Porn Star James Deen Reminds Us Men Should NEVER Be Called Feminists

Photo: Twitter

I'm not a feminist — and neither is he.

I'm not a feminist. By saying that, it doesn't mean that I'm any less invested in women's issues nor does it mean that I don't fully support women in a variety of causes and situations. 

In light of the accusations by former adult actress Stoya leveled against ex-boyfriend and fellow adult entertainer James Deen, where in two simple tweets she accuses the neo-feminist icon of rape, I found myself thinking something that I've felt for awhile:

Men aren't inherently feminists, even if you want them to be  and I'm not entirely sure that we should be. My issue isn't with the implication of being feminist or aligning with feminist thought; rather, with the title. The problem with titles is the tendency to fail to live up to them.

By calling Deen a feminist, it held him to a standard that's relatively easy to fall from, and if anything, it exposes the growing number of men who self-apply that label, whether to ingratiate themselves with women who would appreciate such a thing or to differentiate themselves from other men, as if to make them seem above the morass of the average horny male.

Personally, I was always uncomfortable with men being called or calling themselves feminist and that discomfort played itself out as soon as the reactions from Stoya's tweets started trickling out.

In addition to being called a rapist (more stories have come forward in support of that) he was also subsequently labeled a traitor due to his perceived feminist status. And from there, more and more of the reactions on social media grew past Deen's alleged behavior and onto the notion that basically men can't be trusted — especially men who call themselves feminist.

And there it is.

Every day and in every way, women suffer the sort of indignities that men will never, ever endure. Whether it's sexual assault, harassment, denial of agency or anything in-between, women go through hell.

And as men, it behooves us to be more mindful of that reality and make every effort to be mindful of that in our treatment of women. But that that doesn't make me a feminist.

We already have enough trust issues between the sexes to have to reconcile for the "fallen angels"  in other words, when men who are called or call themselves feminist do something chauvinistic or misogynistic, all men suffer even further.

Boo-hoo, right?

So what if a man catches some extra flack because James Deen allegedly raped his girlfriend? How does that measure up against the history of violence and repression men visit on women?

Well, for starters, it's an issue of trust, or more specifically, repairing trust. No matter how many labels we carry or how many flowery speeches we make about a woman's plight and how equality matters, chances are when a woman shows off cleavage, we're going to steal a glance. If a woman wears a tight skirt or pair of jeans, we look.

That doesn't mean we hate women if we do it, and it doesn't make us feminist saints if we don't. We need to trust the opposite sex on a fundamental label if women are ever going get the true equality they deserve.

If it's true that James Deen raped his ex-girlfriend, it's an ultimate violation of trust. But if viewing him as a feminist before these allegations saw light of day makes women reconsider all men who they call feminists, then that injures trust across the board. 

Women are falling over themselves pulling James Deen down from the feminist pedestal they hoisted him up on because he was attractive, well hung and said nurturing sex-positive things supporting women before he shoved his penis inside them, and well ... this is your doing, ladies, and you'll have to own it.

In the end, I'll be busy not being a feminist but being a friend to women, knowing all the while that I'm every bit as susceptible to male chauvinism as the next guy who has no desire to rape or otherwise assault women.

I'd rather be called a decent human being than a feminist because it means that when I inevitably screw up, I won't be setting gender relations back a decade. And that's good enough for me.