I read this pretty great post last week about trying to talk to someone about feminism and it basically summed up the types of responses men and even some women give in regard to feminism today. It can be so incredibly frustrating to try to explain feminism to someone who refuses to listen and offers awful contrary opinions to your own (although you can basically say this about any argument). Yet with feminism, because the movement has been in flux for years (arguably starting with the women’s suffragette movement) many people have actually commented to me that feminism is “over,” a sentiment reflected in this post’s generic “man” response. So, how do you talk to someone who believes that women are doing just fine?

Then I came across another article that argues that feminists are not responsible for educating men. This was really interesting to read and I would love to hear some responses from our other bloggers and readers on the subject.

Do we owe it to ourselves and our daughters and future daughters to educate men about feminism? Or do we rely on the men who question and derail our progress to figure it out on their own? Personally I tend to argue my point of view as long as my audience is willing to listen. When it comes to contrary opinions (for any argument) it is obviously difficult, but in civil discourse, I’d rather not shirk away from my beliefs. Yet, the idea that men rely on women to educate them about feminism is new territory for me and unlike any other confrontation. I found the end of the article to be the most poignant, the writer argues:

Spending time and energy nurturing men through their journey of self-discovery is not only incredibly dull, it actually serves to reinforce existing power dynamics and keeps us from collectivizing as women and enacting real change.

My advice to men who genuinely wish to learn about feminism is this: read and listen to the voices of women when they explain what misogyny feels like and how it operates. Never ask women to find resources for you; seriously, get a library card. Or the internet. Don’t interrupt to disagree or derail by using individual examples of women in positions of power or instances of what you see as “reverse sexism” (here’s a hot tip: “misandry” isn’t a real thing.)

To paraphrase Audre Lorde:
When people of colour are expected to educate white people as to their humanity, when women are expected to educate men, lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world, the oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions.

So what do you think? Are we responsible for educating others about feminism? Or is that actually counteractive?

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