Media

Should all these men be celebrated as feminists?

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Not too long ago, The Huffington Post put together a piece compiling 28 men they regarded as feminists. The piece was titled “28 Famous Men Who Prove You Don’t Need To Be A Woman To Be A Feminist.”

Many of the men are on the list for legitimate reasons, championing causes we can all come together to support. For instance, six men are credited specifically for speaking up against domestic violence, abuse, or sexual assault.

Now The Huffington Post is a news outlet which doesn’t hide its support for abortion. And the first paragraph mentions, with the purpose of hailing, two feminists who also pro-abortion activists, Gloria Steinem and Lena Dunham.

Three men are specifically on the list because they are pro-choice. Mark Ruffalo and Eddie Vedder appear pretty early on the list, at numbers three and four, respectively.

Here’s what The Huffington Post had to say about Mark Ruffalo:

The 46-year-old actor penned a letter in August 2013 in support of reproductive rights. Ruffalo opened up about his own mother’s experience of having an illegal abortion and used the letter to rally supporters[.]

It is worth noting that Mark Ruffalo’s letter and statements did not escape attention from the pro-life crowd, including from Live Action News. Kristen Walker Hatten discussed the actor’s view on abortion last August.

The actor also got into a Twitter conversation with LifeNews.com in January, and later that same month it was reported by the site that Ruffalo participated in a video titled “We Won’t Go Back,” produced by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Huffington Post had this to say on Eddie Veder of Pearl Jam:

In a 1992 op-ed for Spin Magazine, the Pearl Jam frontman explained why a woman’s right to choose to have a child is much more than just a woman’s issue[.]

The Huffington Post includes an excerpt from his conclusion, which unfortunately is based on assumptions, and his limited experience with pro-lifers, many whom truly do have an interest to “rescue… a young woman in crisis…” The entire final paragraph is as follows, with emphasis added.

Operation Rescue? The point being the rescue of a nonentity, a zygote. Perhaps the rescue of a young woman in crisis would be more in order. Instead, combat lines are drawn at clinics, and women must be escorted through trenches, which only adds to their trauma. This is not a game. This is not a religious pep rally. This is a woman’s future. Roe vs. Wade was decided 19 years ago and the fact that a well-organized group has come close to overturning it is raw proof that we do live in a democracy. But also the reason that any opposition must be equally as vocal. You go to school in Normal, Illinois? Collegetown, U.S.A.? Shout it out. There are people wary of the strength that young voters possess. Prove them right. Decide on the issues and vote — male or female — for this is not just a women’s issue. It’s human rights. If it were a man’s body and it was his destiny we were deciding there would be no issue. Not in today’s male dominated society.

One of the last inclusions on the list is Blair Underwood, an actor. From The Huffington Post:

During a 1992 interview at the March for Women’s Rights in Washington D.C., Blair Underwood discussed why he is pro-choice[.]

Other men on the list included Louis C.K., a bit of an odd choice considering  the reasons why Live Action News has also written about him, Andy Samberg, who made the list in part for wearing a National Organization for Women (NOW) shirt, and Alan Alda for his involvement with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Countdown. Although the original author of the ERA, Alice Paul, was pro-life, National Right to Life urges opposition of the ERA unless it is abortion-neutral.

It’s also possible that men not specifically mentioned on the list for being pro-choice still are. A few inclusions contain vague reasons and there are no mentions of any pro-life men being on the list.

The Huffington Post is not the only media outlet to group being a feminist and being pro-choice. Jezebel, which also supports abortion, even argues in a piece from January 2013, by Tracie Egan Morrissey, that “There Is No Such Thing as a ‘Pro-Life Feminist'”

Of course the pro-life movement would disagree, as Emily Buchanan does with her piece for TIME, “Viewpoint: Pro-Life and Feminism Aren’t Mutually Exclusive.” There’s also an entire organization dedicated to viewing abortion from a feminist point of view, known as Feminists for Life. Live Action News has also just recently touched upon the issue of feminism and abortion, with Nancy Flanders’ piece, “Are pro-choice feminists really feminist at all?”

As already mentioned, many of the men on the list appear for reasons worth applauding. Those who are on the list because they are pro-choice are not necessarily bad men or bad entertainers for such views, but The Huffington Post nevertheless muddles and distorts the term of feminism.

Here’s the list of the men on the list and the reasons given:

  1. Daniel Radcliffe: Discussing as to if men and women can be friends and the “friend zone.”
  2. Patrick Stewart: Speaking out against physical abuse
  3. Mark Ruffalo: Being pro-choice
  4. Eddie Veder: Being pro-choice
  5. David Schwimmer: Sexual abuse awareness activism
  6. Ezra Miller: Spoke at New York’s One Billion Rising to Stop Violence Against Women
  7. John Legend: News music video, “You & I (Nobody In The World);” general advocating for women’s rights
  8. Jon Hamm: Spoke of breaking free from traditional gender roles
  9. Seth Meyers: Interview for ELLE Magazine in September 2012 mentioning “hard to wrap your head around” others wanting to make decisions for “the sort of really strong women I work with[.]”
  10. Louis C.K.: “[S]mart, self-reflective comedy about privilege, race and gender[,]” and “feminist comedy[.]”
  11. Prince Harry: June 2013 speech for the CHIME for Change mentioning empowerment of women
  12. Ryan Gosling: Addressed the media on NC-17 rating of his film, Blue Valentine, which depicted a female receiving oral sex
  13. Daniel Craig: Short video with Craig dressed as woman while fellow Bond star Judi Dench addresses equality of women
  14. Andy Samberg: Wears NOW shirt; sticking up for women being funny in Glamour magazine in 2013 interview.
  15. Alan Alada: Involvement on Equal Right Amendment Countdown Campaign as honorary co-chair with Betty Ford; articles for Ms. Magazine on women’s issues; named “quintessential Honorary Woman” by Boston Globe
  16. Ian Somerhalder: Involvement in issues such as domestic violence, as part of UK Women’s Aid “Real Man” campaign
  17. Ben Stiller: Speaking out against gender gap in comedy
  18. The Dalai Lama: Addressed self as feminist in September 2009 speech at National Civil Rights Museum
  19. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Mentioned perceiving women as objects or reality when discussing making film Don Jon
  20. Will Smith: Allowed daughter Willow Smith to cut off hair
  21. Richard Sherman: Response given for how he deals with “bad example” of athletes who attend strip clubs
  22. Jay Baruchel: Preference for writing female characters
  23. Ashton Kutcher: Speaking out against how most sex education programs address female sexuality
  24. President Barack Obama: Signing of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Resortation Act; support of Paycheck Fairness Act
  25. Joss Whedon: Addressing his writing of strong female characters
  26. Blair Underwood: Being pro-choice
  27. Antonio Banderas: Appearance in March 2013 PSA for UN’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
  28. Donald McPherson: Social activist committed to ending domestic violence and sexual abuse
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