Why Men cannot be feminists- By Jessica Mandanda

The fourth wave of feminism is upon us and I realize we finding ourselves in a dangerous space as we further explore whether or not men can be feminists

I, do no think men can be feminists. Which is the point where myself and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie alongside many other feminists I am in awe of disagree but we cannot truly possibly ever agree on everything right?

My reasoning dwell on varied things besides the fact that men are problematic.

When Nobel peace prize winner Leymah Gbowee and the women in the documentary about the ultra-powerful activism by the Women of Liberia that brought the civil war to an end said, “ Men were the perpetrators of this violence, so either by commission or omission, you were guilty ”, it resonated with me and fueled my anger even more because the moment I heard those words, I knew that we have been alone in this fight to end violence against women and girls, one of the major barriers in achieving gender equality.

For endless years women have been violated in various forms and for those endless years we have been fighting, begging for it to stop, the primary perpetrators being men and today we sing the same tunes because we because we do believe in human rights and respect them therefore we simply cannot eradicate the existence of men and scientifically create a new crop of them without the patriarchal parasite.

My anger towards men not only stems from being beaten and raped, it also comes from watching fellow women being beaten and raped, dragged in the streets, punched and thrown into walls and treated like their existence is mercy which could be taken away and then being told that I can not bunch men together when I say; ‘Men are what is wrong with our world’.

I am often told not to be a bitter angry feminist- embodying the stereotypes of having been rejected and had my heart broken and therefore I am bitter- eeermmm pause, who in the hell has not felt even the slightest twinge of bitterness and anger after being heartbroken and who wants that shit to happen to them.

I am bitter because damn it! I am tired of having to explain why my existence is important and validating why me saying ‘do not touch me’ should be enough for men to keep their hands to themselves. I am beyond angry, infuriated and enraged because nowadays every single time I say I am a feminist and I want a safe space for women to decompress all the shit men put us through, the men go ahead with, well men go through things too.

I know men go through things too, I know men are violated and yes at times by women, I know mental health for men is of paramount importance- there is no point in feminist history that any of that has been disregarded, we know and we respect that but we are fighting our lives and against the injustices against us at the hands of men- it is simple terminology, not complicated at all. We are not against men, we are against what men put us through, which is a direct result of the patriarchy which has fucked all of us up by the way.

That line, guilty by either commission or omission shall now be my ultimate men are a problem slogan because if men really cared, there would have been a change by now and we wouldn’t need to be having this conversation over and over again.

Now do I believe that there are good men out there, yes, do I think men can change, not really no but they are not a hopeless cause.

Another point to note is this, for the men who claim to be feminists, where the hell are you and why are you not standing up against your fellow men and holding them accountable for their inhumanity? Nearly every man who has come to claim feminism has not marched on the streets and is often reluctant to stand on a platform and call out men.

I understand there is ostracization and shaming which feeds into the fear of emasculation and such and such which also is a product of the patriarchy which most men still refuse to acknowledge as an existing system- for those ‘feminist’ men, what do you think we go through daily?

We are shamed, threatened, beaten, removed from various platforms, risk our financial means and social status among every other aspect of our human lives by saying and owning we are feminists. The problem with men saying they are feminists is you pick and choose where you get to be a feminist and where not to be a feminist.

You walk in a meeting or workshop which is about gender equality using the feminist approach and proudly claim feminism but you walk out and meet your peers and trash feminists using feminist stereotypes as ice breakers and expect me to sit here and say, ’oh well, he is a good man, he said is a feminist’ fuck that!

You want to be a feminist, then be one through and through, brave that shit and own it- Feminism is feminism, there are no ifs, buts or however, and live up to it. It is not a part time job you are ashamed of damn it! Own it, get off your ass and do the damn work.

Radical Feminist Writer