Feminism 101: It’s Not Just for Women

by Tami Winfrey Harris

In the last installment of Feminism 101, I wrote about iconic black feminists whose existence puts the lie to the idea that feminism is only for white women. Today, I’d like to talk about feminist men. Yes, I said feminist men. Too many people think this idea is incongruous–that feminism at its core is anti-man and so the idea of a man embracing feminist movements is absurd. In truth, feminism is no more anti-man than anti-racism is anti-white people. The foundation of both these movements is the idea of equality. The enemy of both is systemic oppression.

The Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog offers a useful definition for feminism:

Society deals with gender in a way that, on balance, harms women.

This is a problem that must be corrected.

Any man with a mother, sister, wife, daughter–a woman whom he loves–should be concerned about this. And It’s important to note, women aren’t the only ones harmed by the way society treats gender; men, who must perform a sort of masculinity that is far from one-size-fits-all, are harmed, too. Men can find freedom in dismantling patriarchy.

Many men are hesitant to claim the feminist label.  In fact, doing so is, in itself, a challenge to traditional masculinity. Real men dominate unapologetically, so it is believed. But other men, proudly wear the feminist label. When I heard my husband tell his son “I am a feminist and you should be, too” I was reminded all over again why I am so lucky to have found such a brave and thoughtful man.

My husband’s pronouncement made me wonder what motivates some men to wade through their own privilege and society’s rules of manhood to embrace feminism.

In recent months, two black, male writers have written eloquently about their feminism:

 

At The Root,  Byron Hurt wrote:

Like most guys, I had bought into the stereotype that all feminists were white, lesbian, unattractive male bashers who hated all men. But after reading the work of these black feminists, I realized that this was far from the truth. After digging into their work, I came to really respect the intelligence, courage and honesty of these women.

Feminists did not hate men. In fact, they loved men. But just as my father had silenced my mother during their arguments to avoid hearing her gripes, men silenced feminists by belittling them in order to dodge hearing the truth about who we are.

I learned that feminists offered an important critique about a male-dominated society that routinely, and globally, treated women like second-class citizens. They spoke the truth, and even though I was a man, their truth spoke to me. Through feminism, I developed a language that helped me better articulate things that I had experienced growing up as a male.

Feminist writings about patriarchy, racism, capitalism and structural sexism resonated with me because I had witnessed firsthand the kind of male dominance they challenged. I saw it as a child in my home and perpetuated it as an adult. Their analysis of male culture and male behavior helped me put my father’s patriarchy into a much larger social context, and also helped me understand myself better.

I decided that I loved feminists and embraced feminism. Not only does feminism give woman a voice, but it also clears the way for men to free themselves from the stranglehold of traditional masculinity. When we hurt the women in our lives, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our community, too.

 G.D of Post Bourgie wrote:

I remember my mom cautioned both my twin sister and me as teenagers to be on point, but there was a different shading to the warnings she gave my sister. They were: Don’t leave your drink unattended. Make sure your girls know where you are. My sister, it was assumed, was going to have someone say some slick shit to her, to hop in her personal space, to put their hands on her as she passed. The company of a friend wasn’t going to stop it. Nothing was. She was going to bear the responsibility for these transgressions when they inevitably happened. Others would have said my sister wasn’t cautious enough, or asked her what she was wearing, or why she was where she was. The response would always be to ascertain what she did wrong, how she should have known better, how she got caught slipping.

Our experiences were subtly, profoundly different, but they were mundane, and their ordinariness belied their injustice. To grow up like this meant developing a certain resignation about the specter of violence, and often — perversely — feeling personally responsible when something ugly happened. But I didn’t have a way to think about these things until I learned about feminism. The first time I heard the term “sexual terrorism,” then,  I finally had a name to something I’d always fundamentally known. The great irony was that I was having these realizations and entertaining these conversations for the first time on a suburban college campus where I actually felt completely safe.

Earlier this week, I also reached out to my social network to ask some men why they are self-identified feminists. The response was moving:

Jason said, “I’m a multiracial man of color and a SAHD to two multiethnic daughters. All systems of oppression are interconnected and to fight one you must fight them all. For my partner, my daughters, for all my communities, how can I not be a feminist?”

