Man, I got some nasty troll attacks last night. The weird thing is that they were mostly calling me fat. Like I don't have a mirror? At least if you say "you're fat and that's bad," it's a proper insult. This is just, like, an observation.
But it does annoy me, because I'm fairly sure they're responding to the rape/blame posts, and I wish they'd just go ahead and say that they're offended by something I said, instead of latching onto something irrelevant that they think I might be insecure about. If something I said made you mad, Trolly, say so, don't get all "and I bet your dog's ugly, too!"
Anyway. One of the things I've had difficulty communicating as I've transitioned from being a "feminism means I'm free to give blowjobs!" feminist to a "feminism means I'm free to demand social respect and campaign for equal rights and give blowjobs!" feminist is that absolutely nothing about feminism (as I practice it, etc.) is about playing Boys vs. Girls. We are not on opposite teams.
And I don't just mean that feminists don't hate men, although we don't. I mean that we actually want their lives to be better. For some it's a side effect of liberating women and for some it's a goal in itself, but feminism actually has a lot to offer men.
For starters, anywhere that women are forced into a stupid little box labeled "femininity," men are being forced into an equally stupid box labeled "masculinity." It's a slightly nicer box, to be sure; you get to be in charge of stuff, and your clothes are comfier, and you don't have to deal with baby poop. But though the restrictions are fewer, they're there, and they're absolutely brutally enforced. If femininity means being forced into weakness, masculinity means being forced to play hyper-tough and often violent. A guy who isn't at least a little cruel is a guy who's going to be accused of being a girlyman--and woe betide a guy who really is kind of girly. You'd be more popular if you ate puppies.
I feel like this is ingrained deeply enough that a lot of guys will (in loud, deep, growly voices) protest that they don't want to get in touch with their feminine side. Well, that's okay. I would never stop a guy from grunting and watching football or whatever. I would just like it to be--just like the high heels! funny how that works!--no longer compulsory.
(By the way, one of the few legitimate gripes that "men's rights advocates" have is that women tend to automatically get custody and men tend to get child support and alimony judgments in family court. They generally blame this on some evil feminist agenda [because they blame everything on that], but I'd say that they should actually be looking at sexism. Compulsory masculinity means you must be a provider but cannot be a caregiver, and so men are expected to provide money and denied the opportunity to care for children. So if you want a better deal in family court, support single dads and high-earning women.)
The other big thing men would get out of feminism is happier, freer women. Don't smirk, 'cause I'm serious. When you treat someone like a trophy, an enemy agent, a sex toy, a child, or a space alien, the response you get is going to be about as bizarre as those options suggest. When you treat them like a person, asking no more and expecting no less, they're going to respond like a person.
Powerful people don't nag--they can get things done themselves. Powerful people don't cling--they can survive on their own. Powerful people don't manipulate--they can get what they want honestly. Powerful people don't complain--they have less to complain about. Powerful people don't make guys pay for dinner--they can afford to pay their share. When women are happy with our lives, we don't subtract from the finite happiness pool held by men; we spread it around and make everyone happier.
Finally, feminism is good for men because unlocking the potential of half the human race massively increases what the human race can accomplish. Letting women contribute to the world isn't some sort of generous favor we really ought to do for women. It is--once those contributions start rolling in--a favor to the world.