Being a male feminist has a lot of stigma attached to it. While it should be commom sense for men to want equality for everyone but unfortunately those who do call for it are usually taken as ‘not men enough’. Following Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign, a lot of high profile men, however, came out as feminists, with John Legend, Benedict Cumberbatch and Joseph Gordon-Levitt being a few to name.
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, too is a feminist and is known to take pride in the very same as well.
While it’s great to see these high profile men declaring themselves to be feminists, it’s important to remember that they, much like all feminists, face a ridiculous amount of backlash for their stance.
Similarly, male feminists in Pakistan face a whole lot of backlash too. Probably a bit more, because how dare these ”modern liberals” try to ruin society by emphasizing on equal rights for both sexes? Guys have to deal with a lot of shit for supporting feminism. If you’re a male feminist, you’ll probably be able to relate to the following:
1. Getting told off by your guy friends
Guys who aren’t feminists will take shots at you relentlessly for supporting the idea of equality. Then again, these are probably the same guys who treat women like objects, so there really isn’t any reasoning with this lot.
2. Getting told off by your female friends
Unfortunately, women who aren’t feminists do exist. If you happen to know any, they probably join in with your guy friends in ridiculing you or simply talk down to you since they don’t get where you’re coming from.
3. Having your sexual orientation questioned
”Feminist hai? Gay hoga.”
Because, obviously, the cause you support and your sexual orientation are correlated.
4. Getting stereotyped
People assume you’re effeminate or that you share the destructive anger that female feminists are thought to be born with.
5. Getting labeled
Your friends (that you should probably think about changing) tend to label you with particularly feminine terms. While this isn’t exactly something bothersome, it’s kind of sad that attributing a guy with feminine terms is seen as a way of putting someone down – a point that you have probably tried to make but is lost on your friends and acquaintances.
6. Being misunderstood
Since the idea of male feminists isn’t exactly widespread yet, a lot of girls will assume you’re portraying yourself to be a feminist simply to get laid. You’re often seen as being disingenuous, which can be a little demotivating.
7. Getting told off by your elders
You don’t have it easy either, as is the case with all Pakistani feminists, when it comes to feminism. Since most elders associate feminism as an idea that is way too liberal, if you stand up for any female, you’ll be slapped with a heavy dose of ‘‘yeh humara culture nahi hai” alongside a helpful serving of ”abhi bache ho, aisi fazool baatein na karo.”
8. Dealing with society in general
People love to talk aimlessly about things they have no real clue about and share their two bits, even if they aren’t factually backed up. They will give you a distorted view of feminism, talk about how immoral and wrong it is or simply try to downplay it by ridiculing the mere idea of it. Dealing with these people is not only tiring but a dire deterioration of your precious brain cells.
9. Getting brutally mauled on the internet
You think you can share a pro feminism article on Facebook and get away with it? Wrong. Any such move is basically an invitation for internet trolls to set camp around your profile. Have fun battling it out.
10. Getting unwanted opinions
Declare yourself to be a feminist and suddenly everyone around you will bombard you with unnecessary opinions.
‘Feminism isn’t a part of our society or culture.’
‘Don’t you know that there are more important issues to worry about here?’
If only people realized that your mind is pretty much made up and you don’t really need any convincing to the contrary.
11. Getting into a relationship with a non feminist
There are two extremes:
i) Someone who hates men and their existence
ii) Someone who either doesn’t get the basic concept of feminism or chooses to ignore it completely
Both of these are equally annoying to deal with. The first kind will talk down to you and rant about how men are useless piles of garbage that shouldn’t exist. The second kind will amaze you by their strikingly high levels of ignorance when it comes to feminism.
12. Getting told that you’re not a ‘good’ or ‘true’ feminist
Feminists, themselves, have a pretty high standard of what a feminist should be. It tends to go overboard sometimes in certain cases, which is when your belief in feminism comes under fire. You get told that you’re not a feminist, simply because you’re a guy or because you’re not doing a ‘good enough job’ as a feminist. However, at this point, you’re either used to it or unfazed by it because you know that your belief is personal and does not need to be proved to naysayers.
Feminism is integral to our society and it takes a lot to be an outspoken feminist, especially when there are countless people who persistently try to put down the cause altogether. Kudos to every feminist for existing. Perhaps, if we try hard enough, feminism will stop being seen in a negative light.
Cover Image: FemSOC LUMS
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