Paul said, “I loved my late mother, grandmothers and great aunties to death. I love my aunts, my sisters, my cousins, my nieces to pieces, and especially my dear darling daughters, to say nothing of my super-strong spouse. I only want the best for them, and the best as far as I’m concerned is an equal playing field. By extension, therefore, I wish this for all women, therefore I am by at least one definition a feminist… as long as we live in a world where women are treated as second-class citizens (and BTW – the 77% women’s worth is only average – the disparity grows as you go up the ladder towards the glass ceiling…) we all need to work overtime to ensure change will come about.”

Relando said, “I’m a feminist because patriarchy is harmful to women and can hurt men as well with idealized notions of masculinity that demean and subordinate women and punish men who don’t follow suit. While male privilege is VERY real, when I think about it, we all lose collectively while patriarchy is sustained. Men need to do more.”

Glenn said, “I believe in equal rights. People ARE what is in their minds and hearts. Not what is/isn’t between their legs! It makes me sick that in 2012 we still have inequality of any kind: Racial, gender, sexual orientation…”

Rob said, “I’m a feminist because the idea of someone making decisions for someone else leaves me more than unsettled.”

Muff said, “I’m a feminist because my liberation is bound up with yours.”

And I will give Bearded Stoner the last word. He said, “I am a feminist because not to be is not to be a liberal, is not to believe in individual rights. I am a feminist because my mother’s life story is a testament to feminism’s necessity.  I am a feminist because I have a daughter. But I should be careful not to couch my feminism strictly in terms of familial self-interest. Either all are free or none are.”

 

  • au napptural

    What a beautiful article! We need more men like this.

  • Keep it Real

    Black women and emasculated black men are being brainwashed by their liberal and feminist professors. The white elitist, liberals and feminist (the man is wanted but not NEEDED in thehome) reject the traditional nuclear family and are pushing their Alternative or New Familial Structure. 2 men, 2 women, Single mother… everything goes. They have normalized illegitimacy and multiple baby daddies. The social engineering of White elitist, feminist (the man is not NEEDED in the home) and progressive liberals who think they’re smarter than everyone else has done something that 400 years of slavery, Jim crow and discrimination were unable to do. Destroy the black family and black community. If the black man is no longer in the home who is going to learn and who is going to teach him how to be a responsible man? You see Uncle Sam just doesn’t make for a good baby daddy. Illegitimacy was stigmatized and overwhelmingly rejected in the black community pre 1960′s (from 1900 to 1960 illegitimacy was between 10 to 24%). They now have black women and emasculated black men thinking that illegitimacy and dysfunction has always been black culture,wrong! Illegitimacy is the root cause of every black social issue facing the black community. High Illegitimacy leads to high academic failure, which leads to high dropout rates, which leads to high rates of unemployment, which leads to high rates of poverty, which leads to high rates of crime. All of which lead to dysfunctional homes, schools and communities.

    They then get black women and emasculated black men to push liberalism & feminism and trumpet the benefits blacks gained from those movements but refuse to address the negative results of those very same movements and their flawed social engineering programs. They blame all the black race failures on those evil Republicans and conservatives to the non critically thinking common black folk. After 50 years and 4 generations, we now know the truth. I’m not saying liberalism, progressivism and feminism doesn’t work. I’m just telling you it doesn’t work in the hood. This ghetto Matriarchal society has been a disaster, a living nightmare, in the black community. No black men in the home, 31% of African American women by their early forties have never married, 72% black illegitimacy, 50%, abortions, 50% of black kids drop out of H.S., black unemployment 16%, black teen unemployment 46% and only 7% of businesses. Shall I continue….. I think not. It’s too depressing. A community is judged solely on it’s development of it’s kids. If that’s not a compete absolute failure I don’t know what is. The future AT THIS TIME is already set in stone for the black community. It’s called “A Permanent Underclass”. The black community will never be productive with 72% illegitimacy and no men in the home. It has never been done in the history of civilization by any race, fact. Until the liberals and feminist acknowledge this nothing will change in the black communities.

