Men can be feminists -- but they shouldn't be

Male feminism too often acts like a Replacements button you can pin to your leather jacket, until someone asks what your favorite song from Tim is and you confess that you’ve never listened to the Replacements. It’s a way of saying, “I get it” without needing to actually get it or do the work of getting it.

Rebecca Solnit famously wrote in Men Explain Things to Me about the phenomenon of mansplaining—in which a man presumes to know more about a given subject than a female counterpart and condescendingly distills into a version she seemingly can understand. It’s the Bic for Her of academic discussions.

And too often, male feminism acts as another means for men to talk over women, explain gender issues to them, or invalidate their actual perspectives in their own movement. In New York Magazine’s The Cut, Kat Stoeffel explains that blogger and activist Charles Clymer has used his self-proclaimed feminism to silence female critics, arguing that they represent “the very worst of the feminist community.”

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