I know the scenario well. You speak up and someone is always willing to be super helpful about how you could be more inclusive.....towards cis men. How do we make them feel welcome in a feminist space? How about how do they behave so that we feel safe when we invite them into a feminist space? I spend more arguments with men who are essentially just having a tantrum and throwing their stuff out of the pram because they just want to feel included. Women are rarely included in an equal measure in male dominated spaces.
Ah yes those cries of "well if you want equality you have to include men also". But the thing is, men in society always come first. Cries to WOC "if you want to be equal you must include white people". Cries to trans* people "if you want to be equal you must include cis people". Always skirting around the issue just so that those with most privilege can feel included in the discussion. Sometimes however you or I are not welcome. Because it just isn't about us.
"But if you want to be equal you must listen to men's opinions too" "We're just giving a counter argument". Never do they realise that I or you or them have heard your argument a million times over. Every time a negative is pointed out about a social group we feel the need to point out that we don't do said thing. It's not important if you don't do it although to be fair you might actually do said thing. That doesn't necessarily make you a bad person. We all do shitty things, all of us. If you want to be included or taken seriously the first thing you must do is listen. So many of us fall down in this first hurdle. Then realise that if you do certain things now would be a good time to reflect and change your behaviour. Apologising won't do much good if your actions don't reflect it. We all fuck up, it's how we deal with it and what we do after that counts. If you don't do said thing that's great but don't make a huge song and dance about how you're not a bad person.
But I'm noticing that I'm beginning to have a problem with the word equality. Every time I talk about something I am told to pander to men so as to make the conversation equal. I must listen to their opinion on things that well they just don't have much experience of. Just like there are situations that I myself have no experience of. So I get awfully tired of the word equal being thrown around as we all walk through life differently. People are not currently equal and I'm beginning to doubt we ever will be seen as such by society. At least not in my life time. It feels as if there will always be a dominant social group because there will always be those desperate to dominate. So better than equality right now, I want liberation. I want to be free to make my own decisions and open my mouth to speak without threat of abuse. I want to be given a job based only on the merit of my work and who I am. I want to be free from daily sexual harassment in the street. I don't want equality if it's constantly on men as a societal groups terms. Or on white terms or on cis terms or on able bodied terms.
That is just patriarchy under a new name.