks to The Guardian

Photographs via Feminist Ryan Gosling, FEM Newsmagazine and MGTOW

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.