An Attempt to Understand Mactivist Culture
Mactivist - A political activist who uses his/her reputation for activism, organization, and political ideology for the purpose of hitting on people.
I have to say, I found an image that made me stop in my tracks and reframe this entry. At first, I was going to talk about the ways that (we all know) patriarchy creeps up in the minds and hearts of activists who are men grappling with how terrible it is and trying to destroy it - making them reify it in their actions, especially in relationships women. I figured someone already did this online and found it here. I don't know if I totally endorse every word there but I think that is a worthwhile read.
So here is the image I found:
I'm essentially processing this as I write so I welcome the critique/pushback. Here are a few things that I can't help but try to figure out.
1. Are mactivists only cisgender heterosexual men?
Absolutely not - the above definition doesn't assign a gender. That said, I'm getting this one out of the way early to focus on the more important stuff because men are still men within our patriarchal system and even if I'm being hit on or whatever, it doesn't compare. The placement is strategic in an effort to not invalidate my next points.
Since becoming more and more public with my work on masculinity and changing up my hypermasculine tendencies - language, tone, cadence, posture, demeanor, etc., I have been lead on by quite a few people who I thought were interested in my work and ended up being more interested in me. Needless to say, that just doesn't work - ever.
Note: Cisgender - If a doctor announces, “It’s a girl!” in the delivery room based on the child’s body and that baby grows up to identify as a woman, that person is cisgender - with all of these privileges.
2. Are mactivist men any different than other person - attempting to hit on people for all the wrong reasons - under white supremacist capitalist patriarchy?
I'm not sure. I get the sense that mactivists are slightly more engaged in social justice theory, data, and/or philosophy, therefore they are being held at a higher standard. Should they be? Yes. Should everyone else be too though? Yes, just because you aren't on top of social justice literature (hashtags?) doesn't excuse you.
I think what may be happening though is that women are in some ways simply creating markers to survive because under white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, protection is necessary. I'm assuming that women created this term as I've only heard/seen it used by women on social media.
3. What about those who look just like mactivists but aren't? What about them?! Don't they deserve a fair chance? Isn't it unfair to group them all together?
This was my first inclination. I think this reflex is a result of the patriarchal order. It happens with any group that oppresses, we try to excuses, outliers, good examples, and all that jazz and it ends up distracting from the issue. The reality is that those people who look/sound like mactivists and aren't using their ideology as a way to get attention - aren't using their ideology to get attention anyways so it doesn't matter. Right?
Let me try to be more clear: What we are doing when we say this is we are attempting to hold off women's attempt at taking our access away from them. We are saying, "Wait! You should continue to give me access to your body because I'm a 'good' guy. Don't block me out because these guys are who they are. That isn't me."
Clearly we have some work to do and I definitely have more learning to do with regards to mactivist culture. I see this in many spheres that I am a part of: Photographers, Painters, Rappers, Poets, Musicians, Academics, Finance, etc. It seems like wherever there is fame, or the illusion of fame, there is an opportunity to court. Although courting and pursuing people - especially men pursuing women - in ways that diminishes power and reinforces these oppressive systems are completely different things, that at the end of the day help no one.
So...we have to do better.