Yesterday, through DesiPundit, I happened to read this post, which was in reaction to the reaction over ‘the Maureen Dowd article’. (I’m too lazy to try and find a link to it – I think there’s one in Uma’s post on the subject.) I found Dowd’s article boring, and my reactions to it are few, but Amardeep’s post interested me due to its title: Are Male Feminists Necessary? The post is very interesting, and worth a read, although I agreed with little of its content. The author never actually answered his title question, at least not directly, so I thought maybe I could talk about it, being a ‘male feminist’ myself.

First, we need to examine the question itself. Necessary to whom?

For most male feminists themselves, becoming a feminist has nothing to do with necessity. They disagree with the current conditions of/attitudes towards women, and agree with feminist opinions. It is simply a matter of ideology.

So anyway, are they necessary at all? They are useful, for one very depressing reason. The sad fact is this – male feminists are useful in either converting other men, or getting them to empathise with feminism. Why is this sad, you ask me? It is sad because, for most men, a guy with feminist opinions has more credibility than a woman with feminist opinions. The very simple, and extremely faulty, reasoning for this is that of course women will have feminist opinions. There are two kinds of men who think this: the ones who think that women’s opinions matter less than men’s opinions, and the ones who disbelieve women because they figure that everybody complains about their lot. And if there are men who are interested in it, despite the fact that it doesn’t ‘affect’ them (which is certainly not true), then it might have some legitimacy.

Michael Moorcock, a self-declared male feminist, once wrote an introduction to a book called Bird of Prey, and the introduction was also published in his own book Casablanca, where I read it. Bird of Prey is based on a play about sexual abuse. The book and the play were written by Steve Tasane & Carly Dreyfuss, and Tasane played the lead role of a female child in the play, in a desperate attempt to get the male-dominated world to notice the theme of the play.

So maybe we are necessary for now. But we’re hoping for a time when we aren’t. But that is the goal of feminism in general as well – to render itself unnecessary.


The comments to Amardeep’s post were almost as interesting as the post itself. One particular chap, Qalandar, made some good points, and then said the following:

by way of anecdote, I have learned over the years that my dating prospects increase in direct proportion to how “normal” (i.e. non-feminist) I seem to women

which interested me because I have had some confirmed non-feminists say to me that the only reason I call myself a feminist is that women like me better because of that. I can’t say it affected my dating prospects, but that is mainly because I have none.

In reply to Qalandar’s comment, however, I am inclined to agree with this comment, although I myself wouldn’t have used as many question marks:
On a lighter note, what kinds of women are you dating Qalandar????? They would rather have you normal than feminist???? And they come from this planet I take it????!

What do you think? Women and men, please tell.

PS: By the way, I also have some thoughts on the fact that we have to keep calling ourselves ‘male feminists’ rather than simply feminists, but more on that later.