Never Trust Professional Male Feminists
I know I tend to get on the “professional ally” thing a lot on here — I made that post a while back about the constantly self-flagellating white people who follow around PoC, but that exists with pretty much every marginalized group.
There is something I really don’t trust about the idea of a person in a privileged profession basing a career or an entire internet persona on the oppression of others. While I do think that it’s essential that we all try to be as conscious as possible about issues we might be complicity in without even realizing it, I don’t like the idea of making yourself a Shiny Bright Ally Who Is Not Like the Rest as a profession.
And I know that, at least from an internet traffic standpoint, that shit works. I see it firsthand every day. Be a man, write a feminist screed, that shit gets attention and it gets rewarded. I know people who exclusively write SJ-ish stuff as their job even though they are not part of the group they speak of, and their position as someone not in that group allows their voice to be heard with a false sense of “objectivity.” People write things that are “conscious” often because a) it makes them look better and b) it expands their platform. And after a while, you can start to question the motives. They’re not all Hugo Schwyzer-level awful, but they should be questioning exactly what they’re basing their career and persona on, and who it is most directly benefiting.
It’s easy to underestimate how important it is to just be a good person to everyone around us and make informed, positive decisions. To just treat people like human fucking beings. I don’t need some man constantly pulling out his Great Big Defender Sword to save me from the patriarchy. I see guys posting these overwrought feminist screeds for ally cookies non-stop and it makes me cringe, because I really do not need it as a woman. I need him to treat me as an equal, and to perhaps occasionally listen to what I have to say about institutional sexism. That’s it. And I don’t like the idea of men constantly profiting off of the issues that he assumes I must face every day, issues he must save me from.
It’s a complex issue, to be sure. And there is a balance to be struck between writing consciously/spreading knowledge, and making your voice the only one that gets heard when it is actually the least informed.
That said, I have written on the topic of white feminist privilege before (once or twice, I think, most recently a few months ago), and I want to take this opportunity to link some of the people whose work has really been teaching me and expanding my perspective of the world around me. They are all fascinating, thoughtful people that are more than worth following, and not just about the subject of racism/privilege. I could stand to shout people out more, and I want to get better about doing that. So here’s a start, related to the topic at hand:
Now go follow them! Do it! :)