So here are some stream of consciousness thoughts
1. Being a male feminist is an interesting space to be in.
Firstly why do I need the label male feminist? It’s not about a title but an attitude to equality for women. So for me (apart from this title to get your attention) I refuse to use that label again. I don’t need it. I know what I’m here for. I don’t need a badge.
2. I have a torturous relationship with rap.
This week I was listening to one of my fave rappers. He is a brilliant wordsmith but I feel this turmoil as he waxes lyrical about the difference between ladies and hoes. It gets so tiresome, but this narrative is a reflection of the twisted misogyny embedded in the cultures that produce hip hop. Struggling as to how to balance this.
3. It’s a steep learning curve.
Part of the conversation around equality is about us men checking unacceptable conversations when women are absent, as well as when they are present. This is one of the toughest parts of advocacy. Checking blatant misogny is a walk in the park, it’s the subtler conversations and humour that is more problematic. Still learning. Still checking.
4. On being patient.
Challenging any discrimination takes patience. It disturbs me when men are quick to retort to assertive women talking about equality. Being dismissive and sexist. Equally it can be grating to see women who I support shutting down a conversation because the dialogue is by a man. It takes a helluva lot of listening and patience to move things forward. From all of us.
5. Owning my privilege
I am straight, married, father of two daughters. As a speaker and entrepreneur I get opportunities to walk through doors that many others can’t and in some cases won’t. As a presenter and speaker I have learned not to feminise my questions, i.e. what does it feel like being a woman in [insert industry]? I have learned to speak out when in a group of men to ask questions as to the lack of representation of women. I know my privilege. I am glad I have people around me who keep me accountable.
The journey is an uphill one. Being constantly on my toes.
Being aware of both the conscious and subconscious biases and prejudices that have been part of my psyche for so many years and which is now being unlearned.
On the up side, my relationship with my wife has deepened the more I check myself.
Empowering my daughters by living my talk is also a good thing.
And being in a position of influence as a speaker, social commentator to address inequality either directly or indirectly is a privilege but continues to be a learning opportunity for me.