    In the 50′s & early 60s, black women were initially hostile to feminist and this new way of raising families. Paying poor black women who didn’t have a man in the home for irresponsible behavior (every kid she had) changed that ie through welfare. She no longer needed the poor black man to put a roof over her head, food on the table for her and the kids and clothes on their back. Hell, she even had a couple of bucks leftover for smokes. Yes, black women are now going to college but less than 18% graduate. What about the other 82% of black girls/women? These are the majority of black women/girls having kids. Think about it like this. Who had a better life. Shaniqua, post black feminism and social engineering programs, never married living alone on welfare with her 4 kids by 3 different men in a dysfunctional black community with the majority of other black women also single baby mammas OR her great great grand mother Martha Louise who got married in 1950 at age 18 and her and her husband had 6 kids. They were poor and faced racism, discrimination ect. but raised the kids together in a stable black community where other black husbands and wives also raised their kids. Who had a better life Martha lou or Shaniqua? Which kids were in a better home? I’m not advocating going back to the 1950′s I’m just pointing out that this Matriarchal Utopia Lie the feminist and liberals promised you all needs to be reevaluated. Keep what works but you must reject (loudly) this Feminist big lie “The man is wanted but not NEEDED in the home”. The white feminist are going home to their husbands or at a minimum communities full of homes headed by men.

  • Yb

    Cool story bro…….

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    You throw up a lot of straw men in your response. Not one of the men quoted in this article advocate a nanny state with Uncle Sam taking the place of fathers. Anyway, your account of the 50s and 60s and the evolution of feminism and social programs is revisionist and lacking in nuance. For instance, many politically active black women rejected the mainstream feminist movement in the 60s and 70s, but many of those same women were still working on behalf of female equality within their communities.

    Black men who embrace feminism are not emasculated. They do; however, understand how oppressions overlap and that you cannot agitate for your own freedom while keeping your foot on someone else’s neck.

    Having said all this, I am now second-guessing my decision to engage. I am not sure we can find common ground. I cannot imagine arguing against, “Either all are free or none are.”

  • Keep it Real

    @Tami

    Strawman? I think I specifically and accurately stated the problems I have with liberalism and feminism. Do you want to specifically address anything that I’ve stated that’s not accurate?

    Common ground? Do you believe there’s ever been a successful matriarchal nation in the history of civilization? BLACK feminist need to reject loudly this matriarchal utopia fantasyland nonsense of “The man is wanted but not NEEDED in the home” that would be a start to finding some common ground.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    You may have beef with people who advocate the many things you list, but few feminists I know advocate for any of those ideas. More importantly, no one quoted in THIS article advocated for any of these things. You rant about the American government as stand-in daddy, while several of the men in THIS

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    Whoops…computer glitch!

    You may have beef with people who advocate the many things you list, but few feminists I know advocate for any of those ideas. More importantly, no one quoted in THIS article advocated for any of these things. You rant about the American government as stand-in daddy, while several of the men in THIS article talked about being present fathers in their children’s lives. They talked about how having children, specifically daughters, strengthened their desire to fight for gender EQUALITY not matriarchy. You also slip in some faulty figures to bolster your argument: According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the black student graduation rate is 43 percent. The rate for black women is 47 percent. Now, those figures aren’t great, but they are far from your figure of 17 percent.

    There are two problems here:

    - You present a twisted definition of feminism, based on your own bias, and then argue against your own definition, which bears no resemblance to what actual feminists fight for.

    - You come to this article, and rather than argue against its actual content, you derail with a side argument against the feminist demons that you–again, not the article–defined.

    It is clear that you do not subscribe to feminism. Can you counter the ACTUAL WORDS of the men above?

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    To be quite honest, I am an African feminist, but I call it as I see it. You addressed an issue that ticked me off, that needs to be addressed.

    “Many men are hesitant to claim the feminist label. In fact, doing so is, in itself, a challenge to traditional masculinity.”

