What does Feminism have to with men? A lot. That’s exactly what male advocates for gender equality, Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel think, which is why they decided to write the book “The Guy’s Guide to Feminism”. It came out 2011 and had an immediate success. So successful that, according to rumors, Steven Spielberg might make a movie of it.
The book, written in proper A-Z guide-style, talks about everything from chivalry to porn, and much more. It’s written in an easy-to-read, fun language and breathes fresh air in the discourse of feminism.
Male readers can take fun quizzes about the term “feminazi” and discover if they have caught “feminism”, with symptoms like “one empirical observation (about the state of things), quickly followed by a moral position (about how things should be, based on that empirical observation).”
A Guy’s Guide to Feminism manages to write about a serious issue in a very light tone; teaching instead of preaching. So order this fantastic book and realize that feminism doesn’t exclude men (I’m a feminist and I love men!).
I had the pleasure of asking Michael Kaufman a couple of questions about the book and equality between men and women.
1. Communication is a key factor in every relationship. As a woman, you often get to hear that men are simple and that instead of nagging or being silent, you should simply communicate what you feel, since men are “that simple”. That sounds good in theory, but in practice, men are often still stuck in the old-fashioned, stereotyping thinking-pattern that women are “overreacting” or being “ridiculous”. Can we hope for equality in respecting opinion only in the next generation or how can this generation deal with this, to make women feel like their feelings are not emotional, but just as rational as men?
Michael: “We tend to exaggerate the differences between the sexes in relationships. Ideas (held by some people) that men are not sensitive are really quite demeaning (just as are ideas that women are not rational.) That much said, to some extent, most men have been raised to distrust our feelings: we’ve been humiliated by adults or peers for showing fear, pain, or even too much joy. So, no wonder many men have an underdeveloped language of emotions. . . Help, though, is on the way! We can create safe circumstances where boys and men are encouraged to explore our feelings and experiences. We can encourage couples to simply listen to what each other is feeling, even if they don’t agree. When I’m speaking to groups of young men, I say that listening is the number one communications skill.”
2. If you would have to summarize the tips you give men in your book to one or two sentences, what would it be? (In other words: what is the main thing you are hoping men, and women, will learn from your book?)
Michael: “Feminism and gender equality are not only good for women, they promise to transform the lives of men for the better. Good men can embrace equality not out of guilt but out of love for the women and girls in our lives and out of a desire for a better life for ourselves and our sons as well.”
3. What have the reactions been so far, by men who have read it? Any eye-opening experiences?Michael: “The reactions to the book are way beyond what I hoped for. I thought we’d done a good job at making it both engaging and informative, but I didn’t know what a chord it would strike for so many people. That is very gratifying.”
You can follow Michael Kaufman on Twitter via @GenderEQ and check out the official webpage here.
For all the men out there: Show that you care, read this book and start embracing feminism rather than seeing it as a threat to your manhood!