Image by Kat Jayne

Women’s rights is currently the most important thing on the internet. Feminism is a billion dollar industry.  Anyone who identifies as a feminist is bound to receive love, support and cheers from social and news media. However, if you fail to support the feminist ideal, you are seen as someone who hates all women and basically should be shunned from humanity. Worse if you’re an anti-feminist woman, or even just a woman who doesn’t call herself a feminist. How can you hate yourself?

Enter the male feminist. This is the man who claims to support gender equality—wearing a pink hat to the Women’s March, slavering over feminist women on Twitter in hopes of some likes and attention (usually along the lines of “I’m so sorry this is happening to you :-(“), eagerly donating to Feminist Frequency—while also hating any woman who doesn’t agree with his preconceived notions of feminism. If a woman even dares to criticize his interpretation of feminism, she will be labeled a “dumb bitch” who doesn’t know he’s simply trying to help her; she’ll be accused of internalized misogyny; or she’ll be accused of being a male with a female profile picture.

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Some of the most prominent male allies are particularly horrible with this. Graham Linehan, creator of The IT Crowd, has told Nicole Kidman “Botox impairs cognitive functions” over Kidman’s acceptance of Donald Trump as President. Joss Whedon shared similar sentiments, and this was back before he was outed for his behavior towards ex-wife Kai Cole. Popular YouTuber shoe0nhead was accused of being a man with a woman’s profile picture, when said profile picture is actually shoe0nhead’s Photoshopped face.

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When Cassie Jaye, the director of controversial film The Red Pill, was in Australia, she was accused by Sunrise host Andrew O’Keefe of being sympathetic towards the wrong sorts of men, and encouraging and supporting misogyny. When it was revealed O’Keefe hadn’t actually watched the film, he provided excuses to Jaye and denied her rights as a woman who didn’t agree with his preconceived assumptions about men’s rights activists.

Jonathan McIntosh, former co-creator of Feminist Frequency, is the creator of a show Pop Culture Detective Agency, which lectures us about masculinity from a male feminist perspective. Essentially, McIntosh’s videos show women have no agency, are weak and powerless, and men are always to blame for everything.

In a particularly horrible case, Seven Network, the same studio that hosts prominent male ally Andrew O’Keefe, has recently been accused of shamefully firing a woman who accused a senior male co-worker of sexual harassment. For a studio so obsessed with women’s rights and vehemently against the ill treatment of women, it’s interesting they’ll fire a woman allegedly harassed by a man. The same studio is known for its interesting treatment of women like Amber Harrison and Melissa Doyle. Equality only when it suits them?

There are multiple examples of male feminists—at the helm to defend any female feminist on the internet—who degrade and insult and block any woman who disagrees with them. Simply trying to stop the disgusting practice of slut-shaming Melania Trump, for example, will get you blocked.

patton_oswaltDespite feminists and other social justice types claiming these men do no speak for them, they do. If the fringe element of neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan supporters on the Right define their movement, then these, shall we say, problematic elements of the Left, definitely define the Left. These are not just lone instances. Many male feminists—Joss Whedon, Robert Marmalejo, Graham Linehan, Devin Faraci, and others—are indicative of a widespread problem.

They are the old-school anti-feminists—the men who were against suffrage and the right for a woman not to be raped in marriage—and they wish to subjugate and segregate women all over again. Men should be supportive of equal rights for women, but these men are not doing that. They are actively treating women like weak little objects who can’t do anything without male feminist help. This is an insult to strong, capable women.

Women are not free from scrutiny and criticism, but you should not be dismissive of a woman simply because she disagrees with your brand of feminism. The true men who support equal rights are usually the ones who don’t identify as feminist, just like the true women who support equality usually don’t identify as feminist. You don’t need to be a feminist to support gender equality. I know, I know, dictionary definition! Dictionary definitions aren’t indicative of a word. Just look at National Socialist.

If we truly want an equal society, then we must be able to support each other as equals. If you only see women as little babies that need you as their knight in shining armor, then we’ll only regress as a society and never truly move forward.