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How to know if a male feminist is really a feminist

(56 Posts)
Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 22:52:13

I've been seeing a new guy for a few months. After a miserable and unequal marriage I'm trying to keep my eyes wide open and not get bowled over by emotions and I think I'm doing ok so far. He talks the talk of a feminist and we don't spend enough time together in environments that I'd be able to see if he walks the walk too, as it's mainly at home that inequality occurs in relationships.
Are there any signs I can watch out for, to catch out even the most practised fake feminist?! Apologies if this sounds really cynical, he is very lovely, but I never again want to find myself in an unequal relationship.

Hellywelly10 Tue 05-Dec-17 22:57:02

Think you just need to get to know him. It will take time.

BertrandRussell Tue 05-Dec-17 22:58:55

"Speak softly and carry a big stick"

ZigZagandDustin Tue 05-Dec-17 23:02:26

I'm not sure your approach is healthy about this. Wanting to 'catch out even the most practiced feminist'. For most people feminism and understanding inequality is a journey. And lots of learning involved and eurika moments.

Why don't you just focus on getting to know him and if you like enough of what you see then great. If he sometimes gets the issues a bit wrong or has a perspective ou disagree with, then raise it with him and discuss it.

Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 23:09:31

That line was sort of a joke Zig but I get your point! I guess I'm asking for red flags, signs etc that it's all talk and no follow through?

ZigZagandDustin Tue 05-Dec-17 23:13:18

Are you worried you'll find it hard to recognise when a man is treating you badly? This is a problem a lot of women have. But if you know what respect looks like I wouldn't get too caught up in the little details.

GuardianLions Tue 05-Dec-17 23:15:48

I agree with zig - it is his reaction and way of dealing with things that counts. For me the clincher is about porn - whether he sees it as problematic - oh and how he speaks about female colleagues. If he genuinely has confidence in their expertise, he's a good egg. The personal habit thing is a tough one. Does he offer to do the dishes or lend a hand in other ways when he visits? I think it is all about discussion though - he should want to make you happy and not make you sad - if he won't budge on the things that make you sad then probably not good to persevere in.

BahHumbygge Tue 05-Dec-17 23:16:50

Ok, I'm slightly biased in that I believe that men can only be feminist allies; that aside I'd look out for mansplainy vibes and his ability to really listen to your perspective, not make excuses or minimise your/women in general's experiences.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Dec-17 23:18:27

Has he got a penis ?

He's not a feminist

whitehandledkitchenknife Tue 05-Dec-17 23:19:11

What AnyFucker said.

gingerclementine Tue 05-Dec-17 23:20:26

One way is to behave the way you want to behave and respond the way you choose to respond and see if he tries to change you. I remember DH once snappily ordering me to do something. I said, if you ever, ever talk to me like that again I'll walk out the door and never return. He never has.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 05-Dec-17 23:21:00

I'm with @AnyFucker

I asked DH the other day if he was a feminist. My awesome, does more housework than me, treats everyone with respect, walks the walk DH said, "no I'm not. Because I know what that word means". He is an ally.

GuardianLions Tue 05-Dec-17 23:22:17

Yes if he describes himself as a feminist then he is a mansplainer. He can be an ally or pro-feminist.

BertrandRussell Tue 05-Dec-17 23:29:49

I have an adult dd. She and her friends have all been "burnt" by men using "I am a feminist" as a chat up line. Sad but true.

Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 23:29:50

Anyfucker, my thoughts exactly! Trying hard not to be too cynical though.
Guardian - I have dc so he doesn't visit until they're in bed after dinner, hence no need to do dishes etc. He's offered help with a couple of DIY things and I've turned him down, said I'd rather learn how to do it, he said he likes that about me. When we're at his he cooks for me, leaves the washing up for the next day and I don't offer to help.
He has one female colleague who he speaks highly of because she's very capable - he's her manager and he wants to promote her, over several men who have worked there longer.
He's currently reading the new book by Sara Pascoe and tells me things he's learning from it.
He does occasionally have a slight mansplainy vibe and I've been cutting him off, telling him directly he's mansplaining or making a joke referencing a mansplainer we were laughing at once in a restaurant. He takes it well.
I suppose my cynicism comes from knowing that often in this honeymoon part men will fall over themselves to get it right, but once you live together or have a baby the mask slips...

Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 23:31:03

Oh and yes he doesn't call himself a feminist. Doesn't actually claim anything.

Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 23:33:37

Oh Bertrand I can believe it, I see it happen.

PositivelyPERF Tue 05-Dec-17 23:38:56

*Has he got a penis ?

He's not a feminist*

Unless he identifies as a woman. 😉

Mamakiks Tue 05-Dec-17 23:43:20

Positively grin

GeeLondon Wed 06-Dec-17 00:00:14

Talk him through some of the unconscious bias training exercises ;)

aplus.com/a/do-you-have-a-gender-bias-bbc-three-video.html

hollowtree Wed 06-Dec-17 00:06:19

Sorry to ask questions on your thread OP, but in relation to some previous posts: what is 'mansplaining' please everyone?

HarryHarry Wed 06-Dec-17 00:08:21

I don't understand why you think men can't be feminists. Can someone explain?

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 06-Dec-17 00:13:44

Well some people think they can be.

I don't. For a few reasons. They don't have lived experience so their job is to support women in the struggle, not include themselves. Feminists are fighting for their own, and other women's, liberation from the patriarchy, which involves a loss of power for men. It is a rare, and I would argue mythical, man who is offering to give away his money, power, status and voice.

See Louis CK and Joss Weedon for real life examples.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 06-Dec-17 00:16:45

Oh and feminist men are choosing a type of feminism. Almost exclusively pro-sex work, pro-gender self ID, pro-choice (I don't mean abortion) feminism. Which coincidentally suits men absolutely fabulously. Then the loudest voice in feminism becomes that voice and drowns out women.

CaretakerToNuns Wed 06-Dec-17 00:23:05

No male can be a feminist.

They're all as bad as each other, every single fucking one of them.

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