John Scalzi

In “Hell Yes, I’m a Feminist,” John Scalzi writes about his decision, as a straight white male, to own the label of feminist. I wanted to include this entry because I think it’s important to touch on the idea of the male ally. What does it mean for men to call themselves feminists?

For Scalzi, making the transition from accepting being called a feminist to calling himself a feminist was a distinct step. It comes down to a matter of choice - being the kind of person who allows others to label them, or being the kind of person who takes the label and slaps it on their own chest for everyone to see. And some people, putting that label on their chests are not in positions of power. They may or may not have a platform, a voice. They may not have a choice, being labeled that way regardless of how they self-identify.

Scalzi goes on to discuss the utility of this announcement. He emphasizes that he isn’t doing it for the sake of the poor womens. “[Feminism] doesn’t need me as a spokesperson or a leading voice.” So why should he, or any man, call themselves a feminist?

Because feminism isn’t a dirty word. Because feminism is misunderstood and attacked for being misandrist. Because the more men stand with, instead of against, feminists, the more other men will come to realize that they can do that too.
I do think it’s important to let women know you do stand with them. I think it’s useful for other men to see it being done. To the extent that I have influence and notability, I’d like to use it standing with, and for, women.
Women need role models. We need to see ourselves, and the many and varied ways we can be and act, in the story and in life. But men also need to see that there are other ways for them to be. That they don’t have to follow that poisonous patriarchal path that Gloria Steinem pointed out in “Supremacy Crimes.” Feminism is about bettering the lives of women and men.

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