Okay friendly readers, I have a debating experiment for you today:
Step 1: Witness a debate about gender and feminism.
Step 2: Witness a man jumping in with a statement like, “Look, I’m all for equality, but [insert anti-equality/anti-feminist statement]” or “I consider myself a feminist, but let me just play Devil’s Advocate here, [insert anti-equality/anti-feminist statement].”
Step 3: Respond by asking him what, specifically, tenets of feminism and equality for women he supports and what injustices primarily exist today for women. Like, ask him to actually delineate them for all to see.
Because, well, what I often find is that those men who feel compelled to both assert that they support equality/feminism while simultaneously articulating an anti-equality/anti-feminist statement often don’t actually have, when pressed, all that many pro-equality/pro-feminist opinions. They’re like the “definitely not racist or anything, but” white people who will admit that slavery and saying the n-word are wrong, but when pressed those are pretty much the only two things that count as genuinely racist by their authority.
In fact, oftentimes, the majority of Devil’s-Advocate-Male contributions to conversations about gender and feminism are against equality and feminism. The blubbering “I’m all for equality” intros are a diversion, whether intentional or not, meant to instill in feminist participants a glimmer of hope that he might, this time, be able to make reasonable contributions to the discourse that go beyond being there to “teach” and dismiss the female perspectives.
Recognize it for what it is. Put him on the spot to delineate his actual points of agreement and disagreement. From there, you can better ascertain the worth of engaging.