On being the only male at a feminism conference

Last month, I attended A Revolutionary Moment: Women’s Liberation in the late 1960s and early 1970s at Boston University. At night, after a few of the films were played, my girlfriend mentioned I was the only male in the audience. Frankly, I didn’t think about it much until afterwards. The films ended, the people got up to get out, and most of the audience made a point to look at me as we all shuffled out of the auditorium. A few women smiled at me, but that was it. However, it got me thinking about lots of topics. One is the dynamics of the event. If one woman showed up to an otherwise all male event, would she be treated as I was? Another topic is the growth of the women’s liberation movement, and how it kept splitting off into various groups with various missions. It was very organic and very impassioned. And of course, I’m watching through the lens of documentary film makers, but the stories relay the support other women provided each other in the various
groups.

The most obvious topic was the demographics of the women in the audience. Mostly white and mostly older. There were a few young women in the audience, and invariably they seemed to be couples. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered where are the young women? What are we teaching them?

I don’t have an answer, but in watching my own daughter’s behavior and reactions to the media, boys, relationship, and modern American life it becomes eye opening. I’m not sure many fathers are thinking about the world in which their daughters are raised. I’m not sure many parents are preparing their kids to understand the patriarchy. It can’t be all preparing the girls to fight the patriarchy. It has to be all sexes are brought up as equal and raised as such. I thought about this in the past, too. Here’s just a sample of recent topics highlighting the issues:

How Young Girls Internalize Rape Culture as “Normal”
India’s Pro-Male Activists Feel the Law Is Against Them
Egyptian Girls Need to Stop Slut Shaming One Another
17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex
Normalizing Sexual Violence: Young Women Account for Harassment and Abuse

Originally posted at [wiki.lewman.is](https://wiki.lewman.is/blog/2014-04-28-only-male-at-a-feminism-conference

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