Feminism expects a man to be ethical, emotionally present, and accountable to his values in his actions with women — as well as with other men. Feminism loves men enough to expect them to act more honorably and actually believes them capable of doing so.
-Michael S. Kimmel
Men generally don’t identify as feminists. It isn’t cool to think about the patriarchy, to realise our male privilege, or to admit that women are nowhere near the liberation they set out to attain. Lads’ holidays are not the place to talk about the empowerment of women, the cruelty they suffer as the result of sexual harassment, or the stereotypes that holds them back in politics, the workplace and the home.
There is no feminist news update on Page 3 of The Sun. In fact, Page 3 makes a joke of women’s intelligence. There is no defence of women’s issues by men in the media. In fact, journalists like Michael Buerk argue that feminism has gone to the point of oppressing men. Women’s rights are suspiciously absent from lad’s mags FHM, Nuts and Zoo. In fact, these magazines are often openly misogynistic.
It isn’t a surprise, then, that men generally don’t identify as feminists.
Despite apathy to the concept of feminism, many men believe in equality. They believe that women deserve equal rights to men, even when they’re unaware how much has been achieved so far. In our ignorance however, it is easy for us to speak without thinking, to think without listening, to listen without hearing. It is our habit to assume equality has been reached because we have not looked analytically at our society, considered the statistics that confirm feminist theory, or heard the experiences and injustices faced by women.
And analysis is exactly what we should do.
The feminist Andrea Dworkin once said “feminism is hated because women are hated.” Think about this for a moment. If inequality exists, but benefits the privileged party, would it not be said party’s ultimate corruption to cover up the inequality? To vilify feminism as something only for ‘man-hating lesbians’ is exactly what injustice needs: to turn us all away from the philosophy that can save us, bring us together, and ultimately connect us with our identities and passions.
I have blogged on the topic for over a year now, and I am certainly far from understanding all the ways the genders need to be redefined. However, I confirmed that Feminism is Still Relevant in a video animation, I confirmed that Patriarchy is Not Behind Us in an infographic, and I continue to unearth the disastrous injustices through reading books such as Kat Banyard’s “The Equality Illusion” and Cordelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender.”
Stop accepting the status quo and start questioning yourself. What are your attitudes toward others? Have you ever experienced discrimination on the basis of gender? How do your male friends talk about gender? Do they recognise that patriarchy has always existed, and therefore see the present as the time to act against it? Or do they believe that inequality no longer exists, despite the evidence?
I will always be here to support male feminists. I will always be here for the unconvinced, the skeptical and the plain ignorant. Everyone has to start somewhere, and as George Bernard Shaw once said, the one thing more dangerous than ignorance is false knowledge. Don’t fill your heads with the lies of feminism as an extremist group designed to create matriarchal rule, to ‘feminize’ men, or to steal away their children. That’s what the patriarchy WANTS YOU TO THINK.
THINK FOR YOURSELVES.
And to quote the feminist Gloria Steinem:
"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off."
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