Shirts are staying on in this calendar.
The 12 men featured range in profession from construction worker to future diplomat. Having men willing to reveal themselves as feminists is an important step toward a universal understanding that being a feminist means championing equal rights, Kocolatos said.
The campaign is raising money to pay for production, and a portion of the calendar proceeds will be donated to a reproductive rights charity.
Metro spoke with Kocolatos, 24, about the idea behind the calendar.
Metro: What’s the inspiration behind the project?
Kocolatos: I focus on women’s rights. It’s a long time passion of mine, and I was in my local cafe a month or two ago and I was eavesdropping on this conversation between two men and they were talking about feminism and I just thought ‘the world needs to know there are men like you.’ And I thought a calendar would be a good way to show that not only are there male feminists but part of being a good man is being a feminist.
Who are the men you featured?
About half of them are my classmates, and then the others are men who I’ve met or through friends who could already vouch for their feminism. Jeremy is an actor, Brian is trying to become a diplomat, Phillip studies biology, Conner is a construction worker, Chris is an actor and does a lot of creative things, he also writes feminist hip hop. The rest (David, Colinford, Joshua, Christopher, Maxwell, Noah and Thomas) are law students.
The idea is to put a face to a feminist, not a sexy calendar, right?
I’m still trying to figure out the best way to make that clear to people, because calendar has a certain connotation, I suppose. But the reason I’m doing it as a calendar is because I wanted to put it some sort of form I could sell and then give the proceeds to charity. Because if I just did a photo essay and put it online, I couldn’t really do anything with that. It’s not a pin-up, and I want to make that clear.
Is it unique for men to be outspoken about being feminists?
Yeah, I definitely think so. As far as the general population goes, most women don’t, and especially unusual for a man to be willing to call himself a feminist, largely because people don’t understand what a feminist is. It’s all about equality, and I think if more people understood that, they wouldn’t hesitate to identify as a feminist. Education is part of this project.
What kind of climate are we in right now for women’s rights?
I focus on reproductive rights. I can acknowledge that in some areas there is legislation that can do some good, I spend most of my time observing the onslaught of bills being introduced across the country to try to restrict abortion and contraception access. I guess in the world I live in, it seems it’s getting worse.
With this project, I’m borrowing some from the power of the patriarchy to get public awareness about these issues. It’s sort of like, (John Hoard Griffin’s 1961 book) “Black Like Me,” when a white person went undercover as a black person and suddenly white America was like “oh my God, racism exists.” So part of this project is having men in their position of power saying sexism is a problem. Misogyny is a problem. And hoping that perhaps women who dismiss that might be more willing to a man who says that. That’s a realistic way, it’s reality.
The Kickstarter campaign, called “Feminist Men of New York: A 2016 Calendar,” wraps up on May 20.