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The Pedestal Effect: Problems and Potentiality for Feminist Men

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With the increasing appeal of feminism to men and the increasing numbers of men active in feminist spaces, it has become necessary for feminists of all genders to explore the experiences of men within feminism with an eye towards the troubling possibility that even within feminist spaces, men are treated preferentially. Two possibly synergistic reasons for this seemingly-contradictory occurrence are explored. The first possibility is that pervasive male-supremacy in the rest of society benefits men to such a significant degree that it carries over into feminist spaces – men don’t leave their “invisible backpack” at the door. This provokes the question of whether it would be possible to "end" the benefits of patriarchy or the effects of patriarchal thinking within the borders of feminist spaces. The second is that (some) feminists, possibly without intending to, actually show preference to men within feminism because of the rarity of a member of a superordinate group working against the interests of that group. This creates the perception that men who adopt feminist beliefs must be inherently "special." Drawing evidence from interviews, scholarly discourse, and personal experience, this "Pedestal Effect," is illustrated and dissected. The author problematizes the phenomenon, but leaves open the possibility that feminists could utilize it, albeit cautiously and in very limited and superficial ways, to further feminist movement.

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