Against Patriarchy: Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution

On thefeministwire, by Chris Crass:

For all of us who are men who believe in social justice, who want healthy and beautiful lives for our loved ones, and who are working for positive change in the world, let us commit or re-commit to making feminism central in our lives, values, and actions.  Black feminist scholar bell hooks writes, “When women and men understand that working to eradicate patriarchal domination is a struggle rooted in the longing to make a world where everyone can live fully and freely, then we know our work to be a gesture of love.”  She continues, “Let us draw upon that love to heighten our awareness, deepen our compassion, intensify our courage, and strengthen our commitment.”  It is time for men in the millions to take courageous action in our society to further feminist revolution.

The everyday violence and oppression of sexism in our society is epidemic and not only must end, but can end.  Sexism devastates our relationships, communities, social justice efforts, and our lives. While we did not choose to be men in a patriarchal society, we have the choice to be feminists and work against sexism.  Below is a list of tools and suggestions that have helped me over the years as I have struggled to understand what it means to be a man working for feminism.[1] Let us look to the leadership of women and gender oppressed people for guidance and work alongside them, let us bring more and more men into feminist efforts, let us embrace feminism as a healing and transformative force in our lives, and let us feel in our hearts that we can do this.[2]

1. Develop an intersectional feminist analysis of patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, heterosexism, and the state. Study feminist analysis from writers such as Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Suzanne Pharr, Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, and Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez. Learn about the historical development of patriarchy in books such as Maria Mies’ Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch, and Andrea Smith’s Conquest. Explore the impact of patriarchal violence on your life and what you can do to stop it in Paul Kivel’s Men’s Work. Read bell hooks’ essays about men and feminism in Feminism is for Everybody and The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love. Learn more about gender justice in Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue. Reflect on your experience of gender using Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook as a guide. [Rest.]

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