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Man-friendly feminism?


In this article for feminist site Uplift, stomach Heather Kennedy looks at the often tenuous relationship between men and feminism.

Why is it that the phrase ‘male feminist’ strikes us as implausible as ‘vegan butcher’? Even for men who support human rights and equality, cheap mentioning feminism can resemble the arrival of Marilyn Manson at a Methodist prayer meeting. “All men are rapists” and other radical hissings will often be the
first thing the stereotypical idea of ‘feminism’ calls to mind. In fact a misquote from second wave feminist Susan Brownmiller, this is still one of the most commonly touted ‘facts’ about the movement. The belief that feminists are ‘man-haters’ is another popular retort when someone drops the ‘f-bomb’. One young feminist, so sick of this reaction, was recently moved to set up the now very popular facebook group “Yes I’m a feminist. No I don’t hate men”. Radical feminism was a marginal strand even in the seventies. But now, when such ideas are thinner on the ground than ever, many men still regard feminism as an
odious political carbuncle.

The mainstream media has much to answer for when it comes to misguiding the public about the true character of feminism. Their frenzied vilification
overlooks the enduring inequalities facing women; that they still earn on average 20% less than men for doing that same job; that at 19.5% of all MPs, we are going backwards in terms of female political representation; that violence is responsible for more death and disability in women than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

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