Where does feminism end and where does misandry begin

A sexist society harms everyone. But what can I do as a man?

Realize that it is possible!

The path to becoming a feminist begins with a paradox. Because maybe that doesn't work at all, as a man being a feminist, maybe male feminists are even an imposition. After all, feminism is a movement by and for women, it develops its theories and its practice from a protected - because men-free - space.

At best, men can contribute as allies. And: As a man, can I understand what it means to be a woman in our society? Yes, to a certain extent. But never in full. The first step to becoming a male feminist can only be the realization of the impossibility of being a feminist.

Reduce the pressure for everyone!

Feminism is a movement that seeks to end sexism, sexual exploitation and oppression. Writes the author and activist Gloria Jean Watkins, better known under her pseudonym "bell hooks". Fight against sexism and oppression, that's what I want too. Should I want to, out of self-interest. A sexist society oppresses everyone. Both sons and daughters suffer from patriarchal power structures. This is evident not least in the much higher suicide rate among men.

Do not hold onto stencils!

Maybe you are like me and you don't feel like living up to the expectations that are placed on you as a man? I still avoid groups of men to this day, on the one hand because I simply have nothing to contribute to the topics that are then regularly addressed.

Above all, however, because to this day I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't paying attention when the instructions for correct behavior were distributed among men. Probably my fault, probably all too easy to point a finger at evil company here. But maybe it is actually due to the rigid masculinity and femininity templates that not everyone can fit into. But we can all do something about them, even you and I as white straight men. But what?

Self reflection, man!

For example, you can realize your great privileges as a straight white man. Do you actually know how easy it is for us? It starts with the paycheck, but it doesn't stop there. An everyday example: Do you think that you talk more than your female colleagues or friends? Do you feel that your opinion is being taken more seriously? Do you tend to "mansplaining", that is, to explain facts to a woman that you simply assumed that you knew better about them anyway?

In the end, men explain to women how it could work better with feminism, after a brief historical outline. Everything has happened before. This may also be related to the male tendency to make a contribution to every discussion, regardless of whether one has something to say. Or have you never noticed it before?

Shut up!

This imbalance can be remedied: Just shut up. A point that admittedly finds it difficult for me as a critic with an excessive need to communicate. But men generally find it difficult to listen. But how do you want to get to know the perspective of the opposite sex (or any other gender that is not your own) if you don't give women the opportunity to portray it? He who listens learns.

Consciously share tasks!

I am the only man in my family. It is very instructive to take a minority position, at least in a small circle. I don't know anything else. But it is much more remarkable how much the imbalance in society still turns out to be in my favor.

In any case, I've never been asked at work how do I manage to reconcile work and children? Not because my wife would have done it all anyway. Bringing the children to school and picking them up, caring for them at home in the event of illness, we have always shared all of these tasks. But we are still judged differently.

If, as a man, I take my child to the office because all the care lines have been torn, it usually goes through as cuddly: Sweet, the father with the child. A woman who turns up at work with a child, on the other hand, is quickly considered hopelessly overwhelmed. Apparently the Gute Kind and Job just can't get it under one roof.

Don't just take the raisins!

Of course, it is not just sexist views that urgently need to be corrected and that anyone could correct immediately for themselves. It is also very real that women have to make compromises in their careers, at the latest when their first child arrives. And that's not just in the nature of things, it's because you and I let that happen. They are both employed? Which of you spends more time with the children? Who does more housework?

Sorry, the statistics speak against us men. My own experience too, unfortunately. Cleaning? By invitation only. Yes, I take care of the children often and happily, I've read “Harry Potter” twice, all seven volumes. But I often lack patience for the laborious homework supervision. Typical man, I hope you will now think of picking the raisins out for yourself. Well, after all, I'm the designated ironer at home.

Think of the role model function!

In general: the children. They often involuntarily reflect the imbalance between the sexes. You can also learn from this what you are still doing wrong. Or right. If my wife or I are addressed as “Mapa” again because the daughters cannot decide which of us would be the right contact person, that makes me proud.

Question gender roles!

And as a feminist-minded man, you can also implement this immediately to raise your children accordingly. It's quite informal, yes, there is no other way than informal. Of course, my daughters can play with Barbies. That's not the point. Plus: They also play with Star Wars action figures. You will not succeed in raising your child in a gender-neutral manner. But you can question gender roles, or better yet, show that the concept of gender roles is dangerous nonsense that only serves to limit your freedom. We don't have to live in a Mario Barth world.

Don't just talk, act!

Back to the paradox: imagine you did everything right. Can you call yourself a feminist now? No. Imagine if you were a woman and when you first met your date trumpeted: “I am a feminist!” How trustworthy, on a scale from one to ten, would you rate this date? Yes, it is important as a man to profess feminism. But to stand up for its goals means, above all, to act. Here and now, in everyday life.

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