Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Whenever men describe themselves as "feminists," I feel excluded from the category. Indeed, I typically go out of my way to state, for the record, that I don't consider myself a feminist.

At the same time, though, I'm acutely aware -- even when I pretend not to be -- of the way my maleness, innate or socially constructed, impacts the women I know. I've found it almost impossible to listen to men who want to talk about their carnal exploits with the opposite sex, even when those men are friends. And I almost never talk about my own exploits, modest as they may be, with other men.

Almost all the lasting authority figures in my life have been women, from my mother through various teachers on to the women I've been intimate with, not to mention the female scholars I repeatedly reference in my work. And, as I often tell people in social settings, one of my most important experiences growing up was reading the original Our Bodies, Ourselves over and over, not only for the bits about sex, but because I was intrigued by the passages in which a women-only separatism manifested itself.

Why is it, then, that I fell compelled to distance myself from the name "feminism?" Am I merely miming the piedra of the Catholic Church, denying what I believe out of expedience and fear? Or is there another reason for my reticence?
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