Well, as most of you know, it is not easy being a male feminist in these difficult times. In spite of your earnest intentions and efforts, there are people who nit-pick and critique you. So here is a list of wholesome and nuanced techniques to assert your male feminist status. Because come on, there is nothing that appropriate political posturing can’t achieve.
1) The naive thing that some over-enthusiastic men do is to bluntly claim that they are feminist. Which was supposedly an in-thing in the 90s. But right now, that’s like an open invitation to be mocked at. These days, you prove your feminist status by claiming how you don’t deserve to be called a feminist. Your short emotional monologue should say the following verbatim, “But can a man truly be a feminist? I mean, however well-intentioned he might be, he is still a beneficiary of patriarchy, right? What we can rather try to be is a feminist ally!”
2) ‘Intersectionality’ is technically an obsolete word which never meant anything anyway. Plus, if you aren’t in the right academic mood, it is slightly even tricky to pronounce the word. So, the phrase you should ideally use is “But then, aren’t all women worse off than Dalits? Even the Brahmin woman?” This will win you instant brownie points. And maybe even get you an honorary invite from one of the sub-editors of the fancier sections of EPW. Feminist status, 200% guaranteed.
3) Whenever you hear the words trash, rash, ash, sh or h or any other word that rhymes with these, you have to robotically butt into the conversation and emphatically state that “Yes. All men are trash!”
Other person: Is that a rash on your forehead?
You: Yes. All men are trash.
Other person: Please join my kid’s birthday bash!
You: Sure. But then, aren’t all men trash?
You get the drift, I hope. If you don’t, forget it.
4) Several novice men tend to believe that they can easily establish their feminist status by bashing other men. Which was once cool, yes. But not anymore. The ideal thing to do right now is to write a long personal post about how your dad is a complete asshole. Trust me, there is nothing that can get you popular overnight like this. However, it is important to not overdo things and end up calling yourself an asshole as well. That would be too much of a confession. So, don’t push your luck more than you should. Just stop with your dad. And mention how you love your mom and how she deserved much better. Share a picture of you and your mom for additional impact. Only heart reacts, I assure.
5) Change and retain your WhatsApp status to ‘Checking my cis-male privileges’!
6) Debate furiously in all public places (don’t be so furious if it is a public toilet) on why our everyday language perpetuates gender inequality. Ask people why the national bird is the Peacock and not the Peahen? When someone tries to disagree with you, get hold of their collar and plead with them to be a sensitive hu-person. Because you see, we don’t use the word hu-man.
7) Change your cover picture to Savatribai Phule’s image. When someone else changes their cover picture to Savitribai Phule’s image, put your heart reaction instantly and share it. And then share it every year when the FB memory pops up. Three or more blue hearts as caption would be appreciated.
8) Once in three months, as soon as you wake up in the morning, claim everywhere on social media that Nayanthara is the best actress in the entire solar system. It was previously okay to use Kangana Ranaut’s name for these purposes. But not anymore. So, stick to Nayanthara until a further announcement from higher authorities. Also, ponder why Rajinikant is not called the non-lady superstar.
9) When two women activists are arguing over something, do not take sides. Because come on, how can you be a true male feminist if you are going to disagree with any woman? So ‘like’ both their conflicting arguments and share it everywhere. Because what a true-blue male feminist will do is ‘amplify’ women’s voices. So just do that. Honestly, you don’t even have to read what they are writing. Just amplify, AMPLIFY, A.M.P.L.I.F.Y!
10) If you are a rookie performer, it might be tempting to share an image of a slightly torn dosa or roti and proudly claim how you enjoy doing household work. But resist the temptation. Because like I said, that’s a very rookie move. Instead, write about how you get praised and complimented for cooking once in a while but your mother who does it day in and day out is actually taken for granted. Go the extra mile, I say.
11) When you see a woman holding a mic or talking into it, go grab the mic and immediately pass it back to her. Because a true feminist ally would always find or if necessary, even create situations where he can pass the mic.
12) Make your own morning antitoxin drink. Take 100 ml of water in a clear glass and squeeze a lemon fully into it. Add 5-6 drops of honey and dip your favourite tea bag till you feel like. Allow it to settle for 15 minutes. And throw it away. Because antitoxin drinks cannot convert your toxic-masculinity to non-toxic masculinity. Instead, watch French cinema based on lesbian relationships. Because to become a real feminist, you have to first understand women. What better way to do that than by watching these movies.
13) Share this post and add in capital letters: “THIS! ?”