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I Was A Thirsty Male Feminist For A Day And It Was Exhausting

Let's get to the bottom of the Matt McGorry Problem™.

Posted on May 20, 2016, at 11:24 a.m. ET

So, there's a phenomenon that's been happening lately where socially conscious guys are getting a lot of praise for being feminists — which isn't necessarily a bad thing!

Matt McGorry, an actor in shows like Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder, might be the best example right now.

Do highly praised, outspoken celebrity male feminists take the spotlight away from the very people they're trying to help?

And is Matt McGorry important because he's saying feminist stuff or is it just that he's a celebrity who's taking advantage of a social movement to try to "earn a cookie"?Caring about equality = good.Being cloying about it and expecting praise for it = bad.It's a fine line! But in the last few months, something about the way McGorry has acted on social media has made some people feel like he's crossed the line from "good" to "really annoying". We wanted to figure out exactly why and how that change in public opinion happened, and what it means.
nymag.com

And is Matt McGorry important because he's saying feminist stuff or is it just that he's a celebrity who's taking advantage of a social movement to try to "earn a cookie"?

Caring about equality = good.
Being cloying about it and expecting praise for it = bad.

It's a fine line! But in the last few months, something about the way McGorry has acted on social media has made some people feel like he's crossed the line from "good" to "really annoying". We wanted to figure out exactly why and how that change in public opinion happened, and what it means.

BuzzFeed's podcast Internet Explorer decided to have our co-host Ryan Broderick, who unlike Matt McGorry is not famous or important, try acting like Matt McGorry on social media for a day.

David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed

We picked out some of McGorry's most infamous social media moments and tried to see if they looked silly when a normal, nonfamous dude (Ryan) tried to do them. Here's what happened:

1. Pose with some socially conscious literature.

Ryan: I actually tried to find some decent social justice literature at a bookstore around the corner from my office in London, but sadly, actually couldn't find anything good. So I just did what comes very naturally to men — the bare minimum!
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: I actually tried to find some decent social justice literature at a bookstore around the corner from my office in London, but sadly, actually couldn't find anything good. So I just did what comes very naturally to men — the bare minimum!

2. Share fun texts between you and women you know.

Ryan: My female friends do not find me nearly as witty as Matt McGorry's apparently do.
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: My female friends do not find me nearly as witty as Matt McGorry's apparently do.

3. Block women who disagree with you.

Ryan: One of the biggest surprises about doing research for this was finding out exactly how many women report getting blocked on Twitter by Matt McGorry for disagreeing with him.
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: One of the biggest surprises about doing research for this was finding out exactly how many women report getting blocked on Twitter by Matt McGorry for disagreeing with him.

Have you NOT opened the door for a lady today? #MaleFeminist

Ryan: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5. Do a photo shoot for gender equality.

Ryan: See, this is the type of stuff that gets me. It's like the mixing of the celeb photo-op and then using it to talk about activism. One on hand, cool, use your platform. On the other hand, it's like, isn't there a more graceful way to do this sort of stuff?
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: See, this is the type of stuff that gets me. It's like the mixing of the celeb photo-op and then using it to talk about activism. One on hand, cool, use your platform. On the other hand, it's like, isn't there a more graceful way to do this sort of stuff?

6. Block more women who disagree with you.

Ryan: Seriously, he blocks a surprising amount of women.
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: Seriously, he blocks a surprising amount of women.

7. "Free" your "nipple."

Ryan: I really didn't want to do this one because no one wants to see me shirtless.
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: I really didn't want to do this one because no one wants to see me shirtless.

8. Get in a fight with a woman and mansplain why you're right.

Ryan: I want to point out that most of these blocking screenshots are fairly recent.
Twitter: @broderick

Ryan: I want to point out that most of these blocking screenshots are fairly recent.

9. Pose shirtless with a book.

Ryan: I was actually way too embarrassed to tweet this. One, because it's just a really cringey and weird thing to do! And two, I didn't want it to seem like I was making fun of Shrill by Lindy West, which is an excellent book that everyone should read.
Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed

Ryan: I was actually way too embarrassed to tweet this. One, because it's just a really cringey and weird thing to do! And two, I didn't want it to seem like I was making fun of Shrill by Lindy West, which is an excellent book that everyone should read.

Final thoughts...

Ryan: Admittedly, this whole thing was sort of a silly way to poke some fun at a guy who takes himself maybe a little too seriously. But also it made one thing very clear to me: Matt McGorry's brand of male feminism is pointed directly at young women and I'm not totally convinced that young women need another older man telling them what to think.I included a screenshot above of an interview by actor Terry Crews. He's similarly vocal about feminism, with one key exception: He talks to other men. He works with young men on how to be better. Matt McGorry can get all the praise he wants for telling women about gender inequality and telling people of color about racism, but I think he'd probably be better off putting his shirt on and seriously and positively working with young men who actually need decent role models.
youtu.be

Ryan: Admittedly, this whole thing was sort of a silly way to poke some fun at a guy who takes himself maybe a little too seriously. But also it made one thing very clear to me: Matt McGorry's brand of male feminism is pointed directly at young women and I'm not totally convinced that young women need another older man telling them what to think.

I included a screenshot above of an interview by actor Terry Crews. He's similarly vocal about feminism, with one key exception: He talks to other men. He works with young men on how to be better.

Matt McGorry can get all the praise he wants for telling women about gender inequality and telling people of color about racism, but I think he'd probably be better off putting his shirt on and seriously and positively working with young men who actually need decent role models.

You can check out our whole discussion about male feminists below:

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