When I began to write this article, I Googled “fake feminist men,” and found a list of articles on how to identify fake feminist men and why women shouldn’t date them. As I scrolled to the bottom of the page, the Also Try section provided links to real-life examples of fake feminists, which is what I was looking for. To my disappointment, the links suggested popular searches like “Beyoncé fake feminist,” “Taylor Swift fake feminist,” “Linda Sarsour fake feminist,” and even “men feminist shirts,” but nothing on real-life examples of faux feminist men.
While women are often met with criticism for defying feminist values, men are rarely held accountable for upholding the system that makes our oppression real. But that’s about to change. Following are a few examples, no thanks to Google, of faux feminist men who instead of admiration deserve criticism for their so-called feminist actions.
1. Who Knew Women Played Sports?
Not long ago, Andy Murray was praised for correcting a reporter who credited Sam Querrey with being the first U.S. player to reach a major semi-final, when in fact the first American player to reach a semi-final was a woman. Murray’s very brief but significant remark reminded people of achievements reached by great, but underappreciated, women like Serena Williams. Although it was necessary for Murray to call-out the reporter on a mistake resulting from the general lack of recognition of women in sports, it’s absurd that he was celebrated for simply recognizing the existence of women sports players. People all over social media went as far as calling him a feminist! Whether or not Murray identifies as such or even engages in feminist discussions is unknown, what we know for sure is that he is not a feminist just because of the singular act of calling for the acknowledgment of the opposite gender.
2. Be a Grateful, Humble Bitch
While Kendrick Lamar’s video of the hit song, “Humble,” depicts images of a woman embracing her body and natural beauty, people are not having it. The video is a failed attempt at promoting body acceptance and despite what the video intends to portray, the lyrics are clear on the message being sold. Supposedly, Kendrick is, “so fucking sick and tired of Photoshop,” and women who depict unrealistic beauty standards that are reinforced by men, like him (imagine how we feel). He yearns for a “real” woman and says, “show me something natural,” briefly describing the kind of woman he wants while gazing at the model. He promotes faux feminism by upholding the sexualization of women’s bodies and reinforces the belief that men ultimately dictate how beauty is defined, never mind what women define for ourselves. He tells “bitches” (all women) to be humble and demands that they take the compliment because … well, he said so. The lyrics implicitly tell women that the way they view their own bodies and define their beauty is irrelevant as long as they appeal to men and reinforces their objectification. Take that for humility.
3. You’re Lucky Someone Actually Loves You for You
Although most of you probably saw the following story on your feed earlier this month, I have to talk about it because it is a perfect reminder of what a real-life-and-probably-someone-you-already-know faux feminist looks like. A few weeks ago, Robbie Tripp posted a touching photo of himself and his wife on the beach where he wrote about his love and attraction to her body. Many people on social media found it utterly romantic that he is capable of loving and accepting his wife’s body despite her being fat; however, many condemned Robbie for believing it is revolutionary to love a fat woman. His comment suggests he loves his wife as a result of his weird attraction to fat women rather than loving her because of who she is. People like Robbie are generally innocuous, but he nevertheless perpetuates the overarching attitude that it is somehow unacceptable to be attracted to a fat person, making him special. What bothers me is not Tripp’s fondness for his wife’s body, but the way he pats himself on the back in the most public possible way. Oh, but on the bright side, towards the end of his self-appraising comment, Robbie reassures other women that they have nothing to worry about because there are other amazing men like him out there who are willing to love them for who they are!
Time after time, even when men want to do it right, they do it so wrong, because they don’t care enough to try. Even when they try to empower women they fail because they are okay with living with a loose definition of feminism that suits them, not women. Society’s tendency to overvalue men’s opinions over women’s needs to stop because it gives men the power to redefine OUR movement. When men are praised for promoting faux feminism, they create a distorted way of looking at empowerment for others to follow.
It’s a relief that men are finally getting called out for expecting praise just for recognizing that women are also human beings. I say this not because I enjoy waking up to a feed of women tearing faux feminists apart, but because it’s a step towards to finally hold men accountable so that they no longer feel entitled to speak for us or tell us what we need. Holding men accountable, forces them to learn their place in a real feminist movement; a movement that empowers women to define themselves in a world that has created standards for them, standards created and reinforced by men.