A troubled student writes:
As a proud male feminist,
Oh, go on. Guess where.
As a proud male feminist, I believe it’s important for men to rally around the feminist movement to provide support and to act as an example for other men to follow. So it confuses me that at university a shockingly large number of male students I speak to refuse to apply the term to themselves, instead being evasive and avoiding such an empowering title.
Yes, dear readers, it’s both shocking and confusing that in the twenty-first century, in one of the most cosseting and politically corrected environments in all of the developed world, some male students feel no need to describe themselves as feminists. And calling oneself a feminist, announcing it proudly to the world - or at least to other, likeminded, equally proud students - is apparently the duty of all righteous beings, especially those with testicles. It’s empowering, you see. And never a sign of narcissism, credulity and pretentious moral grandstanding.
The scandalised and bewildered author of this piece is Mr Lewis Merryweather, a first year student of comparative literature at the University of Warwick. “He is a proud feminist,” reads his Guardian profile, “and writes poetry.” And the sorrows of his life are there for all to see:
I often encounter negative reactions when declaring myself a male feminist at university.
Missionary work is hard. Bring handkerchiefs, quickly, a dozen at least. And possibly towels and a mop.
I find this attitude among male students worrying… Perhaps it stems from male panic, that, foolishly, male students worry they may lose power and opportunity in a world of feminism. Perhaps guy students are embarrassed to align themselves with a word that lexically alludes to female-centrism.
Yes, that must be it. Those lexical allusions are a real bugger.
Maybe they’re worried about feeling emasculated.
Says our fretful poet. A man agonised by the existence of peers who don’t think exactly as he does and won’t wear his badge. And to make matters worse, there’s the ever-present shadow of hegemonic oppression:
In the words of Colm Dempsy, a male feminist who spoke at the forum I attended: “I am a proud male feminist. I am willing to fight with you. If you let me.” This is a statement every man, inside university and outside, should be able to shout without fear of being silenced by society.
Silenced by society. In a national newspaper.