January 3, 2012 1:30 PM Subscribe
What books, articles or online resources would you suggest to introduce a well-intentioned guy to feminism?
I've been trying to think about the best ways to introduce my boyfriend to feminism. He's expressed an interest in learning more about it from me, but frankly I don't know where to start. Feminism is something I almost organically imbibed from the atmosphere in my home growing up and I can't remember a time before which I didn't call myself a feminist.
Where he's coming from: In actions, he's pretty feminist. He seems supportive of feminism and equal rights in general and is basically a very nice guy, in the true sense of the word. He listens patiently when I talk about my feminist beliefs and asks good questions. He was raised by very strong and independent women -- his mother and grandmother, so he respects women and treats them as people beyond whether he finds them attractive or not. He believes in sharing chores equally and, since he values neatness more than I do, probably does more cleaning than I do (actually we live apart for the moment, but he does the dishes, reorganizes my room for me etc. whenever he comes over). He's committed to sharing parenting duties equally, and moreover, seems to look forward to becoming a father. He's supportive of my career aspirations. When we talked about me not changing my name if we get married, his response was: do people still do that? He then said that he really likes my last name and would never expect me to change it. He never jokes about rape or mine or other women's appearance.
At the same time he reacts with more dismay than warranted if I jokingly place a pair of pink bunny ears on his head and pulls them off immediately. He played with toy soldiers and tanks and legos as a boy and considers them the right playthings for boys. I don't suppose he would mind if a daughter of his played with them too, but he might be a bit dismayed if a son was given a doll, for example. Occasionally he'll scoff at female sports, for example dismissing the women's soccer world cup as not "real soccer." At the same time though, he's not dismissive of the real life women players on his coed soccer league team.
Little things crop up from time to time, and I don't really want to sit down and give him a lecture. I feel that, while his heart is in the right place, there are a lot of things he just doesn't get, because he hasn't been exposed to them. What can I give him or show him that is a good explanation of the basic tenets of feminism, perhaps directed at men (though that's not necessary)?
I read many feminist blogs, including Feministe, Feministing and Pandagon, but I feel that their focus on current issues, somewhat fractious politics and sometimes intimidating jargon might put him off. He eagerly picked up Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex at a used book sale but never quite managed to get through it -- which I can sympathize with. I've been recommending Backlash to him, which I just picked up myself, but it does seem aimed at someone who already knows the basics of feminism, being a commentary on society's reaction to the feminist movement. It seems that most materials are either directed at the completely clueless, or are a bit too advanced.
He reads a lot, especially non-fiction and can probably take a fair bit of theory, though I don't want to make this too dense. Thank you for your recommendations!