As feminist theory found support among a number of men who formed consciousness-raising groups in the 1960s, these groups were differentiated by preferences for particular feminisms and political approaches. However, the inclusion of men's voices as "feminists" presented issues for some. For a number of women and men, the word "feminism" was reserved for women, the subjects who experienced the inequality and oppression that feminism sought to address. In response to this objection, other terms like antisexism and pro-feminism, were coined and defended by various groups. There are pro-feminist men's groups in most nations in the Western world. The activities of pro-feminist men's groups include anti-violence work with boys and young men in schools, offering sexual harassment workshops in workplaces, running community education campaigns, and counseling male perpetrators of violence. Pro-feminist men also are involved in men's health, men's studies, the development of gender equity curricula in schools, and many other areas. Pro-feminist men who support sex-negative feminists participate in activism against pornography including anti-pornography legislation.
This work is sometimes in collaboration with feminists and women's services, such as domestic violence and rape crisis centers.
The term "pro-feminist" is also sometimes used by people who hold feminist beliefs or who advocate on behalf of feminist causes, but who do not consider themselves to be feminists, per se. It is also used by those who do not identify with, or wish for others to identify them with, the feminist movement. Some activists of both genders will not refer to men as "feminists" at all, and will refer to all pro-feminist men as "pro-feminists", even if the men in question refer to themselves as "feminists". There is also criticism from the 'other side' against "pro-feminist" men who refuse to identify as feminist. Most major feminist groups, most notably the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation, refer to male activists as feminists rather than as pro-feminists.
Issues on which pro-feminists usually campaign include violence against women, sexism, inequalities in pay and promotion at work, sex trafficking, and women's rights to birth control. Because such issues often appear in politics many liberal male politicians will sometimes espouse feminist claims to gain votes, despite dubious backgrounds and actions. Pro-feminist men who support sex-negative feminists also campaign against pornography.
As there is no centralized "movement" the motivation and goals of pro-feminist men are various:
As there is variety in the feminist movement, there is also variety in pro-feminist men's movement. Some pro-feminists argue that men profit from hegemonic patriarchal relationships to the detriment of women. Those on the right usually stress the effects of individual behaviours and change, while those on the left focus on institutionally based discrimination. Another distinct difference is based on whether campaigning should be 'hard' or 'soft'. Some prefer a tougher stance and a focus on the more brutalising effects of patriarchy, whilst others are concerned that campaigns that attempt to make men feel guilty will not be as effective as an invitation to personal change and development in a way that redefines men's relationship to women and other men.
Early writings from the Pro-feminist men's movement in the U.S. include Jon Snodgrass's A Book of Readings for Men against Sexism, Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner's collection of essays, Men's Lives, and Joseph Pleck's The Myth of Masculinity. Three basic assumptions of these early texts included the distinction between sex and gender, the treatment of gender as a social construct, and the position that men are harmed by proscriptive gender roles. Building on this last assumption, early Pro-feminist men's texts assumed a corollary that if men were made aware of these conditions, they would relinquish their social privileges. They believe that:
Just as there is substantial diversity and disagreement within feminism, there is diversity among pro-feminist men. For example, the extent to which men are also limited or harmed by societal gender relations is an area of disagreement. Some men emphasize the privilege received by virtue of being men in a patriarchal or male-dominated society, while others emphasise the ways in which the gender roles laid down by patriarchal society constrict both men and women.
Some pro-feminist men argue that those who emphasize the latter, or who even claim that, like women, men too are "oppressed", are not really pro-feminist or are not pro-feminist enough. Others make a distinction between "radical pro-feminist" and "liberal pro-feminist" men, and emphasize their shared commitments and similarities.
Pro-feminist men typically also recognize the importance of other forms of injustice and other kinds of social relations. Pro-feminists assume that class, race, sexuality, age and other such things are important influences on the relations between and among men and women.
Pro-feminist men who are politically active have tended to concentrate on a number of specific issues, such as men's violence. However, a pro-feminist perspective is applicable to and relevant for any issue and any area of men's lives. For example, issues of child custody and family law have usually been taken up by men who are non-feminist or anti-feminist (such as men's rights and fathers' rights groups), but there is no reason why they cannot be taken up as areas of pro-feminist men's activity too.
Pro-feminists claim to be anti-sexist, and anti-patriarchal, but they argue that they are not anti-male. Some pro-feminist men believe that men have potential for good and believe that there is a potential for "backlash" within the men's movement, a potential for the movement to turn towards the defence of what they see as men's privilege and position, and some would say that this has already occurred. While all pro-feminist men assume that men must act to dismantle gender injustice, some argue that a men's movement is not the way to do this. They advocate instead that pro-feminists build alliances and coalitions with other progressive groups and movements (such as feminism, gay and lesbian liberation, left-wing and socialist movements, anti-racist struggles, and so on).
Pornography and Pop Culture: Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture.(conference)(Byron Hurt)
Jul 01, 2007; Pornography and Pop Culture: Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture By Byron Hurt With a...