Butch. Man hater. Feminist. All these words turn men off. But what if you can change that? What if you can make your man see the other side of things?
The media portrays feminists as rabid man haters, although we are far from hating men. We love men, we love our fathers, and we love, love, love our sons. What we don't like is the patriarchal system that dictates that women are not equal to, or as good as, men. Is equal pay for equal work such a bad thing? If I can do a job just as good as the guys, why should I be denied the job based on my gender?
Feminists don't believe that women are better than men. They believe they are equal to men and that all people should be judged by their abilities, rather than their gender. It is only fair, and fairness is all we are asking for.
To start changing men's opinion of feminists, we have to change ourselves. We can't be on the attack all the time. Instead, we have to face each situation with reason. We can't be angry at people because they have been brought up in a male-centric society. Instead, we have to show them that there is a better way to live.
Usually, the easiest way to turn your guy into a feminist is to simply have a basic discussion about it. Most men think that a feminist is some angry woman who wants to lop off a guy's peewee. Far from it. Give him the basic definition of feminism: equal rights for men and women. That's it. Equal rights for all people is something we should all be able to agree on. If this is something that he can't agree on, the hope of making him into a feminist may as well be tossed out the window, although it is extremely rare to find someone who believes that certain groups of people are better than others based on their genitals.
If your guy makes a sexist comment, call him out on it. For example, if he makes a comment about a woman’s breasts and how she got her job by showing them off, have him reevaluate his statement. Maybe she got her job because she knows what she is doing. Perhaps she was the only one qualified for it, educated for it, and maybe, just maybe, she is really good at what she does. On the flip side, if a man gave her that job because of the size of her boobs, what is that saying about the man? Sounds like the guy is the dumb one in that situation and the woman was playing it smart, using what she had to get what she wanted.
Only manly men can be feminists. It takes a strong man to be a feminist, to buck against what the news outlets say feminists are, and to stand proudly along with women for equal rights. Appeal to your man's manly side, his ego. Only the strong men can face society and announce that they are feminists. Can he do it too? I bet your guy is stronger than he thinks he is. On the other hand, if your guy has a rebellious streak in him, feminism is perfect for him.
Tell him it is a social experiment or tell him it is something he can write about and share online. Have him dress up, put on makeup, and pose for some pictures. Then, help him set up an account on Tinder or a dating website as a woman. As every woman knows, as soon as you set up an account on any matchmaking site, the creeps start pouring out almost immediately. Get him to interact with some of the guys and let him fend for himself when it comes to the penis pictures. In other words, let him see and experience what it is like being a woman on the dating scene online. It is sure to change some of his own opinions and behavior.
Appeal to his desire to be well liked. Men who openly admit that they are feminists are loved by women everywhere. While we are working towards being strong individuals, it makes us feel really great to learn that we are not alone in our struggle for equality. A guy coming out as a feminist is one of the most loved type of guys. He is automatically a hero for bucking the system and standing up for what is truly right: equal rights for all. Nothing gets sexier than that.
Both my 21-year-old daughter and my 19-year-old son help me out with donating items to a local women's crisis center. Going to the center is a major eye opener. So is becoming a volunteer which may require classes on how to handle stressful situations and identify when someone is in serious danger. Women's crisis centers need more men for volunteers. They are not man haters in the slightest, but they do open up your eyes to how unfair the justice system is when women can be beaten to within an inch of their lives and the police take no action against the person who did the beating. Make volunteering a couple's activity and get involved in helping victims of domestic violence. Feel good about yourselves while helping others.
If you want your boyfriend to understand what a feminist is, then lead by example. Refrain from being one of those loud and hateful when it comes to your views. As a feminist, you believe in the equals rights of all people, regardless of gender. That also means that women can be wrong just as equally as men can be wrong. If you want your man to understand feminism, show him you can see both sides to every situation. Don't always take the woman's side because of her gender - that is not feminism. Approach all topics rationally and discuss situations with your man without getting angry or frustrated.
Don't let your man think you are trying to make a wuss out of him. Instead, send him the occasional article about feminism, but make sure it is written by a man. There are numerous manly men who are feminists and write about feminism online. These awesome guys bring out the best points of feminism and are better able to talk to the guys than we are. Men, after all, like being able to connect with other men, just as we women like being able to connect with other women.
Get him involved in the scene. Men can be feminists too, and they can be active in the feminist community while still hanging out with the guys. There is the National Organization for Men Against Sexism and there's Men Can Stop Rape. There are organizations for men to put an end to domestic violence and organizations for men to give their daughters a better tomorrow. Simply put, there is something out there for any man who wants to change the world into a better place for all people.
Let’s pretend you are one religion and your boyfriend is another religion. Would you like it if he tried to push his religion onto you? How would you feel if he told you that his religion was the only right and true religion? You would probably get angry, right? Approach the subject of feminism in the same way. Some people have been so well taught to believe that feminism is just man bashing that they can’t even handle hearing the “f” word. Instead of attacking his core beliefs, enter into the subject lightly and only when something relevant comes up. For example, his sister just found out that she makes less than her male co-worker. She is upset and your boyfriend probably is, too. That would be a good time to just mention that men and women should get equal pay for equal work. At that moment, he will probably agree with you because the issue is suddenly personal.
What makes more sense: a one income relationship or a relationship that has two streams of income? If there are no children involved, a relationship where both people earn money makes the most sense. For one thing, it increases the couple's buying power. For another, it takes the stress off the guy who was traditionally supposed to "bring home the bacon." Feminists are only asking for equal pay for equal work. They are not asking to be paid more and they are not asking to be picked over a better candidate. For guys, wouldn't it be great if your woman made as much as or even more than you? Equal buying power can mean better couple's vacations and the ability to start a life together on equal, solid footing where both people contribute to the home financially.
Ask your man if he believes in equal rights for men and women. If he says yes, let him him know that he is a feminist. He might not like the word, but that is exactly what he is. He doesn’t have a choice in the matter unless he wants to start believing that men are better than women. Then he will have to admit that his mother, sister, aunts, and, if he has one, daughter are all beneath him and less than a person than himself. Few men are willing to or are emotionally incapable of placing a mother or daughter beneath them.
As feminists, we support the rights of mothers to stay home with their child. On the flip side of that, we also support the rights of fathers to stay home with a child, too. We believe that both parents should be active in the care of a child and that fathers should get paternity leave along with the mother's maternity leave. You see, feminists are great for men and women. We see both sides to the story and we really do understand where men and women are coming from. Life should be equal. End of story.