I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that this is a warning for non-feminist women to learn what type of feminist men to avoid.
You would be wrong.
As is typical of so many feminists, Everyday Feminism author Melissa Fabello decided to attack the very men who support feminism. She does this by warning her fellow female feminists which type of feminist men to look out for.
Feminists often complain about the lack of male support. Most men want nothing to do with feminism or feminists, and it irks feminists. They cannot understand why men would reject their ideology or reject them.
Fabello gives us the answer. Case in point:
Male feminists are not immune to their masculine socialization – which is categorically toxic. They’re supposed to seek to dismantle it. But with so many stories floating around (and the many more that are silenced by fear) about “male feminists” who use their social justice rhetoric as a way to wield abusive behaviors, it’s clear that some of our quote-unquote “allies” are combining toxic masculinity with feminism to create a terrifying hybrid.
I would agree. Few things are as terrifying as the entity that spawns when men become feminists. The amount of flagellating self-loathing, uncapped misandry, white-knighting, doctrine-peddling behavior created by this amalgam of stupidity has few rivals. These men often cannot function around other men or boys. Their sense of self-worth and dignity is tied to serving a group of people who openly despise them and view men and masculinity as “categorically toxic”.
Yet this individual still invests their time to pleasing people like Fabello. As I have said numerous times, with friends like these feminists, who needs enemies. Fabello shows why this insight proves right so many times:
1. Beware Male Feminists Who Seek to Control Your Sexuality
Beware men who learn words like liberation and body positive and sexual agency – and use them to guilt you into sex.
Beware men whose “I believe in women’s lib” really translates to “I believe women should have sexual agency, insofar as it benefits me.”
Beware men who support your right to have sex, but not your right not to have sex.
Which male feminists do this? I am sure it happens sometimes. Yet the majority of comments I hear from male feminists suggest they spend too much time evaluating the minutia of their interactions with women to have sex with women, let alone force them into sex.
Who guilts feminist women into sex? Who views feminist women’s sexual agency as a personal benefit? Who ignores feminist women’s right to refuse sex?
Beware men who don’t let you refuse, who demand of you more than “just vanilla,” who expect you (out of liberation) to take control.
Beware men who say “no means no,” but act like a lack of a no is the same thing as a yes – and then defend themselves with “You know I do anti-rape work” when they’re questioned about their own sexually violating behavior.
Beware men who say “no means no,” but tell you that women who “let down the cause” by taking control of their own bodies and sexual agency deserve what they get.
We are not even past the first point on the list and already the rape narrative pops up. This is one of the most peculiar aspects of feminism, and it is one that I cannot understand how male feminists deal with it. How do they associate with people who appear to believe that they are at risk of rape at any moment? How do they deal with people who take misread physical cues as a sign that a man is an unknowing rapist? How do they deal with people who concoct straw man anecdotes about things most male feminists would never think, let along say?
Beware men who say that they’re anti-rape, but think Beyoncé “shouldn’t dress like that” now that she’s a mother.
What male feminist said this about Beyonce?
Beware men who watch porn, but degrade sex workers.
Again, what male feminist does either of these?
But in case one might think the male feminists who do not engage in those behaviors are good to go, think again:
Beware men who distance themselves from men who perpetrate sexual and physical violence by insisting that “real men” don’t do those things.
Male feminists cannot win. Even if they think a “real” man, that is someone who carries himself with dignity and respects other people, should not sexually assault someone, that still makes them a bad person who tries to control women’s sexuality.
I know what male feminists are thinking. They are thinking that if they simply allow women to speak for themselves, the problem is solved. Wrong:
Beware men who don’t make space for you to voice your desires and boundaries in bed – who are performing equality so strongly that they don’t practice justice; who expect you to speak up, but who never ask.
One must admire the intricacies of the above ball of contradictions. Men do not make space for women’s voice because they are treating women equally, which is not justice because they are allowing women to speak for themselves rather than asking women what they think.
In short, he is disrespecting women’s voice by waiting for them to speak.
That is some profound amount of insanity, and this is just the first point on the list.
Again, male feminists cannot win:
2. Beware Male Feminists Who Believe They Have a Right to Your Appearance
Beware men who don’t like your red lipstick because it’s “not feminist,” but claim that sex with them will liberate you from patriarchy.
Beware men who question your use of mascara on your eyelashes or a razor on your legs, who tell you, “You don’t have to do that for me,” but ignore you when you say you aren’t.
