So what are strong women to do if even the men who seem like good feminists might be misogynists, too? With right-wing men who oppose women’s rights, what you see is what you get. With these bogus male feminists, it can be crazy-making — especially since women are so often taught to subsume our own doubts and even our own experiences if men tell us we’re interpreting things incorrectly. Of course we want men to champion women’s rights, and we shouldn’t look skeptically on the men who stand up for all of us.
But we should pause when we sense that men are performing feminism for kudos or influence rather than simply doing the right thing. Harvey Weinstein attended a gala for Planned Parenthood, where Hillary Clinton was also present, bid $100,000 on a painting — and then reportedly never sent the money. Louis C.K. wrote some great feminist jokes, but never seemed willing to fully give up the misogynist ones.
And outside of celebrity circles, men including Clay Johnson and Don Hazen (briefly my own boss) found great success in progressive organizing and media largely by promoting themselves and strong-arming perceived detractors; it was little surprise to learn from recent reporting that they allegedly also bullied, sexually harassed and demeaned the women around them. (Mr. Hazen denied most of the allegations.)