Feminism, you ask, is that where all women hate men? The idea that women are better than men, and equality is not the goal but rather women should be the superior gender? Wrong.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not what feminism is about. Today society spends a lot of time questioning and criticising feminism and to the extent which it should prevail, but to be a feminist and to appreciate its role in society you need to understand what it is.
I myself am a feminist, and I hold the belief that all men should be feminists too, so let me show you what it is and what we’re asking for before you turn down our cause.
The following definition from the International Women’s Development Agency sums up feminism quite nicely:
“Feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities. It’s about respecting diverse women’s experiences, identities, knowledge and strengths, and striving to empower all women to realise their full rights.”
Not too complicated right? The basis of feminism is about all genders being equal in the world lens. There isn’t a good reason for anybody to not support this.
There are some common myths that men believe about feminism, which completely stray from the heart of the movement.
Not all feminists hate men. Full stop. Exclamation mark. This is fundamental.
The salient word instead is, SOME feminists hate men. There are different strains of this ideology, and completely left of field ideologies that cling to feminism, and one of those is the concept that feminists should hate men. These people, to be put into a category, are misandrists which is like the opposite of misogyny; it’s where women hate men.
So, to be clear, not all feminists hate men.
The next issue is that men can presume that feminism automatically believes that all men are bad. Wrong, again.
Feminists do not believe that all men are rapists, evil or responsible for all the bad things in the world.
Sam Killermann in his article makes a fantastic point, “Just like you wouldn’t point at a random white person today and blame them for slavery, you can’t blame an individual man today for a history of sexism.”
Feminists, rather, believe that sexism is bad. Not men. Sexism. Feminism asks all people to question normalised behaviours that infer or aggravate sexism, both inherently and adherently.
Guys, feminism isn’t just the responsibility of women, it’s the responsibility of all genders to promote, support and fight for each other.
So, what are we asking of you guys? What are a few good tips to start on the road of becoming a feminist, even if you’re too afraid to stand loud and proud as one yet?
- Acknowledge your privilege
We’re not asking you to disparage all men, we are asking you to acknowledge your own privilege. Don’t be ashamed of it, but just be aware that it exists.
You might argue, “hey now, I’m not privileged”. However, men, you are still earning on average 21.3% more than your female counterparts with equal qualifications performing the same job role at work. The pay gap, the all illusive pay gap, still exists. And that my friend, contributes to your privilege.
- Consider the expectation inferred by toxic masculinity
We ask you to consider toxic masculinity, how it is affecting you and probably your future children. Feminists ask you to consider thinking and acting beyond the constraints that toxic masculinity has imposed on you from the day you were born. Ask yourself, is it okay for me to cry every once in a while? Is it okay to be sensitive? Because it is okay, but our world has ingrained in our men that it isn’t. So, just consider it.
- Think about equal roles in a relationship
We ask you to consider your role in a relationship and your partner’s role. Is it necessary for one person to be the “bread winner”? Can you support each other’s success, regardless of gender, stereotypes or expectations?
Relationships should be equal, and I say this from my own experience and desires, that I want to be on the same playing field as you, not just on the sidelines. I mean this in romantic relationships, at work, and in your social life.
- Do not assume women to be weak
Please do not assume a woman to be weaker, we are strong, and we are fighting every day. So, fight with us.
- Be our friend, our ally, our partner, stand by us
Finally, stand by us, stand by all genders, not that little bit in the front. Be our partners, be our allies, and champion equality by just understanding the structures underpinning gender inequality in this world.
I ask you to consider these things, and hopefully reconsider your position on feminism.
I believe all men should be feminists because feminism is about equality for all.
We’re not fighting against you, we’re fighting with you.
Featured image via Unsplash