LREI High School Students Prove Men CAN Be Feminists (Are You Listening, Pharrell?)

Between Pharrell’s (erroneous) claim that he can’t be a feminist because he’s a man and the negative reactions a lot of 10-year-old boys had to the term, this video is a breath of fresh air. It features a group of boys from LREI High School in New York, and they all have one thing in common: They’re proud feminists. See, Pharrell? Men can be feminists! We’ve got proof right here!

The seven boys all took Ileana Jiménez’s feminism course at the school over the past two years; in response to the current climate surrounding feminism, they gathered together to make a video talking about how feminism has made an impact on them. A number of them weren’t totally clear on what feminism is before the course; they took it because they wanted to know. That? Is enormous. Instead of condemning something they didn’t understand, they went to learn about it. What’s more, once they started learning, it opened their eyes in a big, big way, not only to all the hot button issues feminism in the news covers, but also to concepts like intersectionality—that is, the fact that feminism isn’t just limited to women. It transcends class, gender, race, sexual orientation, the works.

Now, they say, every time they listen songs, read magazines, or consume any kind of pop culture, they can identify underlying misogyny if it’s there (“Blurred Lines,” I’m looking at you) — and most importantly, as one boy put it, it’s turned his silence into action. He’s actively discouraging sexism when he sees it. They call the course life changing, and, as Jimenez notes in her blog post about the video, “This week they are graduating from high school and will be continuing their work on women’s and gender studies and feminist activism as they move on to their college years.” They know there’s still work to be done — and they’re definitely going to be contributing to accomplishing it.

Here, watch the whole thing for yourselves — it’s pretty much guaranteed to boost your mood as much as it did mine (especially after that George Will thing). And boys? Hats off to you. You guys are awesome. Keep fighting the good fight with us!

Ileana Jiménez on YouTube

Image: Ileana Jimenez/YouTube