I am both excited and terribly disappointed when I find that a prominent male, with a wide audience, is a feminist ally. Excited because, “YAY an ally!”, disappointed because it really should be far more common than it is. I am, sadly, far to used to being thrown under a bus by prominent men due to my gender. Dawkins being a great example during the elevatorgate storm. So when someone like PZ Myers or John Scalzi comes out defending feminism, supporting my existence as an equal to men, and arguing with arsehats that really, letting women make their own mind up about what they do and don’t want, and that treating them respectfully should be a no-brainer, I am happy inside as much as I am disappointed that so many other men really don’t get this.
Scalzi recently wrote a satirical (and massively triggering) letter on his blog addressed to Conservative US Politicians from a rapist. It’s a great piece, and neatly makes its point, though is quite graphic. Many people I know read the piece and retweeted it or shared it with others on other social media sites.
Scalzi later retweeted another blog post by Fangirlknitscarf on his original post, and her reaction to Kristen McFarland who criticised the wide audience that Scalzi had for his post, as Kristen McFarland believed a post by Seanan McGuire deserved equal attention, which it did not receive, and that women should speak for women. I read Seanan McGuire’s post and it’s good, but I thought it was aimed at a more specific audience than Scalzi’s piece.
I know that there are men (and some women) out there who won’t listen to me because I lack a penis. My lack of penis means that I sound shrill, am emotional, and can’t argue rationally. My lack of penis means that I am unable to be ethical, and need men to help me make moral decisions, and perhaps I shouldn’t even go outside unaccompanied because bad things might happen to me. Despite none of this being true, I know that those men cannot be convinced by me of anything otherwise.
This is where allies like PZ Myers and John Scalzi come into play. As male members of the human race, they will at least initially have the ear of these men who do not believe that women are full members of society. Those men who are welded off* from the ideas of feminism will, at least initially, briefly consider what is being said by a fellow man. The continued push back that PZ Myers faces from arsehats over his support of Rebecca Watson and feminism is evidence that the amount of time spent listening is relatively short, but I hold hope (for otherwise I will despair) that the more men who speak up in support of feminism, the harder it will be for those who are welded off to continue to be so.
I don’t want PZ Myers or John Scalzi to speak for me specifically, but I do want them, and other allies, to speak for feminism to audiences who won’t listen to women anyway. I think that feminism needs male allies to reach those who aren’t going to hear us due to their own biases, prejudice, and misogyny.
*welded off – apparently this term is unknown and not even the interwebs provides a definition (I’m not sure where I picked it up actually). Welded off means to be completely closed and sealed off, in this case to an argument or idea.