Here is a thought-provoking interview with John Stoltenberg, an American radical feminist activist, scholar, magazine editor, and author of The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience and Refusing to be a Man. He was the life partner of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin.
Q: How do you see the place of pro-feminist men in the feminist movement? A number of feminists have reservations about it because, in their view, some of these allies tend to speak in their place and pretend to decide what feminism should be about. According to these feminists, men’s contribution to feminism can be of help only if it meets certain conditions: acknowledging their privilege, never forgetting that they belong to the dominant class. And do for feminism what they can do best as men: deconstruct male supremacy from the inside. Do you agree with these views or do you think they are too limiting?
A: First of all I don’t think any man of conscience—whether self-identified as pro-feminist or not—can or should presume to speak in women’s place or “decide what feminism should be about.” That’s just a baseline principle. Many women have justifiable grievances about individual men who have disregarded it. Those “me too” men ought to know better, and they should not require scolding and hand-holding from women to figure it out, because exemplary life lessons abound: Individuals from the dominant class in other struggles have found countless meaningful ways to be of use while analogously abiding by that principle—for example, whites in the black civil-rights movement in the US, sons and daughters born to wealth in the movement for economic justice, non-Jews in the movements against antisemitism. Such sincerely committed allies always recognize and acknowledge the privilege that stems from their membership in the dominant class. And often such allies have found that their usefulness lies in deconstructing, disrupting, interrupting, exposing, protesting, and defying such systems of oppression from the inside. Same holds for any man of conscience who wishes to be of use on behalf of feminist revolution. It’s not complicated.