I’m not a big fan of male feminists. In fact, I don’t see why there are male feminists in the first place. This fight does not involve men. It involves women. It is their fight and as such, it is their responsibility to carry the movement forward. Male feminists joining the fight and siding with their female compatriots are actually making it worse for everyone involved. Why? Because it stems from a “What about me?” mentality: “Why can’t I (says the man) join the fight and help out?” The vast majority of them who join the fight end up just spouting the same rhetoric that their female compatriots commit to doing like using shaming tactics and fallacious arguments while simultaneously using the same patriarchal system that oppresses women as a tool of oppression toward those that disagree. And a growing number of them are actually speaking up on their behalf and, more often than not, talking over them in the process. On top of that, whenever “feminism” comes up anywhere on the blogosphere, invariably, the authors writing those articles are predominantly White and female. And the issues that they are addressing also pertains to a very specific group of people, namely, White people. They are not talking about Blacks, Hispanics, or for that matter, Asians but these same feminists wouldn’t bat an eye when they attempt (on good intentions but ultimately fails) to speak on the behalf of other ethnic minorities (which stems from the “white knight saving the damsel in distress” mentality that is just so pervasive in American culture). Rarely do you encounter an Asian feminist in the dialogue of mainstream feminism. And when you do, they only get a brief mention before the focus gets re-directed to the White feminists that are the face of the movement.
In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of debating with some of the brightest Asian American (AA) feminists on the Facebook group: Asians Not Brainwashed By Media. (ANBM) The group itself, by the way, focuses on Asian American issues and how (white) media portrays them. Feminism is just one of many controversial topics that often times pop up as a point of discussion within the group. In those past debates, these same AA feminists (a lot of which were women, unsurprisingly), however, failed to see that whenever they made arguments for White feminism, that the mainstream feminist movement itself didn’t actually represent their best interests at the end of the day precisely because they were Asian and not White. Despite that being the case, I found that those that I’ve debated with had the best of intentions but ultimately, they were largely misguided. This, unsurprisingly, drove a wedge within the Facebook group as a whole wherein “white-washed” Asians (Asians who bought into the American dream and genuinely believe that they are White themselves because they dress, talk, and act like one) took sides with white folks using color blind racism to oppress those Asians within the group who were secure with their Asian identity and culture and who were largely opposed to white feminism (and ultimately, White colonial imperialism, which is the bane of our Asian existence). This other side embraced their version of feminism as it is understood in East Asian culture and in a manner that doesn’t require throwing away or completely assimilating one’s Asian identity with the mainstream White culture. Then there are those Asian American feminists who did not side with the white-washed Asians nor those Asians who were secure with their Asian identities but instead took a different viewpoint that embraces a sort of middle ground that encompasses some of the elements of both white feminism and Asian feminism. Again, just as a quick reminder, this is all going on within the Facebook group of which this group is just one of many within the greater AA movement that formed in response to the lack of representation of Asians in American media. It is there to bring awareness to Asians everywhere about these issues and other pressing AA issues like negative portrayals of Asians in media as well as providing a space for Asians to collaborate and gather ideas for future projects to combat these stereotypes.
Now, I’m bringing this up because I want to draw a parallel between male feminists and ethnic minority feminists, some of which I met through the above Facebook group. Just as male feminists were like “what about me?” with respect to the feminist movement, the AA feminists (again, predominantly Asian women) also ran into the same problem with respect to the AA movement. Namely, it drove a wedge between their goals and what the larger movement whose visions expanded beyond mere gender differences and inequalities. In both instances, they are both going about it all wrong. In reality, the AA feminists shouldn’t be fighting against each other and for a voice within the AA movement. And the male feminists shouldn’t be fighting against their female compatriots for a voice within the feminist movement. At the end of the day, it’s their fight. Let those respective parties fight for what they want.
By the male feminists insistence on “voluntarily” joining the fight, insisting that they have a voice (or should have one), is actually diluting the whole feminist movement in the same way that the AA feminists within the greater AA movement is diluting the whole AA movement. That is to say, weakening the whole movement from the inside out because now, female feminists have to share some of their hard-earned powers and control that they’ve won over just a couple of decades ago, by themselves, with men. And this clearly flies in the face of common sense, at least, so far as the goals in their movement are concerned. And rightfully so as many of feminists have reiterated again, and again, and again, their distrust of male feminists.
Male feminists or self-proclaimed male feminists. Take a hint. Women do not like you nor want you in their space. They do not care about your well being and do not wish to share their power with you. Article after article by female feminists on the World Wide Web from the mainstream media down to the average Jane blog should be a pretty loud clarion call into your eardrum saying that they don’t need you to fight their fight. It stands to reason that if you want to help them, then staying out of their way and letting them do what they do best is the only thing that you can do that would be in their best interests.
In the mean time, male feminists should re-direct all their powers, energies, and resources to supporting the men’s rights movement. As it stands, that’s one movement where men would not be talked down upon, spat upon, or ridiculed as being useless buffoons who try to “man-splain” their way into feminist circles. And if male feminists have any reluctance with that movement, let me make it crystal clear to you as an man (albeit, an Asian one), speaking to another man. Just as the laws have been created to support the feminist agendas, so too can their agendas work against you in the court of law and you will bear the full brunt of their force in the likelihood that you be charged falsely of a rape claim. Just take a look in the news. Bill Cosby. Robin Williams. Woody Allen. Michael Jackson. That German boy who dealt with the Mattress Girl at Columbia university. All evidence point to the laws stacking against men in the court of law. And if you think for a second that just because you’re a self-professed male feminist that you are somehow “above” that and that the criminal justice system will be fair to you, then you are sorely mistaken. This is especially the case, if you’re White, straight, and a part of the upper middle class spectrum of society.
I, for one, am going to heed the stories that are popping up in the news, in online forums, as well as things I hear from within my social circles. If they exist as a group, even if it is a small one, there has to be a reason why they are there, you know what I mean? (In other words, things don’t exist in a vacuum). It’s just like stereotypes. They exist for a reason and it’s precisely because there are enough people from each of the respective ethnic minorities that do the things they do, eat the things that they eat, and say the things that they say that the “stereotype” eventually forms and becomes common knowledge within society, even if it was partly false. And I, for one, would rather err on the side of safety, than be blindsided by it.