If you aren’t already following Mike Jung on Twitter, you should. (@Mike_Jung. You’re welcome.) Author of middle-grade books like GEEKS, GIRLS, and SECRET IDENTITIES and UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT, Mike tackles complex social issues (mixed with humor and a good dose of self-reflection) and creates absolute poetry about them – using just 140 characters. His deep self-awareness, along with his insights about privilege and marginalization, made me curious as to how he would answer my question.
So I asked Mike: “What does feminism mean to you?”
Here’s how he answered:
I’ve always spent more time in the company of women than men – most of my friends and colleagues have been women, I’m married to a woman, we have a daughter who’s well on her way to becoming an amazing woman, etc. – but I still lapse into behaviors that perpetuate the destructive effects of toxic masculinity. For example, I recently made a joke on Facebook about stalking an author friend at a conference. That was inexcusable, and the fact that I’ve always spent more time with women than men didn’t absolve me for a choice that was made 100% by me. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how many conversations, friendships, and partnerships I’ve had with women, because the need to dismantle age-old systems of sexism and misogyny isn’t conditional; it’s the objectively right thing to do. Feminism shows me how effortless it’s always been for me to be part of the problem, and how essential it’ll always be to try as hard as I can to be part of the solution.
For more about privilege and toxic masculinity, check out my chapter titled “T is for TOUGH.” As a reminder, FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order, and will be released on October 23!
Thank you, Mike!
Mike Jung is the author of GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT, and the forthcoming THE BOYS IN THE BACK ROW. He’s also contributed essays to the anthologies DEAR TEEN ME, BREAK THESE RULES, 59 REASONS TO WRITE, and the forthcoming (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY. Mike is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family.