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Pro-feminism refers to support of the cause of feminism without implying that the supporter is a member of the feminist movement. The term is most often used in reference to men ("male feminists") who actively support feminism and its efforts to bring about the political, economic, cultural, personal, and social equality of women with men. A number of pro-feminist men are involved in political activism, most often in the areas of gender equality, women's rights, and ending violence against women.
As feminist theory found support among a number of men who formed consciousness-raising groups in the 1960s, these groups were differentiated by preferences for particular feminisms and political approaches. However, the inclusion of men's voices as "feminist" presented issues for some. For a number of women and men, the word "feminism" was reserved for women, whom they viewed as the subjects who experienced the inequality and oppression that feminism sought to address. In response to this objection, various groups coined and defended other terms like antisexism and pro-feminism.
The activities of pro-feminist men's groups include anti-violence work with boys and with young men in schools, offering sexual-harassment workshops in workplaces, running community-education campaigns, and counseling male perpetrators of violence.
Pro-feminist men also are involved in men's health, men's studies, the development of gender-equity curricula in schools, and many other areas. Pro-feminist men who support anti-pornography feminists participate in activism against pornography including anti-pornography legislation. This work is sometimes in collaboration with feminists and women's services, such as domestic violence and rape crisis centers.
The term "pro-feminist" is also sometimes used by people who hold feminist beliefs or who advocate on behalf of feminist causes, but who do not consider themselves to be feminists per se. It is also used by those who do not identify with, or wish for others to identify them with, the feminist movement. Some activists[who?] do not refer to men as "feminists" at all, and will refer to all pro-feminist men as "pro-feminists", even if the men in question refer to themselves as "feminists". Others criticise "pro-feminist" men who refuse to identify as feminist. Most major feminist groups, most notably the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation, refer to male activists as "feminists" rather than as "pro-feminists".
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