On a recent episode of MTV Canada’s 1 Girl 5 Gays, Aliya-Jasmine asked her expert panelist of gays: Do you consider yourself a Feminist?
I remember when I was in my third year of university and taking courses such as Theories of Gender & Sexuality and Social Movements that that exact question had crossed my mind multiple times. This is interesting to reflect on it because, firstly, I am male and, secondly, I am a gay male. Could I consider myself a feminist?
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic and social rights for women. A Feminist is a person whose beliefs and behaviour are based on feminism. Feminism examines gender inequality and feminists fight for gender equality. Just as gay rights advocates examine sexual inequality and fight for sexual equality in terms of orientation.
One of the panelists, Jake, said he didn’t consider himself a feminist because he wasn’t a female. The issue isn’t about being a female in order to be a feminist. The majority of feminists will be females: they are fighting for gender equality based on anatomical differences. However, that doesn’t mean fighting for female equality is only limited to females. Aliya-Jasmine played Devil’s Advocate by stating that “straight people can’t advocate for gay rights” if men can’t advocate for female equality. Does that make sense?
I don’t know if I initially thought that, because I was a gay male, if I considered myself a feminist, it would make me more effeminate (not to say that I am or that there is anything wrong with an effeminate gay male); that I would appear as the stereotypical gay male in a heterosexual-dominant society. For that reason, I couldn’t consider myself a feminist at that point in my life.
Do I consider myself a Feminist today? Absolutely. Just as I consider myself a gay rights advocate, an athlete, a pop culture enthusiast. It’s just another aspect of my multi-faceted identity. It isn’t the only thing that defines who or what I am. Rather, being a feminist defines a part of who I am and what I advocate strongly for. Rights. Human rights. A person doesn’t have to be a member of a minority group to advocate for female equality (I’m sure there are heterosexual males that advocate for female equality, or at least there better be). However, identifying with one minority group (LGBT) does help one to identify with members of another minority group (females). It should foster a stronger relationship to advocate for any issues that both groups are struggling to fight for.
So, Jake, yes, (gay) men can and should be feminists. Sex (being male) has nothing to do with that aspect of identity. Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to be purposefully cliché. Imagine that you were a female. Imagine that you continuously had to struggle for your own equality. You would, most definitely, want someone else to (help) advocate for your equality.
Editors Note: Please welcome our newest freelance writer Christiaan joining Homorazzi.com. Christiaan hails from Toronto and will be sharing his opinions on topics discussed in the popular show “1 Girl 5 Gays” airing on MTV Canada and Logo (US). Give him a warm welcome and be sure to give feedback on his posts. I know he’d appreciate it. Also, let us know how you feel about the latest addition to our team.