While we call out the hateful, misogynist and aggressive men on social media, for openly issuing rape threats and endorsing toxic male behaviour, it is just as important to acknowledge that women on social media are surrounded by generous and progressive men, who not only stand by them but also do not shy away from wearing their feminism on their (digital) sleeves. Had it not been for men who tweet their support to women and the agenda of equal rights for all, who stand up to bullying and call out sexism and gender-bias, a lot of us wouldn’t have found the intent and will to continue battling misguided troll armies who see themselves as men’s rights activists. But then not all men flaunt their feminism on social media. That doesn’t mean we should not applaud their valiant effort.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking away anything from male feminist voices in the digital space, as they are crucial to drive the movement for women empowerment and equal rights. But here’s the deal, our digital lives have overpowered almost all the aspects of our lives, including activism or dissent. Most of the conversations that we are part of happens in the digital space. We are always looking at the internet, whether we are looking for news or opinions, or inspirations and even idols. If it is not on social media, it didn’t happen. We end up applying the same logic to feminism and feminist individuals.
If you do not endorse feminism in the virtual space, clearly you are not a feminist. Such an approach often renders women oblivious to feminist men and their actions in real life. Feminist men in the digital space are right there in front of us, on our screens, their views are simply worded in 240 characters for us to consume, like and discuss. But then what about men around us? How many of us do take note of kind feminist men or even men who are trying to evolve into progressive individuals and give them a hat tip?
Now would be the perfect moment to slip in the fact that I am married to a feminist man with zero social media presence. He believes in equal rights, pushes me to be financially savvy, helps out with household chores and points out any stereotyping that our daughter ends up consuming in the form of entertainment. Girls can play with toy trucks too, boys can be a cook too, girls can be scientists too. Nobody should hit anybody and ‘bad touch’ is bad for both girls and boys. These are some views that he has been passing on to her. And yet the man is a ghost on social media, not having updated his profiles or posted anything on his timelines in years.
Then there’s my father-in-law who has always been supportive of my career choices. I remember when earlier this year my mother-in-law had to be away for a month or so, he would play with my daughter once she was back from school, so that I could work uninterrupted. He eats only one meal a day, in the evening, as he follows a special diet. But every night he would tell me to not hurry and take my time, after I would proceed to cook dinner, once done with my office work. Previously, I have written about my feminist father, who raised two independent and outspoken daughters in a small conservative town, and how the agency that he gave since the early years, to speak our mind always shaped our lives. You can read more about it here.
These are just the men in my life. I am sure, you have such men in your lives too, as lovers, friends, guardians, bosses or colleagues and it is possible that their feminism exists beyond the digital space. These are the men who play a key role in ushering in a change on the ground level. While they may not be taking a stand against sexism and harassment that women face in certain spaces, they truly empower their partners, subordinates, women relatives, and help in shaping the thoughts of the future generations.
Hold on to such men, cherish them, celebrate them, not on social media but in reality. Because at the end of the day it is these men who have got your back.
The views expressed are the author’s own, and not that of SheThePeople.TV.