Real Men of Feminism

This piece was cross-posted here with permission from Parentwin

After the “most notorious American male feminist” stepped down the other day (and then didn’t, but definitely did after that) there’s been a lot of talk about men feminists (like there ever isn’t, am I right?). I’d like to take this moment, however, to turn the spotlight away from the preachy, narcissistic men of the feminist writing spaces and celebrate the real men of feminism. Oh, they’re there. They’re right here, in fact.

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That is Billy Joe Cain, standing with his 14-year-old daughter who wins the award for best sign ever in the history of signs.

Before we move on, let’s all get the meaning of this sign clear.

Jesus is not a dick (meaning, cleverly in this case, jerk, douche, asshole, ballseam, term du jour, and also penis).

So keep him out of my vagina (meaning religion has no place dictating a woman’s rights to her and continuing beautifully with the little metaphor).

Got it? Okay.

As the pro-lifers came out in droves to attack this young girl, her father stood resolutely by her side. He did not once lose his cool with these monsters who called his daughter a whore, called him a pimp, called her a slut…well, here, read yourself. (And PS – these all came from this post, which you should all read immediately)

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This was just one of dozens of calls to physically assault this child for her impertinent sign-holding. And throughout all of these awful, horrible, disgusting threats, her father was able to not end the twitter users’ lives. How, I’ll never know.

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Billy Joe Cain makes the excellent point that holding a sign that says Jesus isn’t a dick so keep him out of my vagina is not equal to holding a sign saying I’m having sex at 14 years old.

These two things are not the same.

He doesn’t come out swinging, like, how dare you insinuate my sweet pea is having sex with people! He doesn’t scramble to re-explain their actions in a this sign has nothing to do with my daughter; she’s not having sex! manner. He does not put pressure on her one way or the other. He does not insert his feelings as a man, or as a father into her fight. He does not weigh in on her sexual activity except to ask others not to in a completely benign and calm way.

He stands with her, not for her, and patiently points out the obvious. Even after people too dumb to type words call her a gardening tool.

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He gives no air-time to the utterly insulting ridiculousness aimed at both him and a 14-year-old child. He rightly knows that these people will never get the point. He instead spends his energy building up his daughter and her beliefs, protecting her rights and her body.

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I mean, seriously, I would be flipping tables in rage right now. Billy Joe Cain? Rides it out. There is no hope for these people. Fanning their flames would only bring hardship on his daughter. They gave their message. They’re allowing “discourse”. They take their (awesome) sign and go home, leaving the world a better place.

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Again, he is simple and directly to the point, cutting through all the garbage. I also do not understand why they are calling his daughter a whore.

Billy Joe Cain goes on to say briefly that his daughter had every right to hold that sign as 14 year olds can and do get pregnant and need to know they have a choice about their own bodies.

And then, you know what? He marches on. He doesn’t dwell on his daughter. More importantly, he does not dwell on himself and the good he is doing for the feminist movement.

Instead, he continues to quietly fight the fight. This is his twitter, as of the writing of this post:

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This is a man women can call their ally. This is a true male feminist. There’s nothing about him anywhere on his feed. There’s nothing there showing women how to do feminism correctly. There’s no talk of feminism at all.

There is simply a man fighting for the rights of his daughter and her female friends and women at large through education and the works of others.

Billy Joe Cain. A true male feminist.

And for another truly wonderful take on this story from the Christian / religious perspective, head over to Corn Dog Mama. She’s brilliant, as always with her latest post, “Vaginas, Jesus and Slut Shaming.”

Darlena Cunha is a former television producer turned stay-at-home mom to twin four-year-old girls. When she’s not parenting, she’s writing novels, freelancing, going to grad school or blogging at http://parentwin.com.

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