There’s nothing like dropping the “you’re a feminist” bomb on somebody when they believe they are not, and then seeing their eyes go wide when they realize, wow, they actually are feminists! That’s what this short inspiring Upworthy video accomplishes when interviewing men about what feminism means to them.
Luckily, feminism is slowly gaining traction, and we’re pretty hopeful about its future as societal credo. But for some, the antiquated stereotype of a feminist still dominates; hairy, braless, angry women looking for a fight. We won’t deny that this is a part of our demographic—and one we take pride in—but it doesn’t represent feminists in its entirety. We’re all different; no one person or idea should have to represent an entire group (duh). Out of all the intelligent, courageous, level-headed, and well-spoken feminist leaders we’ve known, we aren’t sure how this (imaginary) figure became our poster woman.
The issue with this stereotype is that it loses the actual definition of feminism—the belief that “men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” And while male feminists are thin on the ground, it may have very little to do with their actual political opinions. Traditional masculinity still plays a huge part in our societal values, and men for the most part are known to defend their own “manliness”—whatever that is—at any cost. So why would they admit to being feminists, at the risk of associating themselves with hairy, braless, angry, man-hating women?
We don’t mean to say that there aren’t “masculine” ideals that are noble, but thinking of masculinity as inherently better or more powerful—as society often tends to believe—can be really harmful. As soon as we shake off the impact of this institution, people will start supporting a belief they actually do stand behind. Maybe, just maybe, if one “guys’ guy” identifies himself as a feminist, it will inspire others to do the same. Watch some of this happen in real time here:
Images C/O truth and action, upworthy