Man laws for woman lovers

Male feminists on the march.

Published August 8, 2006 1:30PM (EDT)

Just when you have been soaked to the bone with man laws and manthems and manliness, suddenly there's a story about how cool it is for men to be ... feminists. Yup. According to Natalie Hanman in the Guardian, despite the old assumption that "any man who dared to get involved with the feminist movement was either intrinsically self-hating or just looking for sex," pro-feminist men have recently become more visible.

Hanman's examples include Colm Dempsey, an Irish police officer who "became so convinced of the need for men to combat the culture of male violence against women that he collected 365 anti-domestic violence posters from around the world" and is exhibiting them in Belfast. Dempsey tells the Guardian, "The best compliment I have yet received is to be referred to as a male feminist ... It's vital for women to see that there are men committed to women's rights."

Then there is the Considerate Constructor's Scheme, which is a voluntary code about not using lewd language that more than 18,000 workers on more than 3,5000 construction sites have agreed to abide by.

And on last November's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, men who wore white ribbons in solidarity included Rafael Benitez, the manager of the Liverpool Football Club, former Newcastle United football coach Graeme Souness, and a nightclub bouncer "who wanted to do something about the street harassment of women he sees each night."

It's an awfully cheerful piece. But I've never found male feminists to be such a rare commodity. They're all around, and many of them write to Broadsheet every day. But with so many stories about male and female anti-feminists, it's nice to see the good guys get their due.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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