Do you tell men you are a feminist?

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Do you tell men you are a feminist?
Wed, 05-21-2014 - 10:13am

I think "feminist" is a very misunderstood word. Wikipedia defines it as:

"Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feministadvocates or supports the rights and equality of women.[3]"

I would describe myself as a feminist, but I am reluctant to tell people this. Not that it has come up in my life lately, but I've read comments on message boards lately from men who really mock and rail against feminism. They contend that there is no pay gap anymore. They say women claim they want equality but still expect men to pay their way. But somehow it seems that being a feminist, to some people, equals hating men. Sure, there are women who hate men, but not because they are feminists (to me, anyway).

But, I don't think I would be a good match for a man who was so derisive toward feminism anyway. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2013
Wed, 05-21-2014 - 10:26am

No. Most older men have some kind of notion in their heads that feminists are men-hating lesbians. It's like trying to describe descrimination to a tall, rich, white man. They will never be able to understand it because they never have and never will experience it.  

I think for the most part the younger generation is doing a better job with understanding feminism.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 05-21-2014 - 11:20am

I don't really  use the term but I think you can tell when you are getting to know someone how a man feels about the issue--does he think that women should be doing all the household chores even when she works, does he support women's rights, etc.  My 2nd ex, even though he was nutty in other ways, was very pro-women, I think because his mom went back to college and work after having 4 kids and became an RN--and 4 out of the 5 kids (including him) also became RNs, so she must have had quite an influence on them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 05-21-2014 - 2:36pm

I prefer to show them what I believe in by action rather than using a, as you mentioned, frequently misunderstood label.

I vote, support women's right to choose when it comes to their reproduction, I bought and sold several houses on my own (and am pretty handy when it comes to home repair/improvement), and a firm believer of being financially self-sufficient.  At the same time, I keep my legs (and other body parts) hair-free and wear makeup and lacey bras, and expect men to open doors for me.

This is just how I roll; they can take it or leave it.  Not expecting men to understand the book definition of feminism as long as they let me have it my way!  Laughing

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 7:45am

I don't proactively tell men that I am a feminist, but if they hang out to get to know me, they will eventually see, by my behavior, that I AM a feminist.  Why would any woman not want to be treated as a peer, and instead want to be treated to be inferior to men?!  I don't get that.  If someone asks me straight out, I am proud to to proclaim that I am a feminist.  I really don't care if someone else (a man) doesn't understand what the definition of the word is.  If they are so arrogant to not look up the definition, and/or decide they don't like me because of a word (and not because of my behavior), then I don't think they are worth my time.

I remember that on one occasion, my (now ex-husband) boyfriend used that word as an insullt to me during a fight.  My reply was, "thank you for noticing!"  That should have tipped me off right then and there that any relationship with him was doomed.  :(  Unfortunately, I ended up marrying him and having two children with him, and then divorcing him.  Ugh.  At least I got one phenomenal child with him, and I ended up re-marrying the "nice guy" who accepts me as a feminist.  :)  Live and learn.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-08-2011
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 9:19am
As a guy, announcing that you're a feminist would tell me that you are insecure with something to prove. Goodbye. And that goes for any "I am" statement; such as saying - "I am funny." Would being funny need to be announced or shouldn't I realize that since if the person was actually funny I would have already been laughing.
The actual word "feminism" seems a bit outdated in itself. So on top of that, as a word started in the older generation, it now carries all kinds of long-time assumptions that are not true. Actions always speak the loudest. If you have to label yourself to others, again that would appear most that you have something to prove - not attractive.
If there is something within the feminist spectrum that you have to be let known about yourself such as - you meet a guy who believes a woman needs to sit at home all day waiting to make his dinner, that would be a good time to explain that is not a person who you are.
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 11:39am

Spot on, JT.  I would not announce myself, to ANYBODY, as a "feminist", any more than I would announce that I am a liberal, a conservative, a Democrat, a Republican, a pro-lifer, a pro-choicer or any or a thousand other things.  People find out who you are, by the life you live.  Plus, discussions about politics and religion should be postponed till well down the road into a relationship. 

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 2:18pm

I believe in all of the same things you do, but I have never thought of myself as a feminist.  I agree with someone else who said that term seems slightly outdated.  Are there any women left who DON'T want to be equal?  I know some women choose to be submissive to their SO, take a back seat to running the household, etc and that's fine - it's their choice.  You live your life, I'll live mine. 

I rarely come accross men who are stuck in the dark ages(when I do, they are usually older).  To me, that mentality is backward.  Period.  If you can't keep up with the rest of (forward thinking) society, then move to some other part of the globe so I don't have to be subjected to your ignorance . . . that goes for anyone who stands for any kind of inequality BTW.

To answer your question, I would never announce my beliefs on the topic or lead with any of that - like other's who've replied, I would let my actions speak for me. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 05-22-2014 - 5:38pm

I do think that it's better to avoid labels--even if we say we are liberal or conservative politically, that could have different meanings to different people.  I think if you asked 99% of men if they agreed that women should be paid the same as men for the same job, they would say yes.  If you asked a bunch of men would they feel less manly if their wife earned more money than they did, you might get a bunch of different answers.  So I think that as you get to know someone, there are some serious discussions you should be having about a lot of topics.  Sometimes people with very different political beliefs can peacefully co-exist, but to some people that would bother them.  I think as you get to know someone, you will find out how they feel about different things--do they use slurs for other groups, do they make jokes that stereotype people, etc.

It's like when we are picking a jury, the judge asks the whole group questions to weed out the people who are biased?  I was actually in the jury panel for a murder trial where the defendants were black (I wasn't picked) but the judge said "are there any people who could not make a fair decision because they are prejudiced because the defendants are of a different race?" or something like that.  I couldn't believe that some people actually raised their hands--you will stand up in front of a room full of people and admit that you're a racist?  I assume they just wanted to get our of jury duty.  So I think that if you asked men "do you believe in equal rights for women?" how many of them would say no and look bad--but you have to find out what their views are on specific issues to see if they are compatible.  They might believe in equal pay but still feel that even though the wife worked a full time job she should still do all the cooking and housework too--nothing is really that simple that you can put labels on it.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Fri, 05-23-2014 - 7:57pm

   Feminism has taken on connotations that to most men are negative.   I would suggest not describing myself in such a general way.   IMO saying :" I think women should have equal rights", is very understandable.   Thsat way the feminazi connotation is avoided.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2010
Sat, 05-31-2014 - 10:15pm

I agree with others who say to avoid using the term "feminist", but instead see how a man feels about issues. I myself, a 51 year old man, agree with feminists on specific issues. However, the general feminist mind frame is off-putting to me. I don't see hard-core  feminists as really wanting equality and mutuality, but rather women prevailing at the expense of men.