Can men be feminists? Yeah, but some feminist men unfortunately do not use their label as a feminist for good. Instead, they use gender equality to hide their true abusive intentions. Though this is not aimed toward men who rightfully call themselves feminists, who do not portray abusive tactics, it is important to be aware of the male "feminists" who use their label to disrespect the entire feminist movement.
From questioning women's appearances to expecting sex for having similar views as women, stay away from "feminist" men who portray any of these issues.
Male 'Feminists' Who Question Your Appearance
One of the most prominent issues with feminist men is that they believe that their beliefs in feminism can also transfer into questioning women's appearances. This can range from something as simple as mascara on your eyelashes to the skin you choose to show.
This is most commonly seen with male "feminists" who tell the women in their lives that they look more attractive without makeup on. Or they tell them that they don't have to wear makeup "for them." This is completely missing the point of self-expression. Women, surprisingly enough, do not wear makeup to please men.
This same concept can also transfer into wearing high heels, short skirts, and low cut tops. They try to spin the message that they do not approve of your appearance by telling you that you do not "have to" wear those things to look beautiful. Natural beauty, including nude lipsticks, light eyeshadow, and nothing too overwhelming are often encouraged by "feminists" like this.
The reality is women are the only ones who get to decide what to wear, what to put on their skin, and how they want to rock it.
Those Who Believe Women Have to Compete
Feminist men who pit women against each other in a way to "build you up" are entirely missing the point of the feminist movement. For example, if you find a feminist man who often tells you that you are much smarter, more more liberated, and much better than most women, try not to roll your eyes too hard.
Often times, men like this will use feminism in an entirely opposite way. This can even go as far as pinning you against women who are not "feminist enough." In no way is pitting women against each other an idea of the feminist movement, no matter if they do not have the same ideologies as you. There is no reason for women to feel a need to compete with over women to prove their own womanhood.
'Feminists' with Double Standards
Double standards are entirely too popular for men who are using feminism only to their own advantage. I could go on forever providing you with examples of double standards, but I'll leave you with a few for now. First is men who pick and choose when to be a feminist. With your friends, they might spit out the most convincing feminist ideas, but pay attention to the way that he acts around his own friends, who might not be as openly feminist.
Another example is that 'feminists' do not believe that you should hang out with male friends, but have a ton of other female friends, simply because they are feminist. This can also be taken one step further, where a man does not want to be tied down, but instead expect you to put your love life on hold until they are done exploring their sexuality.
The final example is that these men constantly refer to their ex-girlfriends as being "crazy," every single one of them, when they seem to portray similar obsessive tendencies. Do you see the pattern?
Men Who Want to Control Your Sexuality
This is one of the most popular, and most disgusting issues with feminist men. To say it a bit more straight forward, men use feminist to try to get laid. They assume that because they are wearing a "feminist as fuck" t-shirt to the bar, they will automatically deserve a sexual favor. Because they relate to women so much.
Genuine men who call themselves feminists are not looking for any type of reward in return. Having feminist ideas does not deserve a pat on the back if you are a man, let alone a woman giving you their body. They're blatantly ignoring and disrespecting the entire point of feminism.
Another way that male "feminists" seek control over women's sexuality is that they use words like "body positivity" and "liberation" when discussing sex with them. This is a way that men guilt women into sex, without mentioning the fact that they have a right not to have sex as well. Remember, no matter what, sex is one of the things women don't owe you.
Male 'Feminists' Who Use Gender Equality to Disguise Abuse
Male 'feminists' are often all talk. They proclaim their beliefs to your face, but their actions prove their true ideas and intentions. This can often be seen in men who use gender equality beliefs to disguise abuse. For example, they might use the words "slut" or "bitch" in an argument, or just to reference other women besides you.
This can also be seen with men who learn of the worlds "gaslighting" and "manipulating" so that they can use them if you disagree with them in the slightest. Why do men feel the need to belittle women's rights? We're not sure, but if you encounter a man doing this, he's not a real feminist.
Those Who Only Use Their Label for Female Validation
Many feminist men use their "feminist" label to provide a fake persona that will potentially result in female validation. This will be apparent because they will only use this label in return for something.
It become suspicious when anyone is overly eager to identify themselves as a feminist when there is a cost at stake. Be aware of the men who use their feminist label to build up their persona, whether this be to prove that they are "sensitive" or "relatable" or really anything. You shouldn't feel as if someone is trying to prove their beliefs to you, especially if you're not questioning them to begin with.
Men Who Portray Toxic Communication
There are many ways that people communicate can quickly turn toxic, when using the mask of feminism. Though we all know that communication is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship, it can also be used negatively.
For example, if men pretend that their vulnerability is a feminist act in order to dump their emotions on you, they are portraying toxicity. This can also be used the other way around, in which men determine when and where you can have deep or tough conversations.
They can also guilt you into sharing your thoughts and feelings because of the need for communication between the two of you, while still refusing to share any of their own thoughts. Much like we touched on with double standards, there must be equal communication on both sides of your relationship in order for it to be healthy.
'Feminists' Who Pick and Choose When to Validate
Feminist men who pick and choose when they want to validate do not deserve to call themselves feminists. This is especially true for those who do not validate queer identities. This is often done because it is not performative for their liking. Or they simply want to pick and choose when they want to validate a type of feminist.
Those Who Use Feminism as a Career Ladder
Something that is not as thought of when it comes to issues with feminist men is using feminism as a career ladder. As a terrible act, men who believe that they deserve leadership roles in feminist movements do not understand the movement at all. They may also use feminism as a stepping stone in order to achieve milestones in their career. This can range from speaking positions to book deals.
However, this does not mean male feminism is bad...
Feminist men are clearly not all bad. However, there are a lot of flaws in the way that feminism is used to hide behind toxic behaviors. We want to recognize that feminism is meant to express gender equality. And of course this means that men have to be feminists for this movement to be successful.
However, it is often too easy to take advantage of this role. And with this comes issues. Now that we've recognized the issues in the movement, we can work to resolve these problems, and work together for equality among men and women in the future.