Things that don't make men feminists
Performative feminism, or feminism for the sake of earning brownie points, is a tactic that many self-proclaimed "nice guys" resort to. And, because feminist men are so hard to come by, we often fail to identify those who are exploiting the label for their own benefit. This article serves to help with just that.
Here are some things fake feminist men might be doing that you should keep a lookout for.
Wearing nail polish
Wearing nail polish as a man can, in fact, be a mini-protest, an act of challenging the gender norms that dictate who is allowed to wear what. That being said, the hype around men with painted nails can often get excessive.
Pretty nails aren't a marker of feminist men. Sporting dainty nail art does not mean anything if you're also a misogynist who denies the patriarchy behind closed doors.
The same goes for men who dress in traditionally female clothing or use makeup. If there is anything the internet has taught me, it's that James Charles is the opposite of a feminist man.
Sharing feminist posts online
Being vocal about your activism online can be a great form of self-expression for the supporters of feminism. But sharing posts about women's rights and liberation every once in a while on your social media does not necessarily mean you are a feminist.
Are you listening to the women in your life, standing up to sexist jokes, and actively trying to unlearn the internalised misogyny that is deeply ingrained in all of us? If you are not doing all these things, you are not a real male ally.
You would do more good by helping your mother in the kitchen instead of conveniently retweeting a post that says men should share housework equally with women.
Being friends with women
Just like having black friends does not negate one's racism, being friends with women also doesn't make you a feminist. It's simple math.
So, don't expect the "some of my best friends are women" defence to work if you are caught doing something blatantly sexist.
Self-identifying as a feminist
This one applies to everyone and not just men.
Although it may sound counter intuitive, the act of identifying as a feminist alone isn't enough. Your beliefs and actions have to align with what the movement represents for you to earn a place in it.
For example, you can't call yourself a feminist and then oppose women's right to abortion because these two stands are fundamentally contradictory.
Note that while the things on this list don't make you feminist in and of themselves, they also don't make you anti-feminist.
At the end of the day, the feminist movement heavily relies on its male allies to help make changes in a society that is still run by men. So, if you are a man who is a feminist for the right reasons, and not just to prove that you're different from the others, kudos to you.
Nahian is the friend that initiates group hugs. Find her at email@example.com