Today I am walking; I say this as if to say that I don’t walk every day, on the contrary, I do, in fact, I would describe myself as an active walker, but today is different, today I am walking on my day off just for leisure, to relax and as I so often do search my mind in order to answer the many questions I have about the life and the world I am living in. ...
It is important to highlight that it is not always as deep and searching as I am making it sound, I am very proud of who I am, where I come from and the beliefs I have which I feel very strongly about. However, there are many times where I feel very detached from the world I am in, there is so much going on and to be quite frank so much bullshit that I try my best not to get involved in too much unless absolutely necessary.
I would describe myself as someone who believes in equality for all, I see no difference between us as people, to the extent where often this creates problems with myself in certain positions where I treat everyone very much the same. I am known to question people often and especially friends, this is by no means with an intention to offend, but instead to discover, learn and clarify certain questions that I have. This has at times caused arguments, sparked debates and more recently end certain ties I have with people. It is important to highlight that I am by no means an ‘out there’ personality and I rarely engage in conversations on specific subjects unless I have a strong impulse to do so, whether it is to have my say or to really (as previously stated) question what on earth some people are talking about.
A topic that has been very prominent for me in the past year has been gender; I have found myself being drawn into debates on men and women with a strange enthusiasm, at times genuinely fascinated with people’s perspectives and at other times disgusted and confused, very confused. There have been many times that I have felt slightly ‘attacked’ for being a man in the society we live in, does this offend me? Yes, very much so, but sometimes really and truly… no. But why no? I suppose it comes from the comments and actions of men towards women in history but also very much in present day. When I read feminist writings I more often than not find myself completely engaged and excited to read such point of views (and truths) that I feel truly need to be addressed and discussed. But that is where sometimes the issue lies, where I fit as a man when it comes to addressing and discussing the subject of gender, particularly with the women in my life who have strong passions for female equality in a largely male dominated world. Do I have an opinion? I feel I do and am entitled to, but then I also feel conflict in questioning whether morally I have the right? And thus also been told by certain feminists that I don’t have the right? Which is quite funny really, as I am someone who would describe himself as a supporter for male and female equality yet I question should I just keep my mouth shut because I am male? This psychological ping pong is adding a strange layer to my walk! It is important to note that this is mainly in relation to discussions or readings on the subject and not physical actions; I can assure you if I hear a man outwardly discriminating women I am quick to jump on it and also if I see a man physically harm a woman (with no just cause) a side of me comes out which is very unexpected from my general demeanour. The same feelings I have are also in the reverse of discriminating against men and violence against them, otherwise I wouldn’t be very good at seeking equality!
The question I guess I am asking myself today is as a man can I be a feminist? I would argue no because I am not a woman, but I would argue that I am pro feminist. I would also argue that for feminism to move forward men need to be more pro feminist, as I truly fear whether we can strive for male and female equality in this male dominated patriotic society without men on board. But also the judgements on ‘all men being the same’ would need to be dropped to achieve this. In order for equality to move forward we as people need to do this together and not have the ‘track record’ of certain men effect the views of some feminists towards other men.