Why Men Should Be Feminists, Too
That’s right. EVERYONE should be a feminist—man, woman, or other. (Alien, I guess?)
So these “meninists” that infest the Twittersphere really cook my noodle. Boil my skin. Put gray hairs on my young head. In other words, they get on my last nerves.
For those of you unfamiliar, “meninists” is a play on the word “feminists.” (“Menimist” spelling is also commonly used.) The hashtag “#meninist” sprung up on Twitter not too long ago and various men took to tweeting things like “Do you expect me to open the door for you? I’m a gentleman” and “I’m a strong, independent man who doesn’t need no woman.” (Okay. I’m not going to lie. That last one’s a little funny to me.)
I certainly didn’t think much of it at the time. I took it for the joke it was and even retweeted some tweets. Some men even made valid points about men being able to have a say in abortion and how men get body shamed, too.
Fast forward to now as I realize that some men actually think this way and are anti-feminist. Some men even go as far as to wear “meninist” t-shirts.
Many meninist Twitter accounts have sprung up as a result of the hashtag. A popular one called “@meninisttweet” has nearly a million followers. No worries. The creators were sure to put “it’s just a parody” in the bio.
Hmm. Did you know that I believe that gay people don’t deserve to be treated unfairly? I do. But I’m going to create an entire Twitter account dedicated to making fun of gay rights. I still respect their rights, though. It’s just a parody.
Sorry to ruin the fun. Fuck that “it’s just Twitter” mentality. It’s never just Twitter. Feminism, like racism, gay rights, and the rights of other disadvantaged groups, is not to be taken lightly.
I just don’t think feminism is anything to make fun of.
Meninists may cry that they are only critiquing feminism’s “double standards,” but you can’t critique something when you don’t know what it is. Before you so quickly jump on the anti-feminist bandwagon, actually know what you’re opposing. And I know you don’t know what feminism is by the “critiques” you supply.
Before we go any further, let me state that every man is not a meninist. In essence, when I talk about meninists here, I’m referring to every man who refuses to give feminism a fair chance or refuses to take it seriously. This is also for women who are ignorant about feminism and decide to preface all of their (ironically feminist related) opinions with “I’m not a feminist, but…” or have the nerve to support meninists because they don’t want to be associated with the negative stigma of feminism. Yes, you go in the same boat as these “meninists.”
I’m going to take off my asshole hat for a second because I know that if you guys truly understood what feminism was, you all wouldn’t be so adamant about opposing it. I am here to enlighten all.
How can Beyoncé be a feminist?
I’m using Beyonce as a metaphor here. Sadly, a lot of men and women only see feminists as unattractive, bra-burning, men-bashing, angry women. Feminism is the reason we’re all single. (Like it’s a bad thing or taboo for a woman to be single. But that’s another post.) Certainly, being called a “feminist” is not a compliment.
Let’s take a look at Beyoncé, then. She’s not your “typical” feminist. She’s very pretty and even married. She sings about Jay-Z all the time, so she doesn’t hate men. Doesn’t seem particularly angry. Gushes about how much she loves being a mother.
Yet, she put this feminist crap on her “Flawless” single.
C’mon, people. I thought we’d all be familiar with stereotypes by now. Meninists think that the loud minority of feminists who are anti-men represent us all. Feminists are just regular people like you and me.
More importantly, how a woman looks and acts shouldn’t determine the validity of her beliefs. Her marital status or sexual orientation has nothing to do with her beliefs. There are “hot” feminists and not so hot feminists. Mothers and happily married women can be feminists as well as childless, perpetually single women. MEN can (and should be) feminists.
Speaking of, let’s take a look at some of the feminist schpeel she put on “Flawless:”
We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”
Anywho, that’s what she said about women. But did you hear what she said about men in the rest of the Ted Talk?
We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity becomes this hard, small cage and we put boys inside the cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear. We teach boys to be afraid of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves because they have to be in Nigeria speak ‘hard man.’
Yes, this came from a feminist! But, QUE? Why would a feminist defend men?
Because when you hate feminism, you are not protesting angry, man-hating women who think that women are superior to men. When you hate feminism, you are protesting equality.
What does equality mean?
I understand that went over some of you all’s heads. Really. Just search “women want equality” on Twitter and you’ll run into tweet after tweet about the double standard of women being able to hit men without the same consequences of a man hitting a man. Really, that’s what you think of feminism? I’ll address that in a subsequent section, but it’s important to understand just what is meant by “feminism” first.
Here are two good definitions:
- the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
- the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
So here’s what’s NOT meant by that equality:
- Feminists are anti-men
- Women are superior to men
- Men totally suck and are responsible for all of our problems
- Men shouldn’t have any rights
- Men aren’t treated unfairly in a lot of ways, too
Yeah, I don’t see any of those mentioned in the definition of feminism.
