Did you hear the one about the feminist who took a man’s advice on how to make more feminists? 

Wait, let me back up a minute.  I’m Joe, and I’m a man.  Like many men, deep down I am a good person.  I think the world should be fair, safe, and full of opportunity for everyone.  However, as a man, I can assure you that many of us are forgetful… we forget anniversaries, we forget to put the seat down, and we forget to notice the inequalities around us.  And while I know better than to claim to know everything, I do know a bit about the male brain.  So here are a few insights, from the mind of a man, on how you might be able to help the men in your lives remember their own feminism.

4. Labeling.  Feminists are militant lesbians taking cues from Lorena Bobbitt, or so a lot of popular media would have us believe.  Consequently, many men believe that being a feminist requires hating men.  Forget trying to get your men to call themselves “feminists”, since word wars like that are a whole separate uphill battle (as others in this blog have noted).  For a proto-feminist man, try using a term that’s a bit more immediately appealing to the male ego… like maybe “real man.”  Real men respect women.  Real men stand up against injustice.  Real men know that equal empowerment is sexy.  “Baby, are you a real man?”  “Yes, yes I am.”

3. Focusing.  Networks broadcast more hours of female gymnastics than any other Olympic sport, because advertisers think the male demographic will enjoy looking at young girls in tight outfits.  Most men don’t realize how feminist issues play a major role in all the things they care about, like sports.  A businessman might be interested to learn about wage discrimination and glass ceilings.  A video game player may be fascinated to hear your take on the “Capture the Babe” mode of that new shooter game.  A jokester might see truth in humor while attending a performance of The Vagina Monologues with you.  Remind men that no matter what their interest, there are feminist issues connected to those interests.

2. Preparing.  While it’s not actually true, many men believe that they process things logically (with facts), while women process things emotionally (with feelings and stuff).  There are a whole lot of facts & figures you can use to show a man how wrong various issues are.  Personally, I never paid that much attention to feminists until someone sat me down in college and showed me Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly.  Eventually my caveman mind realized, “Hey, wait a minute, look at all these examples… women really ARE objectified in our media.”  Some of us may be thick-skulled, but we’ll get it eventually with enough evidence.  Have those figures ready, or find collections of those data that others have compiled. 

1. Waiting.  A while back I bought a “wowing” towel product from a TV offer.  A month later I found that my credit card info had been used to sign me up for all sorts of vacation clubs and other subscription products that were much more “sham” than “wow”.  Most guys, like me, HATE feeling hijacked by things we don’t feel we’ve signed up for.  So when your man starts to show interest in a particular women’s issue, let him work at his own pace on that.  Wait for him to ask about other issues.  Do not immediately try to get him to be passionately opposed to every injustice every woman has ever suffered throughout history.  Heck, even most female feminists I know don’t have the time or energy to devote themselves to every woman-related cause out there.  Take time with your man, and let him choose his causes without fear of information overload from you.  Be his patient ally in this journey, and more women will soon find that he is their ally as well.

In the end, you can never really “change a man into a feminist.”  The decision to become aware of and active in women’s issues is a choice everyone must make individually.  However, if you open a dialogue with the men you care for, you’ll open up a world of possibilities for you and them.


Joe Lastowski is a counselor, writing teacher, and “real man” who lives in western Massachusetts.

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  • Fun post, Joe. I use ‘he’s a good man’ a lot…(vs real man) –probably from the The Good Men Project in Australia—heh. As a name generation/branding geek from way back I can safely say you have tackled the ‘issue’ of how to reframe a concept without losing its purpose and meaning. Bravo!

    I actually wrote a post for Shaping Youth called “The F Word: Does Feminist Need ReBranding? Let’s Ask Teens” which got some convos zingin’ hither and yon sparking several follow up posts as you can see by the trackbacks in the comments…Thanks for the ‘guys eye view’ and um, thanks for being a ‘real man.’

  • Jason

    Watch the whole video plz.

    4: So you believe manipulation, and mind-control (look up both) is a good way to convince a man that he should worship the ground a woman walks on? We already step on egg shells to voice opinions, or say anything to women. Men are AFRAID of talking to women, and women are the fearful ones? Men think wrong?

    3: Have you ever played video games my friend? It’s about KILLING MEN, IN REVENGE TO MEN KILLING ONE WOMAN, or revenge against MEN KILLING MILLIONS OF …. PEOPLE. Ever since the feminist movement hit peak, gaming has become boring, because nothing is REAL. Everything involves “political correctness.” Nazis can’t be killed in Company of Heroes, because “Nazi” is offensive. God isn’t in society, because “God” is offensive. I can’t SLAP A GIRL BACK, when she KICKS ME IN THE NUTS. I bet you thought to yourself, “You probably deserved it.” She did it from behind, and with 0 reason. I didn’t know her. I slapped her for trying it a second time, and the school Tried to EXPEL me, because I “Hit a Girl. You don’t hit a GIRL.” So her VAGINA makes her exempt from punishment?

    2: Wow, objectified? I didn’t realize women were chained to the stadiums, and forced to wear skimpy clothes. I didn’t realize girls were forced to wear high heels, mini skirts, thongs, and panties with juicy, on them. I didn’t realize that fathers telling their daughters to stop wearing this stuff, and the mother defending it was in fact the MANS fault! OMG I didn’t realize that girls at the age of 1-10 were forced to start dressing in bikinis, and tight pants, and makeup on wasn’t the mothers fault!!! I am so WRONG! Bullshit. It’s the mothers fault. All of it. They allow their daughters to dress like whores, and fight the dad on the premise that, “It’s okay, ALL the girls are doing it these days. It’s all the rage.” And denying him sex, or screaming at him for being unfair with his son, even though… you know, because his son is walking out of the house wearing a mini-skirt, half jacked, 4 inch heels, and thong.

    1: So women are too stupid to know how to scam? Your sexist. Check on the Shattered men’s sight. It was hacked by a feminist, and the emails deleted. It was found to be a WOMAN that did it on the guise that, “Those men are just whiny.” So feminist aren’t just whiny when they complain about domestic abuse? Just men? Do not expect a real man to justify women that, women are victims, men are perpetrators clause. 70% of unreported abuse is ALL AGAINST MEN BY WOMEN.

    Closing notes: I am not saying, “Hey, you just hate men.” I’m saying, “Hey! Be fair. If you list Domestic Abuse, list both sides.” If you list rape, list both sides. Murder, both sides. Do not be a man hater. Do not be blind. I have been assaulted by women in public, “Slapped, and kicked.” I tried to report it to the officer near me, and he just laughed. Said, “Grow up.” If a man slaps a girl, guess what? He’s going to jail, or every single “chivalrous” male in a 2 mile vicinity will beat the shit out of the guy. Do research, don’t just take my word for it.

  • Robert S Moulds

    Oh you don’t have to sell feminizing to me I prefer to wear mini dresses, skirts, halter tops, one piece swimsuits, heels and of course I always enjoy baring my silk smooth legs. I don’t even like cover them up with pantyhose even in winter figure skating in bare legs sexy burrrr let alone in those silly pants. Let the women have them I don’t need them. I’m proud of my girlish figure, shinny arms and love lead around the dance floor by some one bigger and stronger.