Danny Hainey – “You should never undermine your principles for anyone”

How do you self-define?

I consider myself a feminist.

What does feminism mean to you?

To me, feminism is a fight for equality whether that’s from a social or economic standpoint.

What do the words “woman” and “man” mean to you?

The terms “woman and “man” are subjective terms that people might identify themselves with.

When did you become aware of your gender?

I first became aware of my gender at my boarding school when I realised that people were taught different subjects depending on whether you are a girl or a guy.

Do you ever feel unsafe due to your gender?

No, I’ve never felt unsafe due to my gender.

Do you feel treated differently by men and women?

Yes, I feel treated differently by men and women, especially if they know I define myself as a feminist. Often men try to impose male stereotypes upon other males and if a guy doesn’t conform then he is treated differently.

What do you think are positive ways that the world views women?

The world is beginning to view women as individually and collectively stronger than they have done in the past, and the fact they are slowly getting more of a foothold on the political platform is very important, although it has been met with criticism by some.

Did you encounter any obstacles on your path to manhood?

Yeah, I suppose not conforming to many of the male stereotypes or surrounding myself with men made the path to manhood more difficult than it could otherwise have been.

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What do you think about casual sex?

I see no problem with casual sex as long as it is between consenting adults.

Are you pro-life or pro-choice, and why?

I am pro-choice because I believe that the woman’s right to choice is fundamental. Regardless of what choice she makes, the fact she has that choice is of the utmost importance and a basic right for any woman.

What are your feelings about contraception?

Contraception is the woman’s prerogative in terms of whether or not she wants a man to wear a condom or what contraception she decides is right for her. I think all forms of contraception should be more widely available and more importantly, free, as it is a woman’s choice as to whether or not to have a baby. Also, men’s idea of not wanting to wear a condom due to “how it feels” needs to end.

What are your thoughts on marriage and monogamy?  

I believe that anyone, regardless of sexuality or gender, should be allowed to get married if they choose to, and if a married couple wants to have their own set of rules with regards to polyamory then that should be accepted and respected. They are adults after all.

What are your thoughts on parenthood? 

I think there’s this idea that being a parent is a woman’s duty and her greatest accomplishment is to have a child. This mainly comes from older generations who believe that if a woman does not want to have a child then she is not fulfilling her role as a woman. This stereotype needs to go, as it’s a woman’s right and decision as to whether or not she wants to start a family, and if she does then she should be supported every step of the way by the government as well as family and friends and if not then that is completely okay too.

Were you always aware of what your body could do sexually and mechanically, and do you think your sex education was sufficient?

I was always aware of my own sexual mechanics, but I had no real sex education at all and I was mainly taught by older friends who were more mature than me, which is obviously bound to be a distorted and inaccurate view of sex and sexual education.

Do you feel comfortable communicating your sexual needs to a partner?

Communication is so important if you have sexual partner. Although it can be difficult and uncomfortable, in order for that type of relationship to work you do need to be clear about what you want so that you can understand each other.

Has your sexuality ever been used against you?

It has never been used against me as such, but as a straight male you are pressured and pushed to sleep around because “that’s what men do”.

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Is there anyone you would undermine your principles for? 

No, I think feminist principles are so important because feminism is an uphill struggle and is met with resistance at every step of the way. You should never undermine your principles for anyone.

In which situations do you feel safe to speak your mind or stand up for yourself?

I feel that in any situation where an opinion or belief is presented, I find is an acceptable opportunity to speak my mind, stand up for myself or indeed stand up for anyone else, especially if that person or disadvantaged group isn’t present or aren’t able to stand up for themselves.

Do you feel satisfied with how women are depicted in film, TV, advertising etc.?

The way women are treated as an audience in advertising is so negative. They imply that women cannot be satisfied by the way their bodies already are,  and that you need this razor so there is no hair on your legs or that you need this weight loss routine because being thin is the only way to be attractive. I think in films there is a slow increase of powerful female leads, like with the new Ghostbusters, old popular films are getting all new female reboots which I think is great, even though it has been met with some heavy criticism. For many years, women were just presented as damsels in distress for the brave male lead to save, or as eye candy for male audiences or a sexual means to the plot, and there was very little in terms of consent at that time. In terms of literature though, from books to graphic novels and comics, I think women have played a more important role for a longer time.

How do you feel about products marketed to women?

I feel that there aren’t as many products marketed to women themselves, as there are products marketed to women under the male gaze. Even things such as underwear adverts and commercials are advertised to women based on how sexy the product is for men rather than on things such as material and how comfy it is, which is something a women might care more about. I also think, in some cases, products marketed to women make them feel bad enough about themselves that they have to go out and buy things such as make-up because it’s a must-have and not a choice.

What image would you like to project in an ideal world, absolving social expectations?

I would like to project an image that doesn’t judge based on stereotypes, whether in terms of casual sex and how many people a woman sleeps with, or whether or not she wishes to have a child and start a family. I think in every social aspect of someone’s life there should be free choice, with no stigma or negative connotations attached.

What do you deeply love about yourself?

My converse collection, my cooking and eating abilities, my comic-book knowledge and my creative side.

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