This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sudhamshu Mitra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How Not To Be A ‘Woke’ Feminist Ally

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There’s something called evolution of men I like to talk about these days. When I use the word ‘evolution’, I don’t mean evolve as a better human as such. I mean adapting changing behaviours based on environment and then internalising that behaviour with time. We, men, are in that adaption phase now.

These are men (and I have a tendency to display such attributes unconsciously) who know that they can’t say chauvinistic things in public because of feminism. So they learn to say right things so that they gain acceptance, though in their minds they might be objectifying and sexualizing every woman they come across.

They know that now they cannot show their true selves because of feminism all around. They cannot be overtly sexist or misogynistic. So they play the long game of waiting and grooming. They pose as caring, understanding men, listening to you all the time, asking the right questions on feminism, quoting right feminist authors and activists, making you believe that they are interested in you for the person you are. However, it’s all a game to sleep with you. Once they get to have sex with you, they either continue this facade so that they have access to your body and the emotional support, all along being emotionally unavailable for you. Also, one body doesn’t suffice them. They need more. So either they lie to you, or say they are polyamorous, or completely vanish. Or they become abusive, of course.

These are men who seek feminist women because they believe these women are liberated sexually. They also get an ego boost knowing that they are with progressive women. The society also treats these men as sacred. The society treats woke boys as infallible and idolizes them, again boosting their fragile egos. This keeps woke boys from ever wanting to truly practice feminism. But not just that, they build relationships with feminists only to consume feminist knowledge and ways of being so that they can spew it out on their other preys. They use this network of feminists under the garb of being progressive. They comment regularly on posts by feminists. They attend protests too. They use the knowledge gained to build on their image of an ally and build on their privileges by using platforms by/for feminists to voice their supposed feminist voice, without ever acknowledging where the knowledge is from.

These are men who aren’t continually doing their work of being reflective and working on their patriarchy. However, it is not that they aren’t capable since they are always reflective on how to shape their relationships to benefit their patriarchal needs and wants. These are men who will not put in the emotional physical and mental labour to overcome their everyday patriarchal practices. They will not try to understand what it truly means to be an ally. They treat feminism as an intellectual exercise because that’s what they are supposed to uphold and of course enjoy. Write poetry about love but treat women in their lives like objects. It doesn’t matter at all to them whether patriarchy is toppled or not. They are interested in using feminist language to perpetuate their ingrained and imagined patriarchal needs and wants.

They either run away or manipulate the situation when it comes to actually questioning their actions. Because it is painful. It is painful to accept you are wrong. It is painful to know that your ego is fragile. It is painful to reveal yourself and accept mistakes and put in the efforts to change. One is too afraid of their image. But that vulnerability opens you up to liberation.

Woke boys should always be treated with more suspicion and scrutiny than overtly sexist ones. Because this evolution of men is hideous. They are feminists on the streets but misogynists in their intimate lives, homes, and sheets. They know when to reveal their patriarchal self and how to reveal. They build such an image in society that it would be really hard to believe that they can be viciously patriarchal. They will objectify you and fantasise sleeping with you the same time they are talking about how masculinity is not allowing them to cry. They will text you a feminist article on messenger while looking at your pictures on facebook, objectifying you.

For these woke boys therapy by good therapists is far away because then their true self might be revealed. Beware of us woke boys who think waking is pretending. Waking is building a false image. Waking is a game. A game to find better ways of being patriarchal in a feminist world.

Beware of us woke boys, who are just boys pretending to be adults.

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  1. Rana Ashish Singh

    Hi! A very good post indeed. What is the way out? I read your twice, could not get it.
    This is an interesting point- “They will text you a feminist article on messenger while looking at your pictures on facebook, objectifying you.”


    1. Sudhamshu Mitra


      I did not write about the way out in this article. The article as titled is how not to be a woke boy and not how to be actually an ally.

      The way out for us men is to be continuously self-reflexive on our ingrained patriarchy and focus on our actions and not just live in theories. And for us to be vulnerable and honest to both to ourselves and the ones closest to us and start working on our patriarchal side which makes us do sexist misogynist things consciously and unconsciously.

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