06/06/2014 09:49 am ET

Can Men Really Be Feminists?

Barbara Freeman via Getty Images

Why do I call myself a feminist? As a guy who writes about feminist issues, I get asked this with some frequency—by men, women, feminists, and non-feminists alike. Feminism is about women, they say; why are you trying to make it about you?

These questions make some sense—and they have been discussed a lot. But they seem to come from a particular world of feminism. I think of it broadly as empowerment feminism—a feminism focused on women gaining power and equality. Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In movement is one high-profile version of this. She is focused on getting women into boardrooms and into high-level jobs, doing away with the idea that there's something wrong with women being bosses or "bossy." Beyoncé's "Independent Women"-style, girl-power anthems are also based on this idea, which is probably why the singer collaborated with Sandberg on the “ban bossy" campaign.

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