I want to start by saying that I, of course, appreciate men who participate in and advocate for the feminist movement. I like to believe that most men with whom I surround myself are feminists, whether they know it or not. My boyfriend, for example, doesn’t shout the fact that he’s a feminist from the rooftops every day. But, it’s clear to me in the way he treats me and other women that he believes men and women should be treated equally, that he doesn’t want to perpetuate or encourage gender stereotyping, and that he respects women. Funny enough, I think some of the best male feminists are the ones who don’t feel the need to talk that much about the fact that they’re feminists. They just are feminists, and they live that through their actions. Then there is this other group of male feminist: the self-proclaimed male feminist who will take every chance he has to announce that he’s a feminist. I’ve found that these men, in many ways, can be distinctly unfeminist. Here are hypocritical things self-proclaimed male feminists do and say.
Mansplain feminism to women
In the most hypocritical action of all, I’ve had some male feminists mansplain feminism to me. A woman. They’ve taken it upon themselves, in some twisted attempt to prove themselves as the biggest feminists in the room, to tell me why the thing I just did or said isn’t feminist. So, they’re lecturing and talking down to a woman while trying to explain how women should be treated equal to men.
Criticize women for their beauty choices
Hoping to gain favor with women who don’t subscribe to traditional beauty standards, some male feminists will criticize and judge women who do subscribe to such standards. They’ll say something about how such a woman does so because of years of internalized misogyny. Actually, um, some women just genuinely like red lipstick and heels. To assume a woman can only wear such things due to internalized misogyny is, well, misogynistic.
Never pay for the check
I understand that part of feminism is that women are independent and men shouldn’t pay for everything. But, some male feminists take that to mean that men don’t have to pay for anything and that women should pay for everything. Nuh-uh. Feminism is about equality meaning the feminist dude will still pay sometimes. As will the woman.
Never open a door/lift a box
Some feminist men won’t open a door or lift a heavy box for a woman, as if to say, “I’m such a feminist—I won’t insinuate you can’t open the door or lift the box yourself.” But opening doors and lifting boxes isn’t a feminist issue. That’s just human decency. In fact, women open doors and lift boxes for other women all of the time.
Get in the friend zone, with a plan to get out
Many a male feminist will put himself in the friend zone, all the while harboring the expectation that a woman will be so impressed with his ability not to make a move on her, that she’ll fall for him, and take him out of the friend zone. Then, when that doesn’t happen, these male “feminists” get angry that all of their patience isn’t rewarded with sex. Gee. What a “friend.”
Criticize women who like “manly” men
As a way of establishing themselves as men who don’t believe in gender norms or stereotypes, some male feminists will talk badly about men who are, well, manly. They’ll make brute noises when they see a couple of men simply drinking beer and watching sports. But, again, criticizing someone for where they do or don’t conform to gender norms is truly the opposite of feminism.
Hate on other men
This is something I see a lot these days: male feminists just deciding to hate other men. They decide that all men are bad, and engage in plenty of open dialogues with women about what pigs men are. But feminism isn’t about saying that men are bad: it’s about saying that women should be treated equally to men. It was never about condemning the male sex.
Criticize women who are too thin
In another attempt to show they reject societal expectations of female beauty standards, some male feminists will talk badly of women who are very thin. They’ll say they aren’t “real women” or they are just thin because they are insecure and subscribing to the male-dictated idea of how the female figure should look. Um, that woman might just…like looking that way. Or not be able to help it. Or not even think about it, one way or another.
Say nothing if a man harasses a woman
Because they don’t want to come off as brute machismo men, some male feminists won’t step in when a woman is being harassed by a man. But I’m going to assert that helping someone who is being harassed has nothing to do with being feminist or not feminist. It’s just the right thing to do. You don’t need to punch the harasser, but stepping in and offering backup goes a long way.
Expect praise for being a feminist
I know too many self-proclaimed male feminists who expect praise for being male feminists. So, since they support the idea that women should be treated equally to men, they want to…be put on a pedestal. Yes. That makes sense.
State their desire for physical intimacy
“I want to kiss you” or “I want to have sex with you” are things male feminists might say to a date, or a female friend. They think that, since they’re not just going for it but instead they’re politely asking, they’re feminists. I mean, get over yourselves dudes: you’re still red-blooded males, wanting to smash at that time.
Tell me I’m not a feminist
In one of the best twists of all, I’ve had male feminists tell me that I am not a feminist. They’ve had the nerve to tell a woman that she has a worse understanding of how women deserve to be treated than them—than men.
Neg traditional male fashion
Flannels, work boots, boxy jeans, bro tanks, etc. A lot of male feminists go out of their way to never wear such things and go out of their way to criticize the men who do. I’ll state again that to assume someone conforms to gender norms for the sake of conforming—and not because they simply like that look—is decidedly not feminist.
Be emotional messes
Some male feminists have taken the opportunity to, in an attempt to show how sensitive they are, become totally unhinged, emotionally unstable messes that their partners must baby and coddle. Being an emotional burden on someone is not what it means to be a feminist, bruh.
Only befriend other self-proclaimed feminists
I can spot the hypocritical male feminists quickly because they’ll only associate with other men who also call themselves feminists. These men have such a weak grasp on what it means to be feminist that they can’t use their powers of deduction to simply decide if another man is a feminist. If he doesn’t state it out loud, they just don’t know if he’s a feminist.