In light of the post-Weinstein revelations, I thought I should address a few issues on the progressive outlook of feminism.
My feminism has always been flawed, as however well-intentioned it might have been, it always relied on the fact that I felt my opinion rested on equal footing with others involved in the conversation, that I had the right to sit alongside them and state how I felt about it. It's a tendency which is essentially innocent, even natural, to want to comment on an issue you feel a certain level of passion towards.
However, like the painful and difficult process of accepting white privilege in its entirety to successfully discuss a progressive future to racism, no opinions from men on the subject of women can be fully legitimate while we still live in such a prevalent patriarchal society. I can passionately hold views, and when asked, I'll be happy to discuss them, but the caveat must always firmly remain that as much as I think I can relate to womankind, or to the LGBT community, or any minority or discriminated groups - unless I am them, I cannot speak for or on behalf of them. To be progressive means to look forward, to accept that we are in a position where change is needed for a fairer society and to embrace that change, even at the expense of certain liberties.
Separately however, a conversation regarding the difficulties facing many men in our societies can be had and should be had now to deal with issues of imposed-masculinity, of domestic violence, of the terrifying high rate of male suicides etc. These are important and need to be addressed as they struggle to gain a platform in a world where men are discouraged to show emotion, or appear weaker than a stereotype. But despite being linked to the above argument, for now they belong in a separate discussion space.
A man's job right now is to button their lip up and to listen, to read posts like this and learn, to accelerate the process of identifying where our privilege as penis-bearers lie and let those whose voices have been muffled suggest the way forward. We should always be ready to contribute, to strive towards a mutual collaboration, but learning about another takes time, it can take a long time, and we have many years of learning to catch up on first.
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