Beware “Fem-Baiting” Chameleons

By Trixie Apr7,2024
Fem baiters
Fem baiters

As a young woman navigating the complexities of modern feminism, I’ve come across a troubling trend that’s been gaining traction – Fem-Baiting. It’s a term that’s as deceptive as the behavior it describes: men who masquerade as feminists only when it benefits them.

HJF, writing in First Ones On Me, wrote “Fem-bait-ingnoun – The act of a man creating content that is disguised as understanding and empathizing with feminine issues in order to earn women’s approval for personal gain.

Whether it’s for social media clout or a misguided attempt to impress, this act is disingenuous at best and damaging at worst.

Let me paint you a picture: Imagine a guy who’s never faced the pressure to conform to beauty standards suddenly proclaiming himself a champion of body positivity. He praises stretch marks and cellulite in public, yet privately, he’s double-tapping airbrushed models on Instagram. Or consider the man who, after watching a single TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, appoints himself a feminist spokesperson1. He’ll quote Bell Hooks and retweet Gloria Steinem with fervor, but ask him about policies to support maternal healthcare, and he’s lost for words2.

These instances aren’t just hypotheticals; they’re realities I’ve witnessed. A friend once dated a guy who claimed to be a feminist, yet he couldn’t discuss basic women’s health issues. It’s like expecting someone who’s never worn heels to understand the agony of a full day in stilettos. It’s performative and superficial.

Authentic allyship is about sincerity and action, not just words. As a young woman, I yearn for genuine support, not the commodification of my struggles. When men co-opt feminist rhetoric without understanding or commitment, it erodes trust and undermines the movement.

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So, to all the would-be allies, here’s my plea: Be authentic. Learn, listen, and lift the voices of those you wish to support. Feminism isn’t a costume to be worn for attention; it’s a collective effort to achieve equality.

And to the men who are tempted by fem-baiting, remember Maya Angelou’s words: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” Let’s strive for a world where empathy and understanding aren’t just tools for personal gain but the foundation of true solidarity.

By Trixie

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