Pro-Feminist men's website needs submissions

by Catherine Redfern // 17 September 2009, 16:01

Long standing pro-feminist, anti-sexist men's website www.xyonline.net has recently been relaunched and is seeking volunteers and submissions.

XY is a pro-feminist website. It is guided above all by a commitment to feminism. XY is intended to advance feminist goals of gender equality and gender justice. XY is intended therefore to encourage men to involve themselves in personal and social change towards gender equality. It inspires men to develop respectful, trusting, and egalitarian relations with women, to promote equitable and liberatory ways of living and being, and to join with women in projects of gender equality and social justice.

I've been aware of this site for a long time and it has some great stuff on there. For example, with five minutes of browsing I found this great zine by pro-feminist Paul Brown called Don't Be a Dick! on issues such as rape culture, consent, and pornography.

Off you go, feminist/pro-feminist guys!

Comments From You

Amy Clare // Posted 20 September 2009 at 16:56

Thanks for the heads up about this site...

One thing though: can anyone tell me why these men are not described (and do not describe themselves) as 'feminist' but as 'pro-feminist'? Is that not suggesting that feminism is a movement purely for females? If feminism is essentially the belief that the genders should be treated equally, then why can men who ascribe to this belief not describe themselves simply as 'feminists'... ?

It's not a trick question, I genuinely want to know!

Catherine Redfern // Posted 20 September 2009 at 19:07

Hi Amy Clare

No problem!

Basically whilst quite a lot of female feminists do think that men can also be feminists, others think that only women can be feminists because they argue that only women can understand what it is to be oppressed as a woman and also feminism must be led by women. So, generally, out of respect for female feminists, pro-feminist men tend to call themselves pro- rather than simply feminist.

If you look at their website they explain why they use pro-feminist and I've copied that bit below so you can see what they say.

--
http://www.xyonline.net/content/frequently-asked-questions-about-pro-feminist-men-and-pro-feminist-men%E2%80%99s-politics

• Why do you call yourselves “pro-feminist” and not just “feminist”?

Feminism is a movement and a body of ideas developed primarily by, for and about women. Men can never fully know what it is like to be a woman. If we call ourselves “feminists”, we run the risk of colonising feminism or looking like we’re saying we’ve got all the answers.

Some feminist women argue that men CAN call themselves feminists, as long as they live up to the same standards as women who are feminists — to support the equality of women and men. Nevertheless, most pro-feminist men use the label “pro-feminist” rather than “feminist”. We believe that there is plenty men can and should do to support feminism, and we don’t need to call ourselves “feminists” to do it.
--

CMK // Posted 20 September 2009 at 22:47

It is a rather interesting that so many feminists think men cannot be feminists whilst arguing equality in every/many other regards.

Perhaps it comes from most people have very different ideas as to what feminism means to them. Personally I think it is a missed opportunity not to fully engage men as feminist issues are to my mind as much about men as they are about women.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 21 September 2009 at 10:21

"Perhaps it comes from most people have very different ideas as to what feminism means to them."

I think this is true but I don't think they are *very* different ideas, just different priorities within feminism, and both are understandable. Many feminists think feminism is a movement for and about women (which may have benefits for men too, but that isn't it's primary focus). Others think that it is a movement about ending sexism generally, albeit stemming from women's oppression. That's basically where the difference lies in this approach.

Personally I tend towards thinking that men can be feminists as I feel it is a matter of what you believe and whether you act to support equality, rather than having direct experience as a woman, of men's oppression. However, I tend to use the word pro-feminist out of respect and recognition for this difference of opinion, as do many male pro-feminists.

But I don't think calling men pro-feminists is a form of sexism or hyposcrisy as (I think?) you seem to suggest in your first line? It's not a question of equality in naming, it's about what you believe the feminist movement is primarily about and being respectful to both women and feminists.

Anyway, this page has more info, which might be of interest:
http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/19/faq-can-men-be-feminists/

CMK // Posted 21 September 2009 at 19:11

I think for me feminism is more of an idea or concept and as such can be taught and understood objectively. I suppose it could be comparable to the difference between understanding a religion and following a religion?

Hypocrisy would be far, far too strong a word, it really is just interesting to me. I really do not think either term is especially important, generally I dislike labels, and am far more interested in what people do.

I try to be respectful of people, especially those I disagree with (which is not always so easy).

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