"Oh, are they getting involved in Feminism and gender equality? Well..."
Tuesday the 26th of June I ventured from SW to Bethnal Green to attend a night called "Are Men Doing It?" It was hosted by Bethnal Green Working Men's Club and organised by East London Fawcett ( #eastfawcett ).
Despite potential misconceptions (not by me) of it being a night of angry women slagging off men, it was in fact the very opposite.
How can men feel more involved in feminism? Answers were posed by a panel such as: stop branding the term feminism as it has too many unwelcome connotations, and instead, referring to the pool of thought that is feminism as 'gender equality'. However, who can be a feminist? Writer Martin Robins explained that feminism comes as a natural act of Humanism- who wants wants their mother, sister, daughter, father, uncle etc to be treated equally regardless of their sex and gender? If your answer is, "yes! That's what I want" then guess what, you're a feminist.
The current discourse on feminism can be classed as Third-Wave Feminism. Like 'Post-post-post Feminism', it's an extenuation and development of previous discussions and values as to what it is, taking into consideration the 'rights and wrongs' of previous feminist movements and actions. Ideas have developed further since Germaine Greers' text The Female Eunuch.
As discussed by the panel, feminism has actually done more for men's rights than some may be aware of, so to quote the TED talk mentioned in my previous post (again), it isn't a battle against the sexes, we're in this together. But seriously, we are aren't we? It's an unfair statement (and one i've heard) to suggest that feminists are looking for a world without men.
So one analyses that was brought up was the notion of just saying "i'm a feminist" and how it's easier to say than actively do. Comedian and compere for the night James Mullinger gave an example for active feminism as arguing against a misogynist comment when one is made, highlighting that it's not okay. And I truly believe that bit-by-bit stereotypes and judgements can be unwound but it's everyone's responsibility to actively be part of that.
It was wonderful to see a broad range of people there, but as comedian John Robins pointed out, is it broad enough? Although it's healthy (and fun) to discuss such topics with those who share a value, were we not preaching to the choir? How can others who aren't even aware of what feminism IS be made aware? And perhaps more importantly, who's roll is that?