The topic of the century, isn’t it? Feminism, that awesome word that so much fear causes some people.
I am not going to enter on the debate of the thousand faces of feminism, because I think it is clear that, like with any other movement, there are people who are very angry and people who are more radical and a million ways to twist a simple concept. Feminism just wants equality for everyone, regardless of who you are, how you are, your sexuality, ethnicity or where you live. It’s a simple ‘hey, we are all humans on this planet, let’s have the same starting rights and expectations’. Okay, so I have entered the debate a little bit. But I have tried to hurry past it and you might not have even noticed.
My purpose today is to make this the answer to the many men that think that this whole ‘feminism thing’ doesn’t go with them. Breaking news: it does. The same sexism that has pushed down women for centuries to certain, clearly defined roles… has done the same to men! Shocking, right?
I have had and seen many comments (usually on social, because saying this in person to our face isn’t what these people are here for) of men that say that men and women are already equal in our society – read Western world – and that, first, we are complaining for its own sake, then, we want to rip perfectly able men of their jobs to give them to women under the ‘representation and equality’ excuse, and, lastly, that ‘no one talks about the violence women exert towards men’.
There surely are more examples and arguments given by some men out there, we have all encountered them. I can’t make such a comprehensive list because so much ignorance in one post would break the internet. And this is where I humbly think the issue resides: ignorance; not being able to understand and empathise with the circumstances and day a day life of anyone other than themselves. You ignorant! But before anyone starts hating me for insulting, please know that I don’t mean it as such. I think it is an ugly truth… that exists because of sexism.
Let me explain: I firmly believe that the lack of empathy these people show is because ’empathy’ has traditionally been part of the ‘feminine’ set of attributes. They are victims of the same system they are defending, a system that doesn’t let them feel certain emotions because that hinders their ‘masculinity’. Masculinity is such a funny concept – and very fragile as well. There are so many emotions and behaviours that men are not allowed to have to not see their masculinity suffer. If this is something new for you and want to understand more about it, there are absolutely amazing Ted talks on YouTube that can explain this much better than I can. Does this show that men and women are not equal yet in our society? Can you see that we, women, are complaining about this inequality for a reason? Can you see that sexism also affects men negatively?
Moving to the second argument: representation matters. I think it was 2 weeks ago that I read an article about how excited a Mexican dad got when he saw the latest Star Wars movie. Seeing women in positions of power is encouraging, makes women feel that they can do it, gives validation and inspiration to girls everyone. They feel they can become whatever they want to. In today’s society, sometimes this has to be pushed a little bit. Women are not however taking men jobs. There is no such a thing unless you mean sperm donor, and then you are right, women cannot take that job from you. Women are simply joining a workforce that has been traditionally male, and executive roles and industries that had been traditionally male lead. Some men do not like it when you, a woman, are smarter than them (back to the ignorant bit without intending to!).
Finally, let’s address the violence against men. First let’s put out there that most violence against men is by other men – in a way because they have been told to repress strong emotions and channel them in aggressive behaviour. But even men who are killed or abused by their female counterparts are, compared to women abused by their male partners, very few. They do deserve recognition. They deserve people fighting for them. They deserve to know that they are not alone and that it is okay (I would say great) to ask for help. But violence against men isn’t caused by the sexist society we live in, in most cases. It isn’t because their partners consider them second class beings, unable of judgement, reason or worthy of respect. It isn’t because they are considered property. It is real, but not the issue at hand.
Sexism is the parasite of a society that has moved forward so fast in many aspects, yet in many others it still hold the values and thoughts of the middle ages. Sexism isn’t good for anyone and feminism should not be feared. Feminism is for everyone.