9 Simple Things Guys Need To Understand About Feminism


At this point there’s a wealth of information (/opinions) on the subject of feminism and its relevance or lack thereof. That said, there seems to be a lot of confusion amongst men about what feminism is actually about. It took me years of patience and ego-checking but I think I’ve narrowed it down.

1. It’s not about hating men.

For some odd reason, the core tenet of female EQUALITY comes across as misandry. The confusion rests somewhere in feminists pointing out very clear examples of male privilege and the current state of sexism. Men get defensive and that leads to things like..

2. “Not all men!”

Stop talking. If ever a woman is speaking on something through her lens as a woman, she’s not doing it as a personal attack, but as an explanation of apprehension. The “not all men” phrase also ignores the fact that often times it’s MOST men.

3. “Women are somewhat responsible for getting into a dangerous situation like that in the first place..”

It’s been said nine billion times and it’s going to be said again here: don’t blame the victim. This sentiment has “RAPE CULTURE” written all over it. The idea being that women should understand that they may entice men into being disgusting animals just by, like, breathing.

4. What even is rape culture?

Simply put, it’s a culture which normalizes rape. It’s the culture we live in. What that means is saying you “raped” your midterm is detrimental to any girl within earshot that may be a victim (statistically likely in a college setting — 1 in 4). Sentiments that in any way suggest that a victim is at fault or ones that resemble that age old adage of “boys will be boys” are some of the core components of this culture. Boys will be boys means girls will be victims.

5. Chivalry is not your cross to bear.

If at any time holding the door open for someone who’s two steps behind you is a daunting task, please sign up at your nearest gym. You don’t get a special commendation for human decency. From what I’ve heard myself and what some of my close lady friends tell me, this is an often referenced gripe that men have when faced with the reality of sexism. “But we always have to pay for dinner!” and things like that. You sound like a big baby when you complain about things like how you have to be nice to people. Sorry. I’m sure that’s exactly like getting followed at night. You brave soldier.

6. “Only sluts are worried about sexism/feminism.”

I’ve actually heard this one and it’s so ignorant. The phrasing alone is obscene. Men often don’t fully make a shift in perspective until told to think of our mother, sister, future (or current) daughter. It started to feel eerie when I think of how, after asking, my mom told me countless stories from her life of being honked at, followed, groped, and called all kinds of things. Because believe it or not,

7. Women have an entirely different experience of life than you do.

This one took me some time to fully appreciate but it’s absolutely true. I can take a walk at just about any time of night with relatively few concerns. From what I’ve gathered there’s a constant anxiety that sort of weaves its way throughout a woman’s life. “Maybe today will be the day that some man gets carried away and decides that he’s going to have me.” This is the most critical thing to understand because once you grasp this, you start actually listening instead of judging.

8. You don’t have to be a so-called “male feminist” to support feminists.

I’ve seen a couple guys throw down the gauntlet and scream, “But I’m a male feminist!” on the Internet whenever they get called out for actually being sexist. The simple act of calling yourself a “male feminist” doesn’t help women. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of recognizing that your male point of view just isn’t needed here. The point of feminism is to be a space for women, not to prove you’re the cool sensitive guy. What you need to do is..

9. Listen.

It’s, frankly, the best thing you can do. From that point of honest listening you can actually implement changes in your daily life and perceptions. Listening means staying quiet, asking compassionate questions, and making no defensive statements. With that you can start to make wider changes in your friend group, community, school, city, and so on. Women love a good listener because they’re so used to being talked at.