I was going to write a different blog post. For some time now, I had a text in mind that, in the wake of Jacquelyn Friedman’s new book on ‘feminist’ (obviously, broadly spoken…) dating and sex, concerned itself with the question many people who are attracted to men™ have asked and discussed and never answered: feminist men interested in heterosexual relationships – anyone? Anywhere?
Obviously, this has been debated a lot (e.g., on Feministe when Jill posed the question how people “date while feminist”) and is a complex issue; for me, due to personal reasons, especially regarding heterosexual relationships and all the negotiations and potential deal breakers they can entail. Thankfully, I have not yet had to deal with super special misogynistic snow flakes (…and being fat helps when it comes to weeding out the people who do not deserve to get laid in the first place…), and since my private environment is either in support of feminism or at least somewhat aware of my political base line (albeit due to my snarky comments or raised voice or the combination of the two… *ahem*), I can be quite happy to report that overt, unchallenged sexism is something I seldom have to deal with in my immediate (male) surroundings now (…it used to be different). And having any sort of (intimate) relationship with someone who does not share key features of this basic value system, i.e., “leftist” or “progressive” policies or whatever you want to name it, is a clear “deal breaker” and dude would neither get a second glance nor open ear.
Notwithstanding, as “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street” has just recently shown yet again, defining yourself as a progressive or even explicitly feminist man does not mean that you actually are one. I think this is a problem due to a lack of individual reflection and comprehension (and here is a fantastic piece about the horrors of “faux feminists”), but also a structural complexity: of course, overcoming socially engraved beliefs and practices is hard, especially when you are living within the culture and society that reproduces and reinforces said beliefs and practices every single day, and belittles or threatens you if you refuse to play along. I expect you to try damned hard, however – it is your responsibility if you claim to support gender equality (that should be an integral part of your “progressive” stance).
I was now going to start dissecting the question as to how feminist exactly a man has to be (and in which regards), so one can “work with” that – clearly, certain issues that I would deem feminist in principle are somewhat relational negotiations in practice, and although the slogan “the personal is political” holds true, intimate relationships tend to not function satisfactory for either person/people if handled as party conventions where the goal is to push your political wing’s programme to the fullest extend (…although I’ve heard that works for some people – and I’ve once tried… hard… ;)).
Yet, right in the middle of the classic thought about how much (anti?-)feminist compromise is justifiable and how to write about that, something else happened, and kind of caught me off guard.
As said above, feminism does not come as a surprise to virtually every man I know on a more personal level, is somewhat common in the professional/humanities/academia surrounding I am working, and I am far from ‘hiding’ it in daily interactions (although, apparently, simply stating a differing opinion is still considered radically feminist, even totally akin to the SCUM manifesto… :: eye roll ::), although I do not roam the streets yelling about it (yet) or wear batches (anymore). This blog is written under a pseudonym, nonetheless, because I actually like to not be identified for once, would find it a bit too revealing to share things like these under my real name with the internet, and think that words can carry without names (although most of my friends and some of my colleague actually know who occupies this virtual space :)). As I had to experience, however: in times of googling people, privacy is just shot to shit anyway.