So to start with, I need to make it clear that this is very much an opinion piece and as such it is my interpretation of the subject. I say this, as the Feminist movement throughout history has contained numerous factions and all with differing agendas and approaches.
What is a Feminist?
In its simplest form, Feminism is a belief that the binary genders of Male and Female are equal. The Feminist movement is about realigning the imbalances that were created from our history of being a Patriarchal society.
In essence, equal rights! Rights such as the right to vote, the right to equal pay and the right to not be portrayed as a weaker, one dimensional and less capable gender.
Can a Male Feminist exist?
Well this really depends on just who you talk to. There are those who believe that any man who is a supporter of Feminism is just that, a supporter and cannot lay claim to being a Feminist. The belief is that without the personal experiences unique to women, someone cannot be part of the Feminist movement.
Another view an one that I subscribe to ( albeit as a male) is that anyone who supports and believes in the concept of gender equality and equal rights for women should be able to be termed a Feminist.
So from my perspective anyone, male, female or non-binary can lay claim to being a feminist, provided they genuinely believe and support the fundamental ideals of the movement.
So what then are my beliefs on Feminism?
Personally I believe that Women should have no more or less rights than their male counterparts. I strongly believe that the world will be a far better place with total equality across the genders.
This means equal representation across all areas of society and most notably in positions of power such as Government. It also means equal pay for equal jobs as well as access to those equal jobs.
On top of this, my ideal would see a more varied portrayal of women in the media, one that reflects society as a whole.
Does this make me a Feminist?
Well the answer to this is actually both yes and no. Whilst obviously I do strongly believe in equality between men and women and as such ally myself with feminist principles.
I cannot call myself a Feminist. This is not due the fact I am male, nor is it in response to some of the more radical factions within the movement. Rather it is simply because to call my self a Feminist would be too restricting of my social beliefs and conscience.
Instead of calling myself a Feminist if pressed to categorize myself, I would call myself an Equalist. You see my belief in equality goes beyond that of women's rights and includes everyone.
As a Father of a gay Transgender teen (about which I have written in my post Goodbye Daughter , Hello Trans Son), how could I not be as strongly supportive of LGBTIQ rights as I am of women's rights? As a Man, I hate to see men on the receiving end of gender inequality ( Although rarer, this does exist)
My beliefs are to fight against any form of inequality and prejudice, be that based on binary or non-binary gender, race, skin colour, religion and others.
I am an Equalist and I am Proud of it
The people I admire the most are those who are actively fighting against inequality and prejudism. People such as the worlds first Plus Sized Supermodel Tess Holliday who has created the #effyourbeautystandards movement. A movement about body acceptance of all (Fat, Thin, Disfigured, Hirsute, short , Tall etc)
So whilst I clearly believe that I have the right to call myself a Feminist I choose not to do so and call myself and Equalist instead. There are bigger things to worry about than belonging to a group that feels itself to be superior to others.
Everybody likes to think of themselves as a good person. In today's ever changing world, the concept of toxic masculinity and what makes a man, has been debated constantly.
Indeed, in the wake of the Weinstein affair and the Me Too movement many men are now questioning their own actions and are confused about what is expected of a man. The male role may be changing, however, the basics of being a good man have not.
I have compiled a list of rules that I feel are timeless and reflect the values and actions of a well rounded, happy, contented and good modern man.
My 50 years upon the planet has seen me gain a modicum of wisdom and as I write this list, I do so with the thought of sharing it with my own son, so feel free to do so with any burgeoning gentleman in your life.
I am sure that you may feel I have missed some things, however at the very least my list here is a good starting point. Most of these suggested rules apply to people of any gender and age.
A quick look over my list and I realize that there are a few items that I could focus more on myself. That in itself is a reminder to all that,n on occasions we forget and sometimes need reminding of our very own advice.
Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.