• Kristin Perissinotto

We don't want allyship in exchange for praise

Reactions to the overturning of Roe v Wade has come in waves. Anger, devastation, action, reaction, and there have been a few themes being communicated by activists to allies of the cause. It's not quite right to use the word allies when reproductive rights do genuinely affect everyone. But for most cis men speaking up, they are doing so from the perspective of an ally. And while that fact alone causes need for questions, it's not the one we're asking today.

A strong theme coming from these cis male allies is not focussed solely on the injustice of the ruling. It often comes with another thread. "I'm speaking out, but I'm still being treated as the enemy." Translation: women and people with uteruses are not amply thanking me for my advocacy.

Any advocacy carried out for the purpose of praise is not advocacy. Men can become so attached to the idea of being an ally to women that they end up being the opposite. Yes, women and other genders want to see cis men as allies, but not leading the cause, not in spaces where our voices should be, and not at the cost of our place in the movement.

We are not here to validate your activism and praise your advocacy. If you want to be an ally, you must understand where your place is. If you truly aim to understand this fight, you will understand why we are angry. You will understand why we don't want to take time out of our days to thank you. We want you behind us on this issue. We want your voices joining ours. But we do not want you at the front, and we do not want you drowning us out.

The same example can be made of men who, when asked about one of the biggest feminist issues, will quickly say 'men's mental health.' Men's mental health is of course a significant issues caused by the patriarchy. But why does it always come down to women having to address it? Why is it expected to be at the top of the feminist agenda? Why is it a task for women to tackle?

We are tired of fighting our own fight and being expected to also fight yours. We are tired of tiptoeing around allies, afraid they may pull their support if they feel underappreciated. We are tired of feeling like we need to earn your support for a worthy cause. We are tired.