So I was checking out the photos of this cool Facebook page (which is apparently now inactive, as I noticed after writing this) called AFMF – A Foul Mouthed Feminist, and I was struggling with a concept, which is what I would like to talk about today. The specific picture was a picture of a quote that read “Men who want to be FEMINISTS do not need to be given space in FEMINISM. They need to take the space they have in society and make it FEMINIST. –Kelley Temple.”
Now, I have some issues with this statement, but the quote is out of context (I assumes) and therefore I don’t want to say that Kelley’s position is invalid. Yet at the same time, it makes some borderline assumptions. First of all, the statement uses the verb “want” to describe these men. While that, in one perspective, excuses the men who are feminists, it more so creates a dialogue that men are not feminists. Or that they are less feminists than women are. Which is not true. I mean, it is true that there are men who are less strongly feminist than other women, just as it is true that there are women who are less strongly feminist than men. But that might be a little nit-picky. Then again, our word choice defines how we are conditioned and how we think about various concepts.
In addition, but opening the statement with a phrase that implicates men for not understanding something, there become a tension within the statement that implies that to learn how to become a feminist, one must follow the instructions that are to come: “they need to take the space they have…and make it feminist.” And this statement, again, is engrained in some good perspectives. By “make it feminist” I assume Kelley means a space that is as safe for women as it is for men. Which, while something that our country/our world has struggled with for many years, is a great point. That’s how it should be. Yet this idea that men do not need to be given space in feminism, rather, they must create it, is dualistic.
Feminism is dualistic. Inherently, feminism is contradictory, because perspectives and interpretations of reasonable human beings often contradict. And that’s fine. It provides a safe space for multiple perspectives to be contradictory, so long as things remain respectful. However, as some amount of self identified feminists are in many ways for the progress of women, rather than the equality of them, there becomes an awkward dialogue. If this statement is interpreted as a saying made by one of these extremist feminists, it could be interpreted as saying men are incapable of providing an avenue to the success of feminism. Which I think is a narrow perspective, if not unreasonable. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to cut out the people trying to help you—male or female. I’m sure this could come off as a man trying to assert himself into feminism, which I really don’t mean to do, but then again it’s hard to point out potential errors like this and not come off poorly.
Again, this is just interpretation of a quote, and very easily could have had more context to negate these opinions. But this quote was taken out of context and presented. So I wanted to share the various flaws with how it could be interpreted. What do you think? Are these unreasonable? Is the quote unreasonable? Are both fair? Let me know!