While some Bernie Sanders supporters at the Democratic National Convention are still calling for Hillary Clinton for be jailed, at NARAL Pro-Choice America’s event on Wednesday afternoon, attendees sipped drinks covered in coozies with the official hashtag, #menforchoice, while an all-male country band played next to them. At the door of the World Cafe Live, pins were distributed to men who wanted to advertise their feminism in several languages.
“I was raised by a single mother who had to deal with so much extraneous things that I never had to, being born a male,” explained Max Wolfson, who works for a nonprofit that focuses on women’s issues. “I consider myself a feminist, but saying that I’m a feminist is not the most important part of being one. I hope people would know it from who I am.”
Does he consider himself “woke” (an enlightened person in Twitter parlance, usually associated with awareness of both the inherent racism and sexism of white supremacy)? “If you say you’re woke, you can’t be.”
Ben Fuller, 35, a data analytics consultant from Chicago, said it was important to set a feminist example for his two young sons. “What you instill in your children is how they interact with the world. It’s important to raise your kids as advocates for social causes you believe in, so they could live in a better world,” Fuller told the Voice.
Is Ben woke? “I don’t think I can answer that.” His friend Elyse Ross, a data scientist, jumped in and answered on his behalf. “I wouldn’t say Ben is not woke, but he’s definitely somewhere on the spectrum. I am not really the arbiter of wokeness, though.”
Frederick Doss, a legislative aide from Missouri and an alternate delegate for Hillary Clinton, says he became a feminist himself when he came to terms with male entitlement. “Men, specifically white men, think they can make decisions for other people all the time,” Doss said. “Men are so empowered by the patriarchy, that we need to remove ourselves from the decisions that women make entirely. If that makes me a feminist, then I’m a feminist. Women need to be making their own decisions as well as running for office.”
Is Doss woke? “Absolutely. I don’t understand why men believe we have the right to control the universe.”
Middle-aged heartthrob Tony Goldwyn, who plays womanizing president Fitzgerald Grant on ABC’s Scandal, spoke to the crowd about how he raised his daughters to be independent women. Ashley Judd also briefly took the mic to discuss the importance of keeping sexual violence and abortion access at the forefront of the national conversation.
As the event wound down, Drew Courtney, a communications director for a progressive nonprofit, and Arun Chaudhari, the former videographer for the Obama White House, reflected on how they were both raised surrounded by strong women.
“Men are put in a position of immense privilege from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, and certainly every medical decision made in between,” Chaudhari said. “If men are not willing to stand up for women, and not willing to let women become whole in their own body, then we are failing a major test in who we are as human beings.”
Courtney added, “Just because women are forced to bear the burden of the attacks against their bodies in this country, that doesn’t mean they have to be the only ones standing against those attacks.”
Drew and Arun? “Woke!”