    Well out of those many, we are also to blame for them not wanting to claim the feminist label!!! TRUST. There are some, amongst us who are NAZI, about feminism and spew HATE! Basically men bash!!! If we are going to recruit some of us need to change our tune, not to fit the mould, but to stop being hypocritical, at the same time while pushing our ideals.

    *SHOTS FIRED* I only do spear and arrows, if you got bullets, save your energy for another!

  • Keep it Real

    @Tami

    I see you didn’t answer my questions. Why, is it to difficult to admit?

    You think almost 50% of black women have a college degree? Is that what you’re trying me? You’re trumpeting feminism and what it’s done for black women and you don’t know the percentage of them who have a degree? I’m not talking graduation rates of those in college I’m talking the total percentage of ALL black students who have a bachelors degree. The answer is aprox 18% of black female and 14% of black male students have a bachelors degree.

    Google “Educational Attainment United States” There are a number if links. It’s easiest to read in wikipedia and has a link to the U.S. Census Download.

    We know that the black family was stable and not dysfunctional (as it is today) pre 1960′s in spite of jim crow, discrimination and abject poverty. Almost every black kid had a father in the home and the majority of black women were married. This isn’t revisionist history. This is a fact. How can you trumpet and promote something without acknowledging the negative effects and results of those very same movements and their flawed social engineering programs

  • Furious Styles

    @ Tami,

    Everything you’re saying is spot-on. However, everything Keep It Real posted deftly illustrates where the level of discourse around feminism is in “conscious” communities…a knee-jerk regurgitation of the same-ass “feminism destroyed the black community” bullet points/memes. They don’t have to question. They’re not into understanding the other argument because they know everything. Even when you bring proof.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome

    “no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary”.

    Don’t even waste your time trying to persuade them; they’re the most well-read anti-intellectuals ever.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    You said:

    “Yes, black women are now going to college but less than 18% graduate.”

    The implication is that only 18 percent of black women who go to college graduate. Now, you are moving the goal posts.

    Is your argument that even more black women graduated from college before the 60s?

    Here’s another fact about black women–not that marriage is the sole marker for success–but only 37 percent of black women 35-39 have never married. That percentage drops as the age in question goes up. MOST black women do get married, but later than white women.

    YOU suggest that feminism is to blame for all societal ills in the black community. What data do you have to support this theory? Your examples do not add up. For instance, you mention abortion rates as a reflection of feminism’s negative impact, while ignoring how abortion rates might be impacted by:
    - Poor education on sexual and reproductive health
    - High rates of sexual violence
    - Poverty, lack of opportunities and unequal parenting expectations that might cause a woman to decide that she cannot care for a baby

    Several of those problems might be laid at the feet of patriarchy NOT feminism. These things are far more complicated than you suggest.

    Also, how do you explain thriving societies that are more egalitarian and have more social programs (since those seem to be a particular problem for you), such as Sweden?

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    (Ooops! i think my first response to you got gobbled by the system.)

    I think the man-hating feminists you mention are a very, very small subset of everyone who fights for gender equality, yet in post after post here, the idea of these phantom “femiNazis” (TM Limbaugh) come up. I think those who would rather women not be equal have successfully poisoned the word “feminist” in the same way conservatives have poisoned “liberal” and “political correctness.” Feminism does not equal anti-man, though it’s opponents are super invested in folks believing it does.

    I think the existence of radicalized feminists becomes an excuse for many folks to ignore misogyny and sexism. I mean, there are radicals who believe that black people should oppress white people in response to centuries of racism. (Just check that thread about the South African model who used racial slurs on Twitter.) But anyone using that fringe population to explain not being anti-racist would be on some serious bull.

    This article is about the voices of MEN who have embraced feminism and the reasons why they took that step. Still, rather than talking about what these MEN have to say as feminists, we’re talking about man-hating female feminists.

    I just don’t get that.

