Is a book on feminism all it takes?

The other day, as I was rushing out the door, I asked my friend, “Is this your book?”  I was referring to the Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives (2003, ed. by Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim).  It is one of favorite reads.
“No,” she replied, “I think it’s my boyfriend’s.”
“Oh, wow,” was my reaction.  “Cool.”
“Yeah…I remember I saw it on his shelf when we first got together and I was like…’WOW! YOU’RE GREAT!'”
“Yeah,” I laughed sarcastically, “all they need is one book on feminism and it’s like, ‘You’re okay!!’; we’re hooked!”
We laughed together for awhile, but I think the silence that stayed in our eyes in our eyes after the nervouse noises trailed away tells the real story.
Is a book on feminism all it takes?
Allyship is more than a title.  Justice will not happen just because we say we care.  As a white person, can I call myself an “ally” if I don’t stand up and speak out when I witness racism and/or race-blindness; can I call myself an “ally” if I am not working to interrupt this racism and race-blindness and tokenizing and white privilege constantly and consistently, acting even before a necessary reaction?  Can I call myself an “ally” if I fail to see the intricacies of how I am involved and threaded in the oppression and the privilege?  Can I call myself an “ally” if I fail to do more than “see”?
Yes, “masculinity” and the male role have been constructed by society and men, just as women, are responsible for these constructions.  Men, just as women, are hurt and affected by these constructions of violence, dominance, ignorance, privilege and assumptions.  Unfortunately these constructions involve real people, real violence, real dominance, real ignorance and real pain.  Men are going to need to re-invent themselves.  That is not my job to do for you.

One thought on “Is a book on feminism all it takes?

  1. Pingback: What Makes a Man - Rebecca Walker « Pax/Peace/Paz Studies at Naropa

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