I was lucky to have been raised by a woman who was a Mexican feminist at a time when the term was an oxymoron. But I know many men, especially Latinos, have a hard time understanding that feminism isn’t this hippy-dippy thing best left to bra-burning liberal white soccer moms who buy organic pink hats at Whole Foods on their way to yoga class.
But feminism isn’t hippy-dippy. It’s kind of an important thing, especially in the 21st Century, which is the current fad and will likely be for the next 983 years. But don’t worry! Feminism is easier to embrace than you think! To all my fellow men out there, here are five really easy tips on how to be a feminist.
1. Don’t be a douchewaffle. Simple enough: don’t be like this idiot. Joking about subjugating women, bragging about your sexual exploits (real or hoped for), or justifying boorish, misogynist behavior with that “boys will be boys” nonsense? Really not that funny. Or cool. Or flattering in the age of Instagram, online dating, and Googling an online dating prospect.
Why not adapt the mantra of, “Men will be men” instead? And by that, I mean, “Frickin’ act like the high-and-mighty ideal you have of a man as the epitome of strength, classiness, and nobility and make respect and decency the cornerstones of your personal constitution because that’s what being a man, nay, being a person, is all about, because, seriously, real men don’t need to prove just how big and tough and dominating they are because the only thing that paradoxically proves is how much of a man you’re not, so don’t do it!”
Or don’t be a douchewaffle. Whatever’s easier for you.
2. Throw out the old books, and maybe read some new ones. I mean this literally and figuratively. Our parents and grandparents lived in different times and sometimes pass along advice that seems…well…a bit dumb. Some of the things I’ve heard?
- “Marry a woman from a small village. She’ll do anything you ask.”
- “Wait, why are you washing those dishes? That’s a woman’s work.”
- “The only thing a woman really wants is good sex and a great washing machine.”
So if you read these and thought, “Holy crap, are you serious?! That’s utterly ridiculous,” then you’re already on the right path and might want to skip to point 3. But if you read these and thought, “Wait, you mean these are bad?” you might want to consider throwing these ideas into the trash bin. They don’t even need to land in the trash bin. So long as they land in the general vicinity of garbage, you’re fine. You know what? Just throw them out the window if you have really bad aim.
But, seriously, these ideas are on par with all that recent “the world is flat, global warming is a hoax, Donald Trump cares about the working class” nonsense. You want to see how awesome women are? Why not read some good books written by women?
Read some Jenny Lawson. Lucha Corpi. Maya Angelou. Sandra Cisneros. Brene Brown. Gillian Flynn. Toni Morrison. Ursula K. Le Guin. Margaret Atwood. Hell, read J.K. Rowlings if you want to take baby steps. But read books written by women, because reading a good book offers points of view that we men don’t have in our everyday lives.
In other words, you’ve been on one side of the island all your life. Why not read a book that describes what the other side of the island is like? You may be surprised at how different things can seem.
3. Embrace biology. Look, guys. Let’s be serious here. That whole “passing a kidney stone is as painful as giving birth” thing? That was probably concocted by men to feel less guilty about the fact that women, and only women, have to experience something as painful as giving birth. So you really think that a person who’s biologically designed to endure levels of pain that would probably make us pass out are inferior? Yeah, uh-huh.
4. Embrace facts. I know that facts are fast becoming more of a suggestion these days. But the fact is, facts don’t lie. (Case in point: the last sentence.) Unless they’re spouted by a five-year-old on a sugar high or any member of the current administration.
Still, the fact is, when given the chance (i.e., when male society stops being such an a-hole), women have done remarkable things, things that only men were supposed to be able to do. For example:
- Women have fought in wars.
- Women have helped us go to space and gone to space.
- Women have governed tribes and nations since humans were old enough to say “Og make fire and secure WiFi network.”
- Women gave us beer. Which they probably regret, but still, they gave us beer. So I don’t even know why you aren’t praising every random woman you run across this second.
5. DON’T be a feminist. Finally, the best way for you to be a feminist is NOT to be one. And by that, I mean, forget the labels and forget telling the world that you’re a feminist. There’s nothing noteworthy or praiseworthy about believing in the inherent equality between men and women.
You can believe this and go about your day acting upon this belief through unnoticeable acts of decency and respect. And if you need validation for being a decent person, well, here it is. Great work respecting women! Gold star! Now get back out there and fight for equal pay and women’s health.
Look, at the end of the day, we really are all equal. But I won’t say “We’re all equal in the eyes of God” because I’m not religious.
But I do believe in zombies, so I can say, “If the zombie apocalypse happens, we’re all in it together to save humanity, and it won’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, gay or straight, black or white or turquoise. We’re all in it together equally, though it sucks that you had to learn this basic universal truth through zombies, but it’s better late than never, so go kill zombies!”
And respect women. Because if nothing else, women gave us Michelle Obama. And if that doesn’t make you want to sign up for feminism, I don’t know what will.
Ulises Silva does a little bit of everything but is most passionate about writing and storytelling. He began his writing career—such as it is—with truly horrific Anime fanfics but has since devoted his efforts toward writing heartwarming stories about the end of the world and zany satires about Latinos, time travel, and guacamole. He’s also serves on the More than Latina Advisory Board. Find him at www.ulisessilva.com,