  • C

    @Keep it real…dumb

    Again, I know I should ignore you, but

    No matter how you and the rest of the BBMs(bitter black men) try to spin it, Black men destroyed the Black family and community. Black women are still here(unfortunately), but when the coast was clear after the civil rights movement, Black men took off or they were shucking and jiving as usual.

    The end.

  • TheTuth

    Yeah, there are plenty of male feminists. They’re called manginas.

    Signed: A former male feminist.

  • H

    How do you feel about the Men’s Rights Movement? If you ignore the true misogynists and try your best not to be offended as a woman, I find that they make some very good points. There is a female MRA girlwriteswhat that does YouTube videos. She is informative and a bit calmer than some of the popular men I have seen on YouTube. Many of them are informative and calm, but some of them simply hate women or think that women are inferior and should get back in the kitchen.

  • FeminismAndIllegitimacy

    Illegitimacy is a major problem in the black community, but so many black women don’t care. It looks bad, but what do they say? They say “I don’t need a man”! Obviously they do or else these neighborhoods wouldn’t be turning into mini Rwandas. Now they have made it seem like raising kids on your own shows that you are a “strong black woman.” But these single mothers SUCK at raising kids on their own! The bad statistics are proof of that. Those numbers are a result of poorly raised children acting like idiots. These single mothers think matriarchy is something to be proud of because of feminism, but look at the matriarchies that they lead. They are full of violent, uneducated men and stupid hoodrats. I’m done with the excuses coming from both black men and women in these neighborhoods. These communities are dysfunctional. The mentality of the “black community” is dysfunctional which is why I usually find myself disagreeing.

    The black community is seriously misguided. No movement or government spending can fix the problems that we face today until black people wake up and decide to change the way they think.

    Just look at these neighborhoods. The people have no shame or dignity. That is the big difference between black people in the 60s and now. Back then we were doing our best to build for our families and improve with dignity. Back then we were fighting racism, attacks, and poverty. Now we just throw it all away. Listen at the news and the idiocy that comes out of these neighborhoods: the flash mobs in Philadelphia, the gang rapes, the chronic black on black crime, the high drop out rates, the high illegitimacy rates. I’m embarrassed when I watch the local news at night and upset by what this generation has done to destroy the history of dignity and hard work of African Americans. All of that comes from not raising kids correctly. That is all it is period. When you raise kids right, they usually don’t engage in inhumane behavior or extreme stupidity. That’s not oppression from white people. That’s black people oppressing themselves.

  • FeminismAndIllegitimacy

    I don’t think feminism destroyed the black community, and I think it has definitely helped women of all races. The problems with the black community and feminism are tied to welfare. Welfare made the man unnecessary. Feminists saw this as a good thing and encouraged that attitude amongst black women. They told them that they were leading the way in fighting the oppression of patriarchy. But look at white women.

    They didn’t get rid of their men, and it has made a big difference. Black people have always been poor, but the black family structure was not so different from that of white people back in the day. Welfare gave these women a check. They didn’t need men. When the manufacturing jobs were outsourced, black men couldn’t get a job and became dependent on the women. Now we have a bunch of women getting checks from the government and a bunch of lazy men with no job leeching off their mothers, and the children are suffering.

  • everydayathena

    The comments below this article are so disappointing.

  • TheTuth

    There’s a question I ask that never gets answered in these type of debates:

    If feminism is really about equality for everybody (as feminists routinely claim) then why is it still called FEMINism?

    Why not call it something that is all-inclusive? Why not just call it egalitarianism? Or humanism? Or whatever term that is gender neutral? The term “feminism” infers that it is slanted toward the female sex. IF feminism is truly about equality for all then the name you use should reflect that fact.

    Why not retire the word completely in favor of something that actually includes all people???

  • http://collectingstamps2012.wordpress.com/ Cam

    @TheTruth

    I’ll preface this by saying that this is my understanding of why FEMINism is an appropriate term, and not based on any official research.

