A few days ago, a male friend asked my opinion on this topic. Apparently, he’d had a conversation with a woman who claimed that to be feminist, you must be female.
I was curious. I Googled ‘can men be feminists’ to see what was being said, if anything.
It turns out that quite a lot has been said in recent years. Heated stuff in fact.
A number of journalists and other professional experts have had their say. And a number argue that men can’t be feminist. (References are at the end of the article.)
That got me thinking.
I decided that such arguments are based on a limited definition of the word feminist. I consulted the dictionary.
Both the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries define feminism and feminist in terms of equal rights for women and men.
To me, that definition is very limited.
The battle for equal rights has been about equality within a patriarchal system, which by definition elevates men and masculine values above women and feminine values.
There have been centuries of suppression of Feminine teachings. I am using a capital ‘F’ to differentiate between feminine, pertaining to females, and the gender free Feminine.
The Feminine Wound is a cocktail of violation and invalidation that affects both women and men, albeit in differing ways.
Until the last couple of generations, women’s roles and entitlements have been restricted. Women were admired for their more ‘yin’ qualities. Meanwhile, such qualities expressed by men were often considered to be weak.
A natural law of energy, according to the Tao, is that any extreme will transform to its opposite. Therefore, it is not surprising that there has been a compensating shift as Western women, in the interests of equality, have been educated and trained to emphasise masculine or ‘yang’ qualities. Meanwhile, men have been encouraged to get in touch with their more feminine sides.
To be fair, a re-balance has been needed. But a swing from one extreme to the other is not the answer.
Patriarchy has promoted shadow or wounded forms of both masculine and feminine.
The ‘glass ceiling’ of patriarchy is that it does not allow for the collective appearance of healed Masculine and Feminine energies to emerge.
In myth and story, not tainted by a patriarchal re-write, the Divine Feminine is the force that transforms wounded forms of masculine and feminine.
The Divine Masculine is accessed through the grace of initiation to the Feminine.
Therefore, shouldn’t true Feminism, of the type that both men and women can and should support, advocate the breaking of this patriarchal ‘glass ceiling’?
A capital ‘F’ Feminist might be a person who works for a new paradigm, where equal rights would be unquestioned, where Feminine values are honoured and where there is recognition, understanding and valuing of difference.
This must involve the healing of the wounded feminine in both women and men. The Feminine does not emasculate men and make them feminine. Quite the opposite.
The motivation for men to be Feminist is 1) to support the women who are moving out of victimization and into empowerment, through personal healing and transformation, 2) to make a bid for their own healing at the same time, and 3) to make a stand against the insane levels of destruction/violation/abuse of all forms of life on this planet.
One hundred years ago, Emmeline Pankhurst stated (apparently) ‘We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half.’
What do you think?