An open letter to dude feminists.

Not mine ( illustration by Shaun Pendergast) , but RBG is a badass and this GIF gives me life.

Not mine (illustration by Shaun Pendergast), but RBG is a badass and this GIF gives me life.

Originally appeared on Facebook.

Non-female-identifying friends, can I take a moment of your time on this, the eve of International Women’s Day? Cool, thanks! Over the years, I have enjoyed posting mic drops from badass Supreme Court Justices, articles calling out street harassment and unwanted criticism of female speech patterns, and even posts made up of photos of cats destroying the patriarchy.

Many wonderful women choose to like these posts because they see themselves in the outcomes, as the protagonist that puts up with the bullshit, as the women impacted by these truths ever day. Sisterhood is a great thing and our support for each other is vital as we navigate a male-centric world.

However, what is glaringly absent from each of these posts are likes and comments from my male Facebook friends.

Looking through my feed, I can count on one hand the number of men who have liked or commented on individual statuses pertaining to women’s issues. When taken at face value, this may seem like I post uninteresting things, it’s just my particular friends, or maybe it’s a fluke in Facebook’s algorithms. But let’s be real—that’s not it. It’s a symptom of something much bigger and I would love for us to take a collective moment and evaluate what that means.

We need you to show up every day, not just on the major holidays of life.

Now this conversation is not an attempt to guilt all my male Facebook friends into liking all of my posts nor is it an accusation that #allmen blah blah blah. (So please don’t respond with #notallmen blah blah blah. No woman actually wants to hear that. We know you’re not all bad people and we love you, privilege and all.) Rather, this post is just an observation that for the increasing number of men who identify as feminists and allies, not many actually seem to take a public interest in issues that truly concern women, even in the relatively benign world of social media.

Unfortunately, this goes beyond not liking a simple post on Facebook. It points a spotlight on the lack of men seeking out information, getting informed, and posting articles of their own. It raises questions about whether you are talking to the women in your life about their lived experiences (and more importantly, listening to what they have to say). It’s not enough to speak out only when reacting to outrageous headlines and blatant, offensive sexism. We need you to show up every day, not just on the major holidays of life.

Maybe this is because you see it as political? Well don’t worry, because it’s not. Tearing down injustices, self-checking privilege, and giving space to women are not political acts. That’s just being a good human being.

This is not to say that all men should always post all the things all the time on all the platforms. Because sometimes it’s not about talking or being the loudest feminist in the room, it’s about listening and supporting and learning. Maybe this post is instead about me hoping I’m Facebook friends with guys who truly want to support the women of the world and want be fantastic allies, but maybe never realized the extent of their silence. I hope that’s true.

Now, I’m sure many of you have a lot things you would like to say, however I’m going encourage you to just not and instead take this moment to listen. Because women need space to share and we need you as allies, but we definitely don’t need anyone telling us that what we’re experiencing isn’t true. No one likes a mansplainer after all.

So guys, thanks for listening. Maybe I’ll see some more activity on my newsfeed and my offline life, maybe I won’t. But at least you got this far and that’s a step in the right direction already. :) Now back to your regularly scheduled cat videos and fab Instagrams!

Also not mine. But also gives me life. (Click for original link.)

Also not mine. But also gives me life. (Click for original link.)

Maren NelsonComment