A Male Feminist?

OK: I know I may be jumping into the snake pit here, but here goes...

First: Is it possible for a man to be a Feminist?

I have always felt that women have gotten a bad deal in current society, and I have tried the best I can to make amends in my personal and professional life. What I have found interesting is that although women have become more comfortable taking charge in the work place and maybe even domestically, most of the women I have met demure when they are in the bedroom and prefer a sexually submissive role (much to my disappointment).

Is this inborn or is it just the final frontier?

guy10 guy10
51-55, M
27 Responses Feb 15, 2010

Men can be feminists and many men are. Inequality for women = inequality for men.
I think you should learn more about feminism and what it means. You'll find that a lot of your learned daily habits are in a way derogotory towards women, because that's what you've been taught from birth. Not your fault! But you can learn and identify them and change them. Such as assuming only women are feminists and that we would tear you apart for being a man (your snake pit comment).
The sexual comment was also not great. But that's what we have been taught since birth. A better way to talk about that would be to ask "How do we challenge traditional gender roles in the bedroom?" for example.

I'm surprised nobody pointed this out sooner, so I'm going to give you some advice. You can choose not to accept it, but if you understand where I'm coming from, your experiences in the feminist community will be a little more positive.<br />
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Saying "I may be jumping into a snake pit here" is highly flavored of misogyny. It is a common trope for anti-feminists to say "you're too loud and angry" or compare us to harpies or other such shrill and/or dangerous creatures, all in an effort to discredit what we have to say.<br />
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I'm not saying you intended to come across this way, but in the future, if you want to take that extra step toward not looking like an anti-feminist, you could do better to avoid implying that feminists will by default react antagonistically.<br />
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Here's a terrific resource: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

Sorry, I read mammalian, for mammary.<br />
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You seem rather intense, thereaveofdarknesss.<br />
But I disagree. People don't follow logic at all.<br />
I see more and more people choosing convienience over sensibility everyday.

What do you mean I'm reducing you to boobs with a history? For millions of years, male mammals have generally dominated female mammals sexually. This varies somewhat by species, but the vast majority are this way, and primates are no exception. Humans tend away from this trend, but our history does not show such tendencies to be either strong nor ancient. So it is well ingrained genetically in us humans to follow those mammalian tendencies. The main thing that allows us to break free from that is our strong sense of free will and both ability and desire to choose our own unique destiny. Many people still fit in with the crowd without thinking, but more and more humans are choosing to follow logic instead of instinct.

Oh geeezzz, "mammalian heritage."<br />
Now you have reduced us to boobs with a history?<br />
You wanna-be male feminists are really off base.

Men can definitely be feminists. A feminist is someone who chooses to be aware that our society treats women unfairly, and wants women and men to all be treated fairly and basically equal.<br />
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I think most women are by nature sexually submissive, it's part of our mammalian heritage. But there is a lot of variance. It's not uncommon at all to meet submissive men or dominant women. In fact there are probably a lot of people like this who don't realize it because society makes them afraid to admit this to themselves.

So, the questions still remain, <br />
1) Can a man be a Feminist?<br />
and <br />
2) Is sexual dominance/submissiveness just the last frontier of Feminism, or is it predetermined that most women are sexually submissive?

@Guy10:<br />
I believe almost every aspect of our lives is controlled by a combination of nature and nurture. Our DNA builds us into a malleable person who has certain limitations, but ultimately we respond to everything that happens in our lives. I don't believe in nature vs nurture. I believe nature x nurture = life.<br />
I do believe that men and women have dominance or submissiveness built in to some extent. But i know for certain that it is also a social construct. And I strongly believe that men or women are fairly commonly born with the opposite nature of the standard; that women are often born with dominance in their nature, and that men are often born with submissiveness in their nature. But in the dominance/submissiveness aspect, we humans seem to be more malleable than anything else. So I think this makes it hard to determine how someone was born, because the events in their life are more likely to have had the most profound impact on their dominance or submmissiveness.<br />
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@Grunt101:<br />
Maybe you make yo own dam sammich

hehe,,,chop away, Guy! I am certainly no domestic goddess. Drop by our house on any Sunday, I'm out mowing the lawn and Mr.Lilt is doing the laundry and dishes. I'll leave what we do later that night up to your imagination.

