Why I’m Reading

We don’t get to pick our privilege, or our marginalization. The institutions that oppress people were in place long before any of us were born. But that doesn’t excuse us from being aware of the world we live in, and how different people are affected by it. – Augusta Christensen

Who am I to write about feminism?

My name is Evan and I’m a 24 year-old, hetero, cis-gendered white male who grew up in a stable middle-class home with good health. And I’m trying to understand my privilege.

Over the past 5 years, I have slowly learned more and more about feminism. But only ever peripherally, through friends, or through the occasional reading of a feminist critique of this or that.

One thing that I have learned is that I am privileged in almost every way I can imagine. And that I don’t like patriarchy. That doesn’t mean, however, that I am all that well informed on the subjects of either privilege or patriarchy. Over the past year my learning on these subjects has accelerated dramatically, and feminism has become a bigger and bigger part of what I care about. And through an incredible community of friends I’ve been able to discuss and understand more than I had thought possible. And I want to start thinking of myself as a feminist. I want to start being a real ally. I want to add my voice to the chorus.

But I don’t want to be another asshole man who steps in with a loud voice telling everyone to listen to him. I don’t want to be a fauxminist. And I’m aware of the uncertain space I’m wading into. As these articles point out, we don’t really want to hear from men on the subject of sex or sexuality. Aren’t we already being bombarded by their views on the issue through media and porn? Well I can say that media and porn don’t speak for me, and that I have come to believe that having more voices supporting the feminist worldview (if I’m careful) must be better than me holding my tongue for fear of being seen as a fauxminist. But that isn’t enough to avoid being harmful rather than helpful. What I absolutely want to avoid is any silencing of women or other marginalized voices. I don’t want to play a part in sidelining anyone.

I believe there is a lot more for me to learn before I wade into the conversation. So instead of this being a blog where I spew out my oh so mighty opinions. I, instead, want to share with you my journey to learn more about feminism.

Time to get a library card

Time to get a library card (Source: Magic Madzik)

I will read major feminist works and blog about my reactions as I work my way through them. I’m hoping that by doing so I can provide a bit of an entry way for others into the subject. And it will invite your input, you can explain to me what I’m missing, you can ask me to look at the topic from another angle, and you can suggest what I should look at next.

I will start with “Feminism If For Everybody” by Bell Hooks. It has been recommended by many friends, and the title is certainly inviting. My first post will be Monday morning [update: here], and I will post every day every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with my reactions to a new chapter.

I’m going into this as honestly, as earnestly, and as humbly as I can. I’m not owed a place in the feminist movement simply for caring, but I want to do everything I can to be the best ally I can be.

This approach was, strangely enough, inspired when a friend told me about this blog.

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11 responses to “Why I’m Reading

  1. Hi there! This post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. hey evan,
    cool idea. i really recommend going through some of Judith Butler’s stuff at one point. some pretty far out ideas, albeit some pretty abstract ones. really good interaction with queer theory and it’s critique of the male/female dichotomy may be something your whole project can engage with…

    • Hey,

      Thanks Aaron. Judith Butler is definitely on the list of authors to check out! If you have any other recommendations let me know.

  3. Evan, you’re someone I’d be glad to have on the side of feminism. Thanks for your openness and thirst for learning. It’s truly inspiring.

    • Thanks Lia, I’ve only been able to even consider this project because of the encouragement and of awesome women and feminists like yourself!

  4. Hey Evan,
    I’m excited to hear that you’ll be taking this journey. I will also be starting to look more into feminism myself in the next year, taking my first womens’ studies course in the fall. I look forward to reading your perspective, as I am trying to understand my bias towards or against my own gender. Glad I’ll be having this blog in my life!

  5. I’m glad you are undertaking this project! I am looking forward to reading your posts 🙂

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