Why do I put so much effort into being the best ally I can be to the feminists around me? Because I need feminism. I want feminism. I am sick and tired of living in a world without feminism. I was a part of that world for thirty years and I’m done. I’m done with the hyper-masculinity. I’m done excusing bad behavior from man-children as “just the way men are.” I’m done injecting testosterone into everything I do to prove that I’m in “dominion.” I’m done with the predatory, animal-kingdom assumptions that have driven so much of male/female interaction for millennia.
Nobody but a feminist treats me as though I have power and autonomy over my basest instincts. I need feminism because I’m tired of being told I’m biologically incapable of appreciating a woman’s beauty without objectifying or assaulting her. Feminists are the only ones who expect me to behave like more than an animal. Even Christians, who prize self-denial and abstinence from evil, have given up when it comes to controlling sexual desire and objectification. Believe it or not, I can keep my desires from evolving into predatory behavior. I do that with food and alcohol. I can do that with sex. I don’t need a “clean room” environment devoid of triggers to my sex drive. “Modesty” doesn’t work like that in the real world anyway.
I want feminism because my religion’s and society’s idea of manhood is repugnant to me. Hyper-masculine, emotionally constipated, aggressive, testosterone-fueled… that doesn’t sound like any adult I would entrust with responsibility. These are the people being pressed into leadership in many churches! I teach my children differently, and expect adults to behave differently too.
I support feminism because I make a much more competent friend and equal to a woman than an owner of one. My wife and daughters are my sisters in Christ. They stand before God with value and person-hood equal to mine. I have not the right, the responsibility nor the ability to take away the choices, ministry or self-agency that God has given them. They are not my possessions, to be protected in the same manner I protect my wallet or my car.
I like feminism because I like to look my wife and daughters in the eye with the knowledge I’m fighting alongside them. I am much too self-aware at this point to be able to behave in a hyper-masculine, aggressive, authoritarian manner and be proud of it. I’ve seen how ridiculous that looks, and I could never stand the embarrassment of knowing I acted like that. I’ve moved beyond the point where I can ignore that or pretend it is praiseworthy.
I work to ally with women because I don’t believe for a second that life gave me the short end of the stick when I had two daughters. I love my girls. I would never trade them for sons. I think it’s sad that there are men out there who would. I don’t need any more testosterone in my life. I have enough, thanks. My masculinity isn’t so fragile as to be smothered by tea parties and snuggling. A masculinity that is exclusive of the nurturing qualities of gentleness and sensitivity is perfectly repulsive to me. We’ve worshiped that ideal for long enough, and the resulting destruction is obvious. Sometimes I nurture and CFM leads. Sometimes vice versa. It happens.
I need feminism because I refuse to go through life without the wisdom of half the world’s population. Seriously. We have to stop pretending that women are incapable of leading. We have to respect women as human beings. They are not less, they are not weaker and they are not smaller. It isn’t rocket science, but like rocket science it goes against thousands of years of popular thought. We stopped bloodletting, so I think we can handle this one too.
I know that as a man I cannot bestow the title of “Ally” upon myself. It isn’t a title anyway. It’s a trust that’s placed upon me, that can be easily broken; However, I seek it with fervency. I work hard to attain this because my wife and daughters want me fighting for them.
They’re why I do this. Why do I try so hard to be an ally? Because of them.
And really, it’s a little selfish too. I want it. I’ve reached a point where I no longer want to live in a world without it. I work to be an ally because the world needs feminism. I need it.
I need feminism.