I recently shared a WaPo article with my brother Paul on Facebook, which was entitled “Men are slow to show support for the Women’s March. Is it considered unmasculine?”
I wondered what he thought about this question. I asked him why he is supporting the Women’s March on Washington this coming Saturday, and why he felt he could or should participate in it even though it is the “Women’s” March. How would he explain his support to a man who felt that a women’s march excluded him and his concerns? I found his answer conscientious and thoughtful; and it reflected many of my own reasons for marching.
Here is his response (posted with his permission, links added by me):
To be honest I usually don’t like to talk about these things over social media. Mostly because my views are nuanced and often, perhaps, incomplete. I think I would find it difficult to do them justice if I was writing a PhD dissertation, let alone a few sentences on facebook. But I think I can say a few things I feel relatively confident about.
I’ll first say: I get it. Calling it the “Women’s March” does not necessarily communicate the welcomed inclusion of everyone. But we should remember the context. This was a grassroots demonstration that started off as a simple facebook post to mobilize women and has erupted into an event of historical size. To the credit of the organizers, they recognized the size of their demonstration and have worked hard to make it as inclusive as possible (in a short period of time without losing its original identity; not a simple task).
Importantly, I would argue that the response is not unreasonable. If we assume the voting process is a fair one, then yes, we have voted to the presidency someone who objectifies women and condones violent sexual assault (among other things*). It seems reasonable to me that some women (and dare I say, some men) want to voice their dissent. In fact, I’m surprised so many men are okay staying silent on the subject.
In a few months I will graduate from medical school and start pediatric residency. During my training I have seen the emotional and physical scars left by abuse. It is, in fact, not okay. It is, in fact, horrible. As a new physician, I take the health of my patients seriously, male and female. So yes, when I hear a politician (now in our highest office) normalize sexual assault, it gets me upset. For me this issue is not particularly “liberal” (whatever that means). I march with women to add my voice to those saying it’s not okay. It’s not okay to abuse people.
It’s an individual’s choice whether the message of the march resonates with them. If a man does not feel comfortable going to a “women’s march”, I generally have no issue with that. I do, however, reject the idea that a man going to a women’s march is somehow “un-masculine.” The challenges that face women, face us all. We as men can choose to ignore that. Or we can engage in the conversation.
Besides I heard they’ll have punch and pie.
My brother and I, at a Women’s March prep meeting in Philadelphia
* and this, and this, and this, and this, and this.