I must ask again: which male feminist says any of this? Everything listed under this point fits in with the feminist narrative about beauty standards. The only thing male feminists who say them would be guilty of is peddling the same thing female feminists says constantly. Fabello’s complaint is like the inverse, feminist version of “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal“.
When a female feminist says women do not need to shave their legs, that is revolution. When a male feminist says women do not need to shave their legs, that is control.
Fabello then goes into the fake feminist realm. According to her, feminist women face fakes and phonies who pretend to support their cause:
3. Beware Male Feminists Who Hide Their Abusive Tactics Behind a Gender-Equality Mask
Beware men who use the language of social justice to manipulate you.
Beware men who learn words like gaslighting so that they can accuse you of it when you disagree with them.
Most of the items on the list read like psychological projection. Fabello takes things feminists do to men and accuse male feminists, the least likely men to engage in such behavior, of doing it to women.
As with any of these lists, it eventually becomes ironic:
Beware men who wield their intersections of oppression as proof that they cannot be abusive toward you – because you hold more social power than they do.
Is that not the very position feminists hold about women abusing men? That women cannot abuse men nor can they be abusive because they lack social power over men? Yet when someone flips this to a situation that could apply to women, such as a white woman dating a black man, suddenly the assertion is unfair.
The same holds true with these statements:
Beware men who proclaim to support anti-violence work, but are violent in their own interactions.
Beware men who tell you “abuser dynamics” are when you lose your temper and can’t tell them why because you’re too hurt to think.
Beware men who financially exploit you, but then throw in your face that you make more money than they do.
That list is is precisely what the vast majority of the articles on Everyday Feminism do to men. As Fabello notes, “If they’re wielding power and control over you, it’s abuse – no matter how prettily they disguise that”. Yet she conveniently does not find it abusive when feminist women do this to men.
The list then goes into a realm of things male feminists have never done:
4. Beware Male Feminists Who Set Up Womanhood As a Competition
Beware men who tell you you’re so much more clever, more mature than other girls, that they’ve never met a girl as enlightened as you.
Beware men who say they only sleep with smart girls, or liberal girls, or radical girls, as though those things are performances for them.
Beware men who treat you like a manic pixie dream girl who will whisk them away into a feminist wonderland.
It would help Fabello if provided at least one example of a male feminist do any of the above. Even Hugo Schwyzer at his utmost worst never did anything like this.
A recent feminist tactic is arguing that objectivity is a form of oppression. This makes no logical sense, yet it has become a favorite among many feminists as it fits within their “listen and believe” narrative. That narrative does not apply in the reverse. Should a man decide to recount his lived experience, feminists will quickly note that his positions are anecdotal, i.e. subjective, and therefore invalid. Yet when it is about women, particularly feminist women:
5. Beware Male Feminists Who Wield Masculine Objectivity As a Tool in Arguments
Beware men who value objectivity over subjectivity, especially the ones who consider themselves the final arbiters of what objectivity is.
Beware men who say they support women, but make you feel less intelligent for not being as “rational” as they are during arguments about your own rights.
Beware men who “play devil’s advocate” in conversations about your own lived experiences.
Again, Fabello graces us with contradictions:
Beware men who think rational people should always separate the art from the artist, even when that artist is a violent predator.
Like Lena Dunham? Or Marion Zimmer Bradley? Or feminist icon Alice Walker? Feminist tripped over themselves to rail against the abusive, violent behavior of these popular feminist artists, yes? Or did they not separate the art from the artist (although to be accurate, plenty of feminists continue to support the artists as well)?
Beware men who tell you that you’re “overreacting.”
I suppose then that someone should tell Jessica Valenti to stop wearing those “I bathe in male tears” T-shirts. Feminists should stop tweeting the #killallmen hashtag. Most importantly, when men complain about these things, feminists should not accuse men of “overreacting”.
Fabello again lists a host of things feminist constantly do to men:
Beware men who shoulder their way into feminist spaces so they can inject them with male “logic,” “reason,” and “rationality.”
Beware men who don’t own their biases.
Beware men whose first words when you relate your lived experience are “well, actually” or “not all.”
Beware men who ever call you “irrational” or “emotional” to silence you.
Beware men who are more likely to listen to other men’s opinions than yours, even though they consider themselves feminists.
Beware men who think any critique of toxic masculinity is necessarily a personal attack on them – but only because it hits way too close to home.
