Rebranding feminism?

I subscribe to the Vitamin W Twitter feed, and I like it.

I especially liked this piece about a contest they're running to rebrand feminism.

I support all the goals they outline there, and especially the way they talk about men (because, in case it's not clear, I am one).

They see us as part of the audience, and want us to "care that there are two genders, and want to see [us] work together, for a future with true equal opportunity." Everything about that is perfect. I'm one hundred percent in. I especially like the "working together" part.

Note that they didn't say I have to hate my gender, or my race, or apologize for who I am, or how I was raised. If you aren't me, or weren't in my family you don't know anything about it. I don't have to explain myself or shut up. I am not an xxx (fill in any number of awful names). I don't have to stop oppressing anyone (because I'm not).

I'm not bad because I'm male. I'm a potential friend, someone who believes in your cause, because I believe we are one species, that men and women create each other, and no change can happen without everyone on board, and everyone benefitting.

There's no "turnabout is fair play." No recitals about the importance of understanding how we got here. No more lectures about how we are mansplaining (one of the most awful conversation-disabling concepts ever invented).

The focus must be on getting out of the mess we're in. And I would add, the sooner the better, because we have huge urgent problems to address that require everyone to be on board. Like a government that's turning the United States into a police state. Like a climate that's threatening to make our home planet uninhabitable, within our lifetimes.

My experience with feminism in the last month has been terrible. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe I was right, but nothing justifies the name-calling and put-downs. Childish, powerless taunts and lectures. Inability to see things from multiple points of view. It may feel good for a moment or two, look we made Mr Man pay, but what good did it do you in the end? You turned away someone who could help. Someone who wants to help.

Not to worry, I wasn't actually turned away. A bunch of online name-calling and bullying isn't that impressive or fear-inspiring.

My only criticism of the Rebranding Feminism contest is that it isn't rebranding that feminism needs, it's direction and leadership, worthwhile goals, working toward meaningful change that will improve actual lives, now. Because today's feminism as I've experienced it doesn't have any of that.

Posted: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:00:13 GMT