Today for my Facebook status I used a quote that I find simple but helpful in positing feminism amongst greater cultural opinion and understanding of gender relations. The quote is, "Just because you are pro-Woman, doesn't mean you are anti-Man" (and no I don't know where I heard this originally so I cannot give credit where credit is due, I apologize). The quote is profound because it retorts a popular misconception of feminism in that to be feminist one must be anti-man or a "man-hater" (not to mention, much to my own dismay for my love of the word, but "man-hater" is usually synonymous with "bitch"). My personal definition of feminism is far from a theoretical rejection of men and in fact is both pro-woman and pro-man, or as I like to refer to myself as being pro-human. I define feminism as the simple fact that all humans are created equal and should be treated as such. I know that much too much of the world has a skewed definition of feminism (if they have a definition at all) and it is a personal mission of mine (via this blog) to attempt to redefine the term for all.
That being said, a friend responded to my status update with this question: But can you be pro-man without being anti-woman? As soon as I read that I quickly responded with yes, it is called being pro-human. But then I took a minute to give the question more thought. And the more I think about it the more I am unsure of my answer.
It is easy to be pro-man and anti-woman, in fact, that is our cultural norm. I think that is why when one claims to be a feminist or pro-woman, it is assumed that they must be anti-man, or the opposite of the norm. I claim that it is possible to be pro-woman and pro-man (as a woman) because it takes an extra step of consciousness to become pro-woman, since we are assuming that by cultural norm we are all trained to be pro-man. It takes another step to become pro-woman and anti-man. It is much further removed from the cultural norm. So the question is can one (namely a male) be pro-man and pro-woman? In theory yes, but in function within the larger context of this society is it possible? It seems the problem lies in figuring out what being pro-man really means. In my understanding of gender relations in Western culture, being pro-man seems to be defined as being anti-woman (especially for men). One cannot be proud to be a male without exerting that pride, and the power attached, over women.
As hard as I try I don't think I know of a pro-man/pro-woman male. I know several pro-woman/anti-man males (and females) and several pro-woman/pro-men females but no pro-human men. I would love to think that there are many pro-human males out there and they are just somehow not on my radar but I just don't know if I can trick myself into believing that. In trying to work through this issue by writing this blog post I find myself even more lost. I hope that someone pro/anti/women/men have some opinions or experiences to share.
Can all the pro-humans please stand up?