    Yes, feminism is about equality. On the whole, women are the disadvantaged sex – speaking strictly in terms of a system that only recognizes two sexes. Therefore, the fight has been to recognize women’s rights so that we can have the same freedoms that men already enjoy, and hence be equals. So yes, the focus is on women, because there are only two ways to make things equal: you either uplift one group or you pull another down. Obviously, pulling men down doesn’t serve anyone. By naming it feminism, we are acknowledging that women are the ones impacted by unfair treatment; and while I understand your questions around using the word, it is an important part of acknowledging the unfairness.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    I have to preface this by saying that I haven’t studied the MRA movement in depth. My understanding is based on some reading in mainstream publications and encounters online. I know that it emerged in the 70s, in response to women’s work towards equality, ERA and all that. The underlying idea of the movement seems to be that men are losing their rights, which I think is untrue. Straight, white, heterosexual men continue to hold most of the power in our society. I compare the men’s rights movement with the white power movement that claims to be in response to the alleged trampling of white rights by minorities who now control everything.

    I have heard men’s rights activists talk about some real challenges, like fathers being given unequal consideration in child custody cases. Interestingly, though, the idea that women inherently are better parents is not an idea that came from feminism, but patriarchy. The patriarchy that feminists fight against damages men, too.

  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami

    I think Cam nails this. Men have historically held society power and privilege. Feminism is an attempt to level the playing field. So, the focus is on women’s rights. This is no different to, say, the GLBTQ community labeling their fight specifically. Heterosexual people have historically held societal power and privilege. The gay rights movement is about leveling the playing field for gay people, but the inherent idea is that no sexual orientation should be preferenced over another.

  • EssDot323

    +1

  • TheTuth

    @Cam

    In Western society, women have had the same rights of men for decades now.

    Women now outnumber men in college.

    Women now outnumber men in the workforce.

    There are a number of social programs that are aimed specifically to help women.

    Women are the primary beneficiaries of Affirmative Action.

    Women generally receive less severe punishments than men for the same crimes in the criminal justice system. It’s been like that since forever.

    Women have always lived longer than men.

    Women even have an extra set of rights called reproductive rights. Men don’t have any reproductive rights. So in actuality, women have more rights then men.

    I’m not even going to mention how divorce courts favor women. That would be overkill.

    Do any of these conditions sound like they belong to an “oppressed” group? And let me clarify the fact that I do not intrinsically have a problem with women having all these things. However, the “Women are victims/Men are victimizers” ideaology of feminism is a bit silly when you look at reality.

    So what’s the point of still using a word that has already realized it’s alleged purpose of equality.

  • TheTuth

    @Tam

    “Men have historically held society power and privilege.”

    So every single man on the planet has power and privilege? We all live like kings, right? And women are just poor peasants? Let’s look atsome of these privileges that we enjoy:

    Men are required by law to register for selective service when they turn 18. Either we consent to the prospect of being drafted into war against our will OR the federal government makes our lives a living hell. Not much of a choice, is it?

    Speaking about forced participation in war, men are overwhelmingly the primary victims of war. Always have, always will. This is due to the age old notion that men’s lives are expendable because women are the ones who make babies.

    The majority of homeless people in the U.S. (or any Western country) are men. Many of whom are veterans.

    The overwhelming majority of work-related deaths/injuries are men.

    The majority of violent crime victims are male.

    Men on average die seven years earlier than women, if I remember correctly.

    The majority of unemployed are men.

    It’s damn near impossible for men to get access to social aid services compared to women.

    Men on average get harsher punishments than women for similar crimes.

    Men have no reproductive rights. Unlike women, men cannot legally opt out of having a child.

    And I’m not even gonna go into detail how Family/Divorce courts are blatantly biased against men. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion in itself.

    Oh, boy! I feel so lucky to have all this power and privilege! It’s so fun.

    “This is no different to, say, the GLBTQ community labeling their fight specifically. Heterosexual people have historically held societal power and privilege.”

    The majority of humanity is heterosexual. If otherwise, humans would have died off eons ago. So wouldn’t it make sense that the most people with “societal power and privilege” reflect this fact???

  • http://collectingstamps2012.wordpress.com/ Cam

    I could take the list you posted and post an equally long list of the ways women are still disadvantaged, but I will just comment on a few of