On male allies in our local art, activist and music scene:
As an 18 year old fresh out of high school – one brimming with misogynists, abusers, rapists and the ‘Roastbusters’- encountering men who wore nail polish, had heard of bell hooks, and derided dude bro masculinity was a welcome change. A combination of naivety, loneliness, and a vague sense of optimism meant that I put these men and their social circles on a pedestal that I wished to join. This didn’t happen. Very quickly I realised that these men were no different to the ones I had spent five years trapped in class with. Except, they had more insidious and sinister ways of concealing their misogyny. This admittedly was a hard blow. I had felt hope and a sense of solidarity, and now distrust, anger and fear. Despite my social circle’s feminist and radical leanings many of us continue to welcome and support these abusive and misogynistic men. Self-described feminist artists/musicians/designers have revealed themselves to be anything but. Still to this day little effort has been made to hold these men accountable for their actions.
I am lucky to not have experienced any of this abuse first hand. I write this because I care about women, both those I know and don’t who have been subject to physical and/or emotional abuse at the hands of these men. I write this because I cannot believe that this behaviour continues to happen and that nothing gets said or done. Whilst it is not my place to name names, I hope that in the near future the men we know who are guilty are named and held accountable.
There is nothing progressive about letting abusive men who front as feminist via Sensitive Men™ rhetoric dominate our social circles. There is nothing progressive about ignoring the voices of women who have been personally affected and of those who talk about and attempt to call out this behaviour. Calling it gossip, hate mongering, drama, or misinformed rumours is a form of silencing and to not directly acknowledge the misogyny of these men is to be complicit in it. If you are sheltering and supporting these men then you are no feminist.
I care about radicalism that emphasises survival and empathy rather than hostility and destruction. In saying that, marginalised peoples are entitled to all feelings of anger. However it’s the anger that lends itself towards healing and transformation that I find truly progressive. The anger I feel towards these men and those who continue to support them has for the most part been internalised and therefore poisonous. I hope that this writing generates awareness and at some point change.
If feminism doesn’t prioritise women then it isn’t feminism. It is not enough to self-identify as a feminist. As artists, musicians, writers, and/or activists, these radical political movements require commitment and time. To engage in such a liberal and empty manner is disrespectful and in the end is nothing but disingenuous. Ask yourself: do you care about women? If not, then don’t pretend, and if yes, then act like it.