You Can’t Be A “Real Man” Without Being A Feminist

When I hear someone say “I need a REAL MAN!” it’s usually in the context of heterosexual women speaking about the trials and tribulations of dealing with the fuckboys of the world. When they say “real man” they are most often referring to someone who is mature and knows how to take care of business. This man is responsible, mindful, and respectful of this woman. He makes her feel like a queen in the relationship, even when the rest of the patriarchal world is shitting on her. But for those men out there disputing these disgruntled women’s assessment of the lack of mutuality in their relationships, they need to step back and realize that being a “real man” is about equality, and that equality is most definitely feminist.

These “macho” men that are against feminism, but claiming to be a real man (in my opinion) lack the understanding of the connection of it all. They fail to see the correlation of the conflict within their personal relationship and to the rest of the outside world. A world that has influenced their way of thinking about the expression of masculinity. A rhetoric that is filled with contradictions. How is it possible that some men can have the utmost respect for their mothers, grandmothers, and daughters, while thinking that the rest of the women in the world aren’t deserving of the same respect? These types of men need to realize that feminism is not simply lesbian, man-hating, bra-burning radicals, it’s about respecting another human being.

In order to fulfill that role of a “real man,” a male must actually reject patriarchy and let go of all the expectations of benefits that it gives them. Essentially, they need to embrace their inner feminism, even if they don’t like to name it that. To treat a woman fairly, allow her to maintain her own agency, and make her feel like her man is fulfilling the masculine role she requires, a man has to accept that he will need to let go of the power that he gets from his gender. As bell hooks puts it, these benefits come at a price, because “In return for all the goodies men receive from patriarchy, they are required to dominate women, to exploit and oppress us, using violence if they must to keep patriarchy intact.” A woman looking for a real man is not going to stand for such treatment, therefore any real men out there would have to accept the loss of these ill-gotten gains. If you only get to access male privilege by acting like a jerk, you aren’t going to get the woman. So if you want to be the “real man” she wants, you have to learn how to act right, allowing her the same human respect you would give your buddies, which would then make you a feminist. That’s all the term really means!

These men don’t realize the vicious cycle this type of mentality perpetuates, especially if this “real man” has kids. These types of fathers that reject feminism are telling their sons that it’s okay to treat females as second-class citizens, and showing their daughters that they are not worthy of the same recognition as males. These micro-level expressions of anti-feminism at home contribute to the never-ending conflict between men and women.

So dude, wake up and realize that it’s okay to be comfortable with not being a dick to another human being, especially the particular human beings that made sacrifices for generations to bring you into this world. So now you can make some sacrifices too, and give women some real R.E.S.P.E.C.T.