Following some of my recent posts I have received many comments from men about their views on feminism. Some of them are not bothered, some are supportive and some even give examples of how they enact this support. They can go to the top of the class! Well, some of them can…
Unsurprisingly, I have encountered some examples of what I like to call False Feminism. This refers to actions which men believe to be feminist, but actually come across as condescending and sexist. For example, I think one man may have confused supporting women’s rights with Patronising The Life Out Of Them when he insisted on pushing me to the inside of the pavement to protect me from the scary road. Apparently some women are even allowed to drive cars nowadays? Shocking! Another frequent misconception is that a man physically defending a woman from a verbal insult is supporting the movement. Au contraire my chivalrous knight, punching an aggressive person for being rude to ‘your woman’ actually makes the situation worse, never mind demonstrating that you believe you own her.
But the worst offender on my list of False Feminism is the man who supports gender equality by giving a woman financial security. Funnily enough, as well as being able to drive, women can go to work and earn money themselves as readily as men can (ignoring the wage gap, that’s a whole new rant), so to declare to a woman that she will never have to pay for anything ever again is actually the opposite of supporting equality and completely inappropriate. Especially on a first date. Speaking of which, flashing a wad of tens and presenting expensive jewellery is equally unhelpful. This type of behaviour is otherwise known as buying a woman and, as much as I appreciate the offer, I would rather not become a diluted prostitute. Maybe that’s what I should expect from Tinder.
I realise that this might sound like a rejection of anything men do for women, but it really is not. If a man suggests a date then he can by all means pay for it, but this should not be an assumed norm and most importantly should work when the roles are reversed. The point is, whether you are walking along the road, ‘defending’ a woman or paying for her dinner, you should not assume that your role as a man is the one which denies her any responsibility or autonomy. Go on, take a break from reinforcing gender roles.