Nov. 20th, 2009

lihtox: (Default)
Here's an interesting article which echoes the thoughts I've been having about being a male feminist:

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=whats_the_alternative_to_tucker_max

The point of the article is that progressive men are defining their gender based on what they're NOT-- against rape, against violence, against homophobia, what-have-you-- but there isn't any good idea about what masculinity SHOULD be. Of course, one might suggest that looking for a definition of masculinity or femininity is needless stereotyping, and that one should just be who one is, regardless of gender. That's pretty much how I approach gender most of the time, it's how J approaches gender, how I'm trying to raise my daughter, etc. But one thread of feminism goes beyond this to celebrate femininity and find strength from it, and while this is partly an attempt to counterbalance the centuries in which men have had their say about everything, I think it is also an embracing of diversity: that even if men and women were equal in this world, some of these feminist authors and philosophers would still find strength and purpose in their gender, and that has a certain appeal to me.

But can one create a positive progressive image of masculinity that does not detract from women? Maybe it's not possible at this stage of history, with so much misogyny remaining in the world, but I think we have to try: gender is an important part of most people's self-identity and certainly important in how one interacts with the world, and if one's self-definition is largely negative-- I am not this, I am not that-- then this makes it harder to grow, because you don't know where you're going, you just know where you're not.

(This idea of defining oneself in terms of what one is not ties in surprisingly well with my previous post, where I discuss my tendency to see myself up as a misfit in every group I belong to.)

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