Feminism is a movement and a body of ideas developed primarily by, for and about women. Men can never fully know what it is like to be a woman. If we call ourselves "feminists", we run the risk of colonising feminism or looking like we're saying we've got all the answers.Some feminist women argue that men CAN call themselves feminists, as long as they live up to the same standards as women who are feminists -- to support the equality of women and men. Nevertheless, most pro-feminist men use the label "pro-feminist" rather than "feminist". We believe that there is plenty men can and should do to support feminism, and we don't need to call ourselves "feminists" to do it.
That whole FAQ is pretty helpful by the way. (and check out some of the new links too!)
I am curious to hear what people think of this. I know that my intention around describing myself as feminist is not to co-opt women's experiences, but to align myself with a movement and critical way of thinking. For me, it is already inherent within the canon of feminist thought that men cannot fully know what it is like to be a woman living under patriarchy. And I am crystal clear that we men don't have all the answers. So... though I understand and respect the *intention* behind these distinctions, to me it seems a little redundant and overly semantic in a kind of tip-toe-ing liberal kind of way. I would liken it to people describing themselves as "pro-Marxist" instead of "Marxist" because the ideas of Karl Marx have not necessarily been successfully duplicated in society, so we haven't lived it. I would also be annoyed if white folks started calling themselves "pro-anti-racists". Ha! Ok, before i get too defensive, let me say that i am still open to listen and change, but at the moment, i am like... huh?
I am also not sure if this term is coined by "profeminist men" or feminist women, which i think might make a difference for me.