Feminism is not mens enemy.

Feminism is not mens enemy.

173


Men— Feminism is not your enemy.

 

Criticisms of feminism often (but not always) come from men who feel as though feminism is not for them, or that it is even working against them. Historically, feminism has never been about hating men, but about forcing them to recognize their power and privilege and how they can be allies to women. 

History and even experiences from today will tell us that white men have always been the rulers of society, whereas women have been considered property and objects for centuries. And while this may sound great for men on its face, the patriarchy is almost just as harmful to men as it is to women. 

When criticizing feminism, I’ve heard men bring up men’s issues which would be valid if it wasn’t meant to speak over women’s issues. I feel for young men who grow up believing emotion is something to be ashamed of, with anger being the exception. I feel for stay-at-home dads whose counterparts make them feel like less than a man for not being the sole provider for his household. I feel for men who are afraid to come out about their experiences being sexually assaulted because they feel it is emasculating. 

These are all valid issues, but they should never be used as weapons against the feminist movement. It is not feminism that perpetuates these struggles. It’s the patriarchy. Reinforcing gender roles and toxic ideas of masculinity do nothing to help men. The ideas society has about gender are simply made up rules, and the world won’t end if you break them. 

Men— why can’t you wear makeup or get cosmetic surgery? What’s wrong with sending a heartfelt text to your guy friend? What’s wrong with being a stay-at-home dad? The only person telling you not to do these things is yourself and internalized misogyny and sexism. Paint your nails, put on eyeliner, do a face mask, talk about your feelings, hug your friends, be a feminist. These aren’t “girly” things. It isn’t a bad thing to care for yourself and others. It usually signals a man who is more secure in his masculinity than even the most “masculine” men.

And honestly, the whole idea that being “feminine” is a bad thing is just another microaggression towards women. Being a man is whatever you want it to mean, even if that means being feminine.

Microaggressions like this often get labeled as “jokes” or “dark humor” by men, and men often like to ask feminists why feminism would try to keep them from making these jokes. I’ll tell you why. The jokes made about women aren’t funny if they are based in a woman’s harsh lived reality. As I said before, the world has always revolved around men. 

When the world revolves around men, women tend to be viewed in terms of men, not in terms of themselves (e.g. “She’s somebody’s daughter/wife/sister, etc.”). It’s as if women only matter in the context of a man in their life, not because they’re human. Men will never be oppressed this way.

Making insensitive, objectifying remarks about women (or any oppressed group) is not “joking” because it happens to be poking fun at a history of real oppression. Making the same kind of remarks about the oppressors or generalizing about men...well, it’s funny because it’s ironic. It’s a way of taking back power from the men who force fed us their “dark humor” in which we were always the target, and the punchline. 

Feminists have urged men to join our movement since the beginning, but we are growing tired of trying to welcome those who mock and hate us. I think we should be able to make a harmless joke about our frustrations with men’s lack of support for us. Women have been the butt of worse “jokes.”

 

So, if the patriarchy is the enemy, how can men help dismantle it?

Like with any large-scale change in society, it starts with you. To the men who genuinely would like to see change and to abolish toxic masculinity, I encourage you to use your privileges and the platforms you have to do it. It is not women’s jobs nor the feminist movement’s priority to make space for you. We’ve been fighting for our space since the beginning of human history. If you’d like to be a part of the discussion of mental health, body positivity, sexual assault awareness or any “female-dominated” conversation, do it, but don’t do it with the intention of speaking over women.

The largest sect of society telling you that it isn’t manly to do these things aren’t typically women, they’re men. The men before you have built, maintained, and fortified the patriarchy you still benefit from today, but it’s important to realize that it will hurt you too. Dismantling the toxic molds that it has forced all men into starts with your rejection of it. 

We are all affected by toxic masculinity and the patriarchy, but for some reason, many men believe they are immune. I hope any man reading this takes a second look at the complaints they have about feminism with a new lense, and asks themselves if it’s women or the patriarchy who are truly hurting them. I also hope they have gained some empathy and compassion for women who have to fight for their seat at the table everyday because most men cannot fathom giving up any of the systemic power they benefit from. And to the women who call themselves anti-feminist, how can we expect men to be allies to us when we as women cannot band together to advance our cause?

It’s important to remember that the jokes we let slide, the language we use, and the behaviors we tolerate reflect what kind of culture we live in just as much as policy does, and as long as we allow sexist, misogynistic, objectifying comments slide and fail to dismantle toxic gender roles, nothing will change— for women or for men. Men, you’re lucky we want equality and not revenge. Remember, we aren’t your enemy. 

Raj Singh

Hi There. I'm a professional Educator Cum Entrepreneur. Have done Technical as well as Professional Degree, Having Experience of 10 years as Educator and 8 Years of Entrepreneurship.

Comments Here