“I can’t help but get a little suspicious when men call themselves feminist” says student comedian Michael Odewale. Odewale is no stranger to women’s issues, with a stand-up routine of “politics to pigeons”. Having grown up in Dagenham with his sister and mother, Odewale is a recent Greenwich graduate making his mark in the British stand-up scene. In 2016 he became a finalist in BBC Radio New Comedy Award and is now performing across the UK. “I’ve done alright in comedy and I would put it down to…trusting myself and just being good at taking opportunities that have come my way”.
On the subject of feminism, Odewale is quite critical of those who use the term, stating “you can call yourself a feminist and everyone congratulates you on how progressive you are, but could still be doing sexist things”. A criticism he believes applies to men and women, continuing on to say “I think it’s one of those things where actions speak louder than words. If people see the things I do and say and think it’s feminist then ok then, but I am not going around blowing my own horn”.
Online educational platform Everyday Feminism, defines Intersectionality as the acknowledgment of “multiple aspects of identity…and experiences” in feminist discourse. Odewale believes intersectionality is important, stating “there is a well-documented race problem within the feminist movement. “It’s not as inclusive as it should be”, he said reacting to statistics on electoral support for Trump. “A lot of white women voted for Trump. I saw a tweet earlier, saying it goes to show that it was an inclination that a lot of white women are more afraid of losing their white privilege than their rights to be a woman. That’s a big generalization of course to make but I can’t lie, I felt there was some truth in there.”
Though both critical of the feminist movement, and resistant of the feminist label Odewale does not agree with the mennist movement. Mennism is about fighting for men’s rights, a label adopted by controversial figure Rosh V who wishes to legalise rape. Odewale comments, “It’s a silly name first of all. They should rebrand”. Adding to this point he said, “there are issues that affect men that are important and need to be addressed, mental health being one of them and more attention and resources should go into them”. Meninists highlight an “important conversation” which deserves its own place “and should not be at odds with feminism.” The future for male feminists to Michael Odewale, is then one where men “support and more importantly to listen to women” even if they do not identify as feminist.
(Photo reference https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/976x549_b/p044b9yq.jpg)