“Men who want to be feminists do not need to be given a space in feminism. They need to take the space they have in society & make it feminist.” — Kelley Temple
I don’t have a lot of faith in open letters.  I doubt that they get read by the people they are addressed to…at all…ever.  meh.  here goes one, anyway.

I will just throw this together like a punch list.  no sense in trying to stun anyone with my essay composition skills.

(Posted at sexgenderbody's tumblr)

- it’s a journey that you take, by yourself, without telling us about it every step of the way.

- learn to be OK with that

- you don’t get to be the center of attention on this

- you can contribute through action

- if you do only one thing, then learn to listen and then not respond

- if you want to talk about being a feminist, talk to other men.  especially men in power, like your boss or a CEO or a buddy at the local bar.  

- nobody ‘needs’ to hear what you have to say on this.  some people may ask, but your opinion is not needed.  your actions are.

- you must understand that sexism and misogyny have negative impacts on men, but those negative impacts are a result of men being sexist and misogynistic

- you also need to get that while bad things can happen to men because of sexism and misogyny, the worst things happen to women of all kinds.

- racism, sexism and class dynamics overlap and enable each other.  this means that if you want to be feminist, you will need to deal with your sexism, racism and classism.

- and you’ll have to do all of that without making everybody stop to hear how much manpain it causes you to admit that this is true.

- it never ends.  you will always be uncovering your misogyny, sexism, racism and classism.  if you expect to be done and never have to come back here to this level of self scrutiny - you’re wrong.

- the sooner you get over that bit, the better

- you’re going to get shit wrong.  with people watching.  you will have to apologize and when you do, you apologize for what you said and did and not for them taking it the wrong way because you didn’t mean for them to be offended.  

- if you can’t figure out what to say when apologizing, just say: “I apologize and I won’t say that again”

- if you can’t figure out how to apologize…learn.

- nobody owes you an explanation or even the time of day on this shit.  yeah, even if you really, really, really want to learn / know / do the right thing.  

- learn to be real OK with that.

- if you’re only listening to white feminists, you are not addressing your racism

- if you don’t include trans* persons in your feminism, you are not addressing your misogyny

- no, there is no such thing as reverse-racism.  just fucking read this: http://www.dailykos.com/...

- read this too - http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

- and this - http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/...

- and finally this - http://youtu.be/...

- remember, you learn by listening and doing…not by sharing your newfound views on feminism with the rest of us

- it’s common to start down this road when you have a daughter, so don’t expect anyone to pat you on the back for getting ahead of the curve on this one

- including your wife, who will be curious as to why her presence didn’t pop this bit of soul searching into high gear.  pro tip: remember that bit about how to responsibly apologize.

- people are going to tell you that you can’t be feminist, and to them you can’t.  you gotta be OK with that and you gotta get that they don’t need to see that you think you can.  they don’t owe you shit.

- no one does.

- if you figure this out, it’s because you keep trying.  

- you will receive no medals, cookies or commerative t-shirts for being a feminist.  nor will it get you laid.  if that’s your motivation, you won’t be very happy and nobody will believe you anyway.

- if you think this is sad because it’s so hard, try imagining how it would feel to be a woman surrounded by a planet of men too sad about how hard it is to stop treating women like shit.

Originally posted to sexgenderbody on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Sexism and Patriarchy.

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