That is a rather convenient set of double standards. Speaking of which:
6. Beware Male Feminists Who Subscribe to Double Standards
Beware men who have dozens of female friends because they’re good feminists, but sulk (or worse) if you go to coffee with a man.
Beware men who are uncomfortable with how many people you’ve slept with.
Beware men who talk feminism with your friends, but laugh at rape jokes with theirs.
Yet should those male feminists point out that feminist women do all of the above with no apparent care for the hurt and harm it would do to men, that would make them sexist and bad allies.
No feminist list of bad male behavior would be complete without throwing feminism in men’s faces. Feminists argue that masculinity prevents men from expressing their feelings. Men end up in a “man box”, shut off from the world and unable to emote. The solution is feminism. Men must shed their masculinity and embrace formerly feminine attributes. They must express themselves, communicate what they feel, and show vulnerability. That is the cure to masculinity.
Granted, should they do that:
7. Beware Male Feminists Who Resort to Toxic Communication Patterns Because It Benefits Them
Beware men who place a premium on sharing your feelings and thoughts – because that’s “communication” – but don’t share any of theirs.
Feminists spend a great deal of time arguing that women never get to express their voice and that men express theirs too much. The usual feminist retort is that men need to “shut up and listen”. Yet should men do this, they are now they problem because they placed women’s feelings and thoughts ahead of their own, despite that feminists told men to do this.
Should men turn to women for support:
Beware men who seek out women specifically to manage their emotional trauma for them.
Beware men who treat you as a sounding board off of which to bounce their internal struggles with manhood.
Beware men who bemoan how hard it is not to be able to express a full range of emotions more than they actually express a full range of emotions.
Feminists claim to have the solution to men’s problems, so who better to turn to than feminist women?
We finally come to my favorite feminist contradiction — the notion that all feminists are equal, but some feminists are more equal than others:
8. Beware Male Feminists Who See Your Feminism As a Career Ladder for Them
Beware men who believe that they deserve leadership roles in feminist movements.
Beware men who use you as a stepping-stone to get access to speaking positions and book deals and bylines.
Beware men who have made a career off of how feminist they are.
The entire list can be summed up with, “It is not yours, save by unhappy chance. It could have been mine! It should be mine!”
Fabello comes to something I again cannot recall a male feminist ever doing:
9. Beware Male Feminists Who Invalidate Your Queer Identity
Beware men who sexualize your queerness for their own needs.
Beware men who think it’s liberating to “allow” you to have sex with other women, but think it’s cheating if you have sex with other men.
Beware men who are gay or “pro-gay,” but invalidate your queerness because it’s not adequately performative for their liking.
This is another instance where I would like examples of this occurring. Yet it appears this claim is so obscure and likely untrue that Fabello cannot provide links from Everyday Feminism.
The lists ends with male feminists not flagellating themselves enough for feminists’ tastes:
10. Beware Male Feminists Who Ignore Your Intersections
Beware men who won’t acknowledge the intersecting axes of oppression along which your lived experience happens.
Of course, should a male feminists point out that feminist women ignore the man’s intersecting axes of oppression:
Beware men who use examples of their oppressed intersections to invalidate your arguments.
How convenient that feminist women never need to check their privilege. For example, there is no problem if they decide to point out that a male feminist’s movement is failing women. Yet should the male feminist return the favor:
Beware men who think the real problem or the only problem is classism, who criticize you for failing their movement, even as they fail yours.
This “never I” nonsense goes on for the rest of the list. Nothing feminist women do is wrong. They can ignore social movements, focus only on their specific issues, refocus the discussion on whichever oppression they consider worse, engage in as much “transphobia”, “whorephobia”, and “misanoir” as they wish, and never talk about their intersections of privilege. Their feminism does not need to be intersectional, and if it is not that in no way diminishes its worth.
Again, that is rather convenient.
And lest we not forget, challenging the list itself is a sign of a man’s “bad feminism”:
Beware men who are uncomfortable with this list. Beware men who push back against it. Beware men who claim that they’re “not like that.” Beware men who believe that they get to decide whether or not they’re “good” feminists – and that your criticisms are meaningless.
Beware men who don’t constantly question, reevaluate, and reposition themselves. Beware men who are comfortable in their feminist identities and think that the label means that the work is done. Beware men who think that their feminism makes them invincible.
Beware male feminists.
I think Michael Jackson summed the list up best for male feminists: