An ex-girlfriend once told me she wasn’t sure she could be with someone who didn’t consider himself a feminist. That I subscribed to the requisite values didn’t seem to matter. She was stuck on the label. I attempted to explain that actions are more important than labels, but this had little effect. However, the recent actions of many male feminists have only reinforced how meaningless labels can be.
Lefty comedian Jamie Kilstein has joined a Black Friday-like line of abusive and predatory male feminists. Slapping a virtuous label on oneself is seemingly a shortcut to moral superiority. Repeatedly signalling one’s virtue takes the pressure off behaving like a decent human being. If you say all the right things in public, you can behave however you want in private—until the evidence against you piles up. People like Kilstein use feminism as a shield.
How can he possibly be guilty of abusing women? He seems like the perfect ally. I mean, look at his social media feeds. He sounds woke as fuck. As a straight white male, he even hates himself just the right amount. There’s no way he’s guilty of those charges.
It’s either a shield or making all the right Twitter noises is some sort of penance for their misdeeds. Of course, I don’t want to be overly general. I suspect these people are too full of self-loathing to ever start a #NotAllMaleFeminists hashtag, but there are undoubtedly male feminists who are every inch the moral black belt they portray themselves to be. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that they are the exception, though.
It’s time people stopped giving so much credence to labels. Behave like a decent human being and you’ll be recognised as such. If you want the credit, do the work. If you continually trumpet your feminist bona fides, I’m likely to view you as the dude who consumes fat burners and never leaves his couch.