Wise Guys: What Do Most Men Think About Feminism?

Gloria Steinem, a prominent feminist of the 20th century
Advice from three of Em & Lo's guy friends. This week they answer the following: "What do most guys think of feminism: a successful movement that's not needed any more, an eternal campaign of whiney man-haters, or a philosophy that makes the world a better place for both men and women?" To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Single Bisexual Guy (Jack
): I grew up in a very matriarchal family, and I have always had female teachers, supervisors, even mentors. I directly credit one woman, in particular, for helping me to advance dramatically in my career. It's always been a non-issue for me - women are just as intelligent, talented and productive as men, and can be as successful if given the same opportunities. I can't speak for all guys, but I know for many guys my age and younger, it's a non-issue. We believe in equality and we get the whole feminist viewpoint, and we even get that we're going to continue to be blamed for being male just because men have been such morons for so many generations before us. I think it is a philosophy that is still needed because there are still a fair number of cavemen out there in government and business that we all have to contend with, and we still want the women in our lives to be able to be all they aspire to be.

Married Bisexual Guy (
Bryan Sebeck): Whiney man-haters, for sure. Though, not really. The problem with feminism is that, much like religion, it's an umbrella term that refers to many different beliefs. It does no justice to feminists or anybody else to try and lump them all into the same category. Of course, there are some violent, man-hating feminists out there, but they're few and far between. The problem is that they give all other feminists a bad name. At its heart, feminism is about gender equality, which goes both ways. It's about men being able to cook, clean, sew, spin yarn, knit, and the like just as much as it's about women being able to turn wrenches, chop down trees, go off to war, and all of those other stereotypical guy things. Most men understand this and can get behind it. On their surface, however, many men will completely deny this. Why? Because they have to maintain status in front of their "bros". We can't be seen as supporting women's rights for fear of ((shudder)) being seen as gay. Seriously, there are a lot of guys who legitimately feel this way. Any man who's worth keeping around for more than a night, however, will be completely honest and forward about it.

Single Straight Guy (Saad):
Well, feminism has evolved. Roughly 100 years ago the focus was securing women's right to vote; 40 or 50 years ago it was striving for equal footing in society, entering the workplace, being more than obedient housewives. We had to wait until 2009 for passage of the Lily Ledbetter Act helping ensure equal pay for equal work, and if feminism is around 50 years from now, chances are, some different set of issues will drive the movement. Even today we see ongoing discussions about household roles, birth control, and whether there could be a woman president. As far as what this guy thinks of feminism: it's a good thing if my female friends, my past and future girlfriends, or my sister can decide for themselves what to study, where to work, whom to date, and how and when they decide to start a family -- and have the men and wider society around them respect these decisions.