Like many other men my age, I have always been sceptical about Feminism. A misunderstanding of what it stands for, combined with an endless flow of Lad Bible inspired videos and memes on social media, usually depicting those who belong to the extreme fringe of the ideology, combine to produce a distorted image of the movement as seemingly comprised of middle class women bearing grudges and irrational twenty somethings screaming at the smiling face of Milo Yiannopoulos.
I would never have identified myself as a feminist.
It was when Donald Trump was elected president that I began to have doubts. Like others, I assumed that a tirade of misogynistic abuse and boasts about the ability to grope women would stop millions of people from voting for Donald Trump and quietly consoled my conscience that he belonged to that small minority of men who see women as objects.
One small minority, and one raving lunatic; hardly enough, in my mind, to justify a movement I saw as being lost in time and largely irrelevant.
I woke up on Election Day. I woke up when I realised that over 61 million people had voted for a man who espoused such views, woke up when I saw that many of those voters, millions of people, clearly shared the views of their champion, or at least had no real problem with them. I woke up when I saw behind the the far right perpetrated façade of lesbian man hating, and saw that, in such conditions, there is clearly a need for feminism - and there always has been.
Google defines Feminism as 'the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes". The election of Donald Trump shows that equality simply does not exist. I'm not going to get bogged down in the mathematics of a gender pay gap, or discuss the biology of the maternal instinct. But I can be certain that the abuse directed towards women by the Trump camp was only acceptable because it was directed at women. Yes, there was public outcry in Europe, and amongst Americans, but too little, too late.
When it is clear that a significant proportion of the electorate in the 'land of the free' voted for such a man, it is also clear that the struggle for gender equality is not over, and that faced with such sexism the existence of a strong movement for female empowerment is not only welcomed but necessary.
Whilst I still believe that it is class that is the ultimate enforcer of oppression, I now see clearly that gender must be added to that analysis. And so I suppose I should end this piece with an apology. An apology to every feminist whose views I ever disregarded, to every woman whose claimed oppression I thought was mythical, and, most importantly, to all those Americans now living under a dark shadow of hate, a hate that may have been avoided if people like myself had opened their eyes and added their voices to the throng calling for action.
And that is why the Women's Marches, taking place in London and around the world are so important - people, defying their class, race and gender, marching in solidarity against discrimination and hatred in every form.Suggest a correction