filed in Monthly on Apr.04, 2012
In the article titled, “Why I’m a Black Male Feminist” Byron Hurt, filmmaker and activist, describes how he came to embrace his feminist self. Hurt describes his trajectory as involving his personal experiences with violence in the home, a recognition of how he himself was using his male privilege to assert his power over his female partners as an adult, and finally, his work with Jackson Katz through the Mentors in Violence Prevention program.
The path that Hurt and other (wo)men take as they embrace feminism is challenging. It entails taking stock of past and present behaviors and attitudes and assessing them in the context of how they perpetuate male violence, a symptom of patriarchy. That is, it requires that (wo)men consider how they have supported and perpetuated patriarchy. However, the result is liberating.
According to Hurt, “Not only does feminism give woman a voice, but it also clears the way for men to free themselves from the stranglehold of traditional masculinity. When we hurt the women in our lives, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our community, too.”
This month consider what barriers you have faced in identifying as a feminist. Who were the individuals along the way who made this self-identification difficult? What about the “f” word is so scary?