Offthecuff- I too enjoy the smell of Pinesol (but maybe not as much as you-LOL); but at the risk of blowing my cover I have to admit that I hate domestic chores- I would much rather go out and shovel snow and chop wood than clean the bathroom or do the dishes!<br />
(Does that hurt my credentials as a Feminist Lilt?)<br />
Thereaverofdarkness: So do you think that dominance/submission is inborn or is it cultural (i.e Nature or Nurture)?

I think I understand a little better what you mean, guy10, and I guess that I agree to an extent. I think that our cultural climate encourages women to take the submissive role in most situations, the bedroom *and* the boardroom. We perpetuate an atmosphere where women are told to be strong and independent - but not too strong or independent, or they run the risk of being labeled shrews, ******* ball-busters, and nags. I think that assuming a more subservient sexual role is the default for any woman living in a patriarchal society. Without impetus to explore an alternative means of ex<x>pression, most women would probably not discover any dormant desire for sexual dominance.<br />
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They're not "supposed to" want such things.<br />
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And for the record, I don't hate domestic chores. The smell of Pinesol makes me almost giddy. <br />
[[wink]]

Yes, of course men can be feminists.

I'm a feminist.<br />
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I also have to disagree with you on some points. Please keep in mind that things are different depending on where you grow up. I believe strongly that women wanting to be submissive and men wanting to be dominant during sexual relations is very natural, as well as part of society. Many people do not feel this way but many more do feel this way at least to some degree. Also, I grew up in a very strict male-female role family, but that was uncommon in my area. At church, I was surrounded by people and families that went by the same rules as we did, but at school we were the odd ones out.

OK Offthecuff, I am sorry if I didn't make myself clear: I don't believe that being sexually submissive makes one "unequal"- I am just saying that it seems that our culture (present society) seems to have made men sexually dominant and women submissive (and making the opposite sociably unacceptable). This may be the way it is 'in nature' (which I don't believe) or, as I believe from my own expeience, something forced on us by society. I am all for freedom in the bedroom to explore it all...<br />
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As for differences in the sexes: I am refering to what I explained above- Women make babies and we men do not. Nothing more or less. I am glad to hear that you came from a family where traditional gender roles were not important, but yours is one of a very small number of families in this country who runs that way; and most people are a product of the more traditional families with the woman doing the domestic chores that you hate. <br />
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I am also sorry if this all sounds like a diatribe- it was really just a simple question: Can men be Feminists?

Well said, Offthecuff. Like you said, if someone wants to role play, or go dom/sub, they are making that choice. I'll say it again, sexual activity has nothing to do with feminism. <br />
I'm a little confused by your post too. Are you saying that if a woman is submissive, and it's not her choice, she is not a feminist.? Or that female doms are probably feminists?

Please, explain to me why being sexually submissive qualifies as "unequal". As long as both parties involved in sex are consenting adults, I don't see why the person in either the dominant or submissive role would be considered more equal.<br />
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For instance, if a woman (or a man, for that matter) wants to be dominated sexually, she is giving her partner permission to dominate her. He is fulfilling her request. She is not a victim, she is just fulfilling a sexual urge that requires her consent. How does that make her less equal?<br />
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As for that diatribe on childcare and home-making, I don't even know where to begin...<br />
I don't really have time to hold a Gender Studies 101 lecture, but I assure you, it is not a woman's "nature" to mop floors and clean up baby puke, lol. I actually came from a family environment of intense gender equality. My parents owned a restaurant together and they depended on each other as 50/50 partners. My father did most of the cooking and the laundry, and my mother did all the yard work and the book-keeping. Maybe that's why I grew up with such a feminist idea of how relationships should work, but posts like yours, guy10, confuse me.<br />
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What "fundamental differences between the sexes" are you referring to?

Offthecuff- I agree with you about the definition but would add sexual equality in there as well. The problem, as I see it, is that it is hard to define equality when it comes to the sexes. Men cannot get pregnant or lactate but women need men to procreate (although some think not even that). <br />
The problems soon arise domestically when children come in the picture as to who ‘takes care of the kids’ and by extension, the home. In the past, this has been the role of the woman as a natural (?) extension of her being the one who bears the children. It is still news when the man takes care of the kids and home while the woman works etc. <br />
These basic differences therefore have led to and still cause fundamental differences between the sexes, and so defy a simple explanation of equality. <br />
Giricoccola- I see that you have looked at my profile and so, yes, I do enjoy being sexually dominated by women (and BDSM) and have fantasized about it most of my life. But most women I have met do not enjoy the role of the sexual dominant and I also very quickly discovered, that it is a virtual taboo for a man to admit he wants to be a sexual submissive. It took me 40 years to be able to ‘come out’ and act on this, so I think many women probably also have similar repressed feelings of sexual domination but that need to come out (or not). <br />
Lilt and thereaverofdarkness; this is the reason why I think that sexuality is (or should be) included in the definition of Feminism.

I'm a feminist, and have been for some time now, thanks to OFFthecuff actually. We get a bad rap from sexist man-haters who call themselves feminists. I hate the things some men do, but I don't hate men. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a man treat a woman fairly and with respect as an equal.<br />
I know a lot of women like being submissive in the bedroom. This is in our nature, men tend to take a dominant role overall. But the best way to treat your woman is to ask her how she feels and confide in her.<br />
One interesting thing I heard: if a woman wants you to dominate her sometimes and be equal sometimes, she can wear a piece of jewelry such as a necklace or bracelet that is a mutual sign between you two that she wants to be dominated. When she wants to be equal, she doesn't put it on.

OF COURSE a man can be a feminist! And the definition of feminism is very simple : belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Any person, regardless of gender can hold those values to be true and act upon them.

Oh, and back to the original question...<br />
I suppose a man could be a feminist, but we have already established it's a very subjective label. <br />
I am un-affiliated. I try to avoid labels. And I've never been much of joiner.

This is an interesting discussion, guy. <br />
I believe that women have been nurtured to be submissive to men for ages. The whole "man of the house" business, has only been challenged in the last 50 years. And I am only speaking of the American culture. The definition of "family" has changed even more in the last 20 years. The dominant/submissive roles have become intertwined.<br />
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Sexually, I think it's about what turns you on. Some submissive women will say they choose that role because they have too much responsibility in their daily life. They like the idea of the "surrender." But even then, the dominant partner will say the sub calls the shots. Look around you. EP is full of people with unique sexual preferences :O<br />
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At the end of the day, I think we all want the same thing.<br />
To be loved and desired.

I believe men can be feminists but that society has got such a deep grip on our behaviours and thoughts that it is sometimes difficult to see things from a womans point of view. Women surely aren't required to satisfy your BDSM preferences, different things happen with different partners. Maybe you could ask her what she likes and in exchange tell her what you like? Different people, different fantasies. You never know what you might find out!

I think submissiveness in the bedroom is a choice.<br />
And I believe feminism is about having equals rights and choices.

Schmilt: Just about every woman I have met here on EP prefers to be submissive. The age does not seem to matter and even the women who say they sometimes enjoy being sexually dominant seem to enjoy being submissive more. In my personal life outside of EP I don’t encounter too many younger women, but certainly this was true as I was growing up and even now. <br />
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Lilt: No offence taken. I am as unclear of the definition as any here, but I have never thought it meant “a pushing, aggressive, man-hater” (I think that concept came out of the idea that Feminism is the answer to male chauvinism and so must mean that it is a form of sexism). I believe, however, that it does have something to do with power and domination; whether in the boardroom or the bedroom. Domination is not necessarily a bad thing because I believe you cannot be a leader without dominating. <br />
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You may be right that Feminism should stop at the bedroom door (should it?), but I have met a lot of women in my life and here on EP who have had troubling relationships as submissives. Many seem to genuinely enjoy the role and others, I feel, do it because it’s expected of them.<br />
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So I wonder if being submissive in the bedroom is nature or nurture.

No judgment here, guy, really.<br />
I think the definition of "feminist " is incredibly subjective. <br />
What I don't like is the idea that a feminist is a pushing, aggressive, man-hater. <br />
And I do not see how sexual behaviors determine our stance on feminism.

Actually Lilt, I am not sure I really defined it (because I am not totally sure of the definition). What is the definition?<br />
Is it different for a male feminist?

I think your definition of a feminist is a little off, guy10.