Tender Feminism is for everybody. Looking back on decades of fighting, feminism has had an enormous impact on people’s lives. Not only on women’s lives, but on everybody’s. Women have gained existential rights, they are not condemned as bad wifes or extremists anymore when they expect their partners to contribute equally in reproductive labour. Men are no longer unmanly when seen alone with a baby carriage and can take time off from work to take care of their children. They can let women invite them to a restaurant and walk through a door a woman opens for them. Women are sexually more daring and willing. Feminism is a lot of fun for men.
Still, having all these possibilities, they are rarely used and it is as naïve as it is lazy to think that time alone will complete equality.
What remains carved into stone and brain is the distinction between male and female, between two poles that come with a whole set of attributes which are considered or male or female. Yes, we have Queer Studies that are already far beyond that and are fighting for acceptance all kinds of identification between male and female. We support queer activism and theory and understand Tender Feminism as a complementary strategy. Tender Feminism is not identity politics for women. It is politics against women and men being seen as one kind or even species because of biological coincidence and cultural interpretation. We want to continue the struggle of freeing women from the attributes tied to their sex. This is not a struggle against men or children or anybody else with whom women choose to live. It is in fact a struggle that will necessarily free men from the stereotypes they are encouraged to follow, too. Because every change of a woman’s situation leads to a change in her environment. Every man who cares about women – their mothers, partners, friends or daughters – should show his tenderness towards them supporting their struggle for a life free from discrimination and biological determinism.
Tender Feminism does NOT mean that we are tender towards male privilege, heteronormativism and mandatory heterosexuality. We can be very mean against these indeed. It means recognizing that a tender and liberal atmosphere is a gain for all people except very few who are prospering from exploitation of women now. It can even be a gain for the male manager who can take trips to the Caribbean for a weekend and order prostitutes for himself and his male companions: When this man is old and looks back at this kind of life without Tender Feminism, he will regret not having taken the path of Tender Feminism and not having taken more time for and care of those who are closest to him for sure.
The hippie’s try to establish a philosophy and culture of love is seen as a failure in historic retrospective. Surely the very ambition of this aim and the extremely conservative climate at that time have led to that. After the most violent fights in the 70s and 80s, it might be time now to give love and tenderness another try. Anybody who cares about a healthy society and environment is close to Tender Feminist thought. We urge everybody, especially minorities in feminist activism such as men, to join and develop the idea.


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