Maybe you’re distracted by the “fem” root of the word, which refers to women because it was usually women’s rights being trampled on. Bro. Women were treated like straight up property. A lot of cultures prefer male babies over female babies. Domestic violence. Women couldn’t vote. After the suffrage movement, black women still couldn’t vote. Women were to be seen and not heard. There’s a whole bunch of other shit. Take a Women’s History or Feminism class. (Yes, you too, fellas!)
I just don’t get it. How are women treated unfairly in this day and age?
I could rattle off a list of statistics like how women get paid 53-77 cents for every dollar a white man makes, but instead, let’s talk a little bit about gender.
We live in a patriarchal society. It’s an undeniable fact. If you don’t believe this, you need to wake up. And we can’t be friends.
Since we live in a world literally ran by men, I can see why men might not think about gender as much as women. It’s similar to how white people don’t usually think about race because they don’t experience racism.
But if we tell you we’re treated unfairly, why don’t you believe us?
Why don’t you believe us when we say we aren’t taken seriously in the workplace because we’re women?
Why do we have to dress a certain way in order to avoid street harassment or being raped?
Why can’t we aspire to being more than a wife, mother, or sexual object?
Why weren’t over 40 women who accused Bill Cosby of date rape not believed until he admitted it himself?
Why are there so few women in positions of power when women make up half of the population?
It’s a (white) man’s world.
Who has the most pain?
Yet, when women start to talk about being unfairly treated, men want to chime in and say, “My life’s hard, too! More men are pressured to join the military and serve longer sentences than women! You don’t see us complaining?”
For one, why do you feel the need to add your two cents when women are talking about their problems? That’s like the stupid people (asshole hat’s back on) who want to change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter. Do you walk into a breast cancer awareness event and scream out, “Colon cancer matters, too!”
For two, change has never come about by keeping your mouth shut. Furthermore, EVERYONE’S life is hard. It’s life.
Yet, there are things about life you may not have to deal with because you’re not a woman or a woman of color. Equality between the sexes would make life a little bit easier. For us both.
But retorting “Oh I’m hurting, too” when someone tells you they’re hurting, what good does that do? Why is it a competition? This isn’t the fucking pain Olympics.
Let’s be smart and instead offer up solutions to assuage each other’s pain instead of going back and forth with, “No, I have it worse!” (Hint: this goes for more situations than just feminism.)
Let’s not fall into the trap of pitting men and women against each other. It distracts from the issues that beg to be addressed.
It’s the trap of the system. I’ll just link this article here for an in depth analysis of what I mean. But to put it short, the system tends to pit two minority groups against each other i.e. women’s rights vs men’s rights, false rape victims vs rape victims, good cops vs bad cops. This is all done to distract from the issues at hand when one side doesn’t have to cancel out or disqualify the other at all.
What does this mean for gender roles?
Adichie stated, as an evolving people, our gender roles must evolve as well.
For instance, back in the day, the husband went off to work while the wife stayed home and did all the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing. But now that both men and women tend to work, if we’re both coming home tired from work, why must all the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing continue to fall on the woman?
Women wanting equality does not mean they want to be treated like men. I repeat. Women wanting equality does not mean they want to be treated like men.
It’s common to hear dumb men say, “Women want equality but don’t want to get their ass beat when they hit a man.” What?
In no way do I believe it’s right to hit a man. No one should be hitting anybody! But what does having manners have to do with feminism?
If your idea of equality is synonymous with hitting women, you are a sad, sad human. What’s more, you’re making a joke about hitting a woman who you physically overpower and who you have the potential to kill if you’re too rough.
I also hear “women want equality but don’t want to pay for dates.” What? There was even a recent discussion of Twitter today in response to a guy stating that a woman was a “golddigger” if she didn’t want to go half on a date.
First, thank God I date men and not boys. Second, what does being a gentleman have to do with eradicating sexism? If you want to use feminism as an excuse to make your broke ass feel better, be my guest.
But let’s talk about some more double standards.
A woman being assertive is a bitch. A man being assertive is just taking charge.
If a woman makes more than a man, that’s emasculating.
A single woman must be crazy or have something wrong with her. A single man just doesn’t want to settle down.
Men cheat. It’s just what they do!
As you can see, there are many double standards on both sides. What you also can’t do is equate human rights to double standards.
Don’t fall into the trap!
Did you know that meninism is in support of feminism?
Here’s the kicker. I saved this one for last on purpose. Although meninism claims to “parody” feminism, meninism actually supports feminism.
I hate to break it to you. But since feminism fights for equal rights, that means they aim to fight for these in the favor of men, too.
So when you use things like male custody and unequal jail sentences to “critique” feminism, you are actually supporting it. Because why? IT MEANS EQUALITY OF THE SEXES.
Feminism isn’t perfect. (Because, you guessed it, people aren’t perfect.) It’s a fucking theory. But if you believe men and women should be treated equally, you are a feminist. Whether you choose to label yourself one or not.
If you want to learn more about feminism, Google “feminism.” Better yet, check out a book on feminism.
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Categories: equal rights