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Becoming a Male-Gendered Feminist

April 8, 2009

I frequently get strange looks when I announce myself as a feminist. I am clearly gendered male in physical appearance, though my clothing displays androgyny. My first post concerns the journey I have made to become a male-gendered feminist.

I have a deep desire to be the “good person”, which leads me to feminism on a selfish level. When I operate on this level, I am able to in good conscious tell any woman I meet that I “know how she feels”, when I in fact have no idea. Operating on a selfish level, I have no ability to access the embodied knowledge of being a woman, nor understand the emotional and bodily response to living in a patriarchal culture.

To move beyond this, I desire to also become a feminist at a level of deep empathy and understanding. To accomplish this, I try to engage in what I think of as “feminist appenticeship”. This is a process of forming close relationships with feminist women, asking questions, and “performing” as a female feminist.

It is only through this process that I feel I could become an embodied feminist, moving beyond my selfish desire to be the “good person”.

I will depend greatly on comments from readers to determine what I will write about next. My largest question is “Am I allowed to know?” “Is this knowledge forbidden to me?”

~Thomas

3 Comments
  1. Carrie permalink
    April 9, 2009 9:55 am

    I love that you’re writing about this. It’s rare to hear men fully engage with feminism on this sort of level, so thanks for opening the discussion. I’m curious to hear more about what “‘performing’ as a female feminist” means to you.

    • April 9, 2009 9:59 am

      Carrie,

      Thanks for the response! My next post will be about the meanings of performing gender roles and feminisms.

  2. mariazk permalink
    April 11, 2009 9:15 am

    ‘I have a deep desire to be the “good person”, which leads me to feminism on a selfish level’; I loved this Thomas.

    Looking forward to reading more on performing gender roles; your article makes me question if the differences between the two genders are socially constructed to define and allocate roles. Is it possible to mainstream gender by redefining gender roles; in that sense both men and women will switch roles and better understand the other gender.

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