For the last few years I’ve been trying an experiment. I speak at a lot of feminist events, and often these involve an all-female panel. Often, a man pops up in the Q&A, or buttonholes me afterwards to ask why feminism has to make men feel so unwelcome. Aren’t men’s contributions valuable? Absolutely, I cry with all the fake enthusiasm I can muster – and there is one, huge contribution that men can make to feminism: the washing up. Or the laundry, I’m easy. Or going part-time while the kids are small.
At this point, the light in their eyes tends to die. It turns out that when they said they wanted men to be involved in feminism, what they actually meant was “have someone listen to their ideas about what feminists are currently doing wrong”.