The general consensus these days seems to be that women are solely responsible for feminism. Of course, the most prominent XXth century feminists were all women, however, feminism doesn't exist on its own and it didn't appear out of vacuum. Modern feminism only became possible due to the overthrow of the traditional order in the West, starting with the French Revolution, with its slogan of fraternite, egalite, liberte. Through the whole XIXth and the beginning of the XXth centuries men were fighting other men trying to establish a new world order based on the ideas of equality and humanism.
Since I'm interested in history it appeared a good idea to me to write several posts dealing with men behind feminism movement, in the name of fairness and equality. Women were not the only ones responsible for feminism, and I'm convinced that without men, the whole feminist project would have been doomed to failure.
If we travel back in time to 1848, we'll find out that it was the year of the revolutions in practically the whole of Europe. It began in France (where else?) and spread to most of Europe and even Latin America. Some of those who participated in these events were nationalists desiring freedom from foreign oppression, while others were socialists and supporters of democracy and universal (male) suffrage. European men in Victorian times were an adventurous lot and some apparently joined the rebels simply for the thrill of it all.
I first became interested in the topic after visiting Hungary, and while perusing Wiki articles about different men who had participated in the events, I found out that some of them were feminist as well. There was, for instance, one Robert Blum, a German by birth, who among other things, supported the equality of sexes. Though a Catholic himself, he stood at the beginning of Germany's humanist movement. He was also the leader of the radical liberal (left) fraction of the parliament of Frankfurt, and not surprisingly, a member of a freemason lodge.
When the revolution started in 1848, he was already over 40 years old, and should have known better, but he still decided to travel to Vienna and join the revolutionary forces, with rather disastrous results. He was arrested and brought before a military tribunal, which promptly sentenced him to death. At this point, unfortunate Robert tried to plead his privilege as an MP which should have given him diplomatic immunity, but it didn't help and he was executed. (If you want to know more, you can read about his life and career here).
He was one of the many young and not-so-young men who gave his life for things which he believed in, and I can respect that, even though I disagree with his politics, however, I find it rather amusing that XIXth century men were ready to fight and die for such a thing as the equality of sexes.