Matt McGorry: Becoming a Male Feminist Feels like Falling in Love

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Matt McGorry

"One of the most thrilling and deeply moving experiences in life is the pants-shitting feeling you get when you realize you've met someone who will force you to grow in ways you'd never previously imagined possible."

Actor Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder) wrote an op-ed for Cosmopolitan on Tuesday about his journey to feminism, titled "How Becoming a Feminist Felt Like Falling in Love."

“My boundaries were being pushed and my worldview was shifting” he writes. “It was terrifying.”

In the op-ed, the 29-year-old credits his parents with indirectly exposing him to feminism at an early age. He never heard the phrase “man up,” and to this day alleges he’s completely comfortable with crying. While he said they didn’t mention the movement explicitly, they encouraged him to question what would make him a “better and more evolved person.”

About seven months ago, McGorry says, his curiosity about feminism led him to watch Emma Watson’s 2014 U.N. address on behalf of the U.N. Women HeForShe campaign. The speech focused on men’s responsibility to advocate for women’s issues.

He describes this viewing as pivotal, and he “had a feeling [he’d] never be the same,” a feeling that reminded him of falling in love.

"One of the most thrilling and deeply moving experiences in life is the pants-shitting feeling you get when you realize you've met someone who will force you to grow in ways you'd never previously imagined possible," McGorry writes of Watson's speech. "You feel like your boundaries are being pushed and your worldview is shifting. It's terrifying, but it's also one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling emotional states you can know."

And like love, he said, “You can't really know what to look for in a social cause until it crosses your path. You can use all the words that you want to describe what you're looking for, but at the end of the day, when you find the right one at the right point in your life, you'll know.”

Though McGorry admits initially having misgivings about how his interest in feminism would be perceived by the public, he ultimately decided that the good things in life “require difficulty and courage. Also known as, YOLO.” Since then, he has posted frequently about women’s issues on social media.

McGorry also said he supported the Black Lives Matter movement after seeing his friend, an improv comedian named Patrick, post articles about it on Facebook. “Patrick is a white, heterosexual, cisgender male and, like me, he has spent a lifetime benefiting from that,” he said. “...His willingness to acknowledge his privilege was something that taught me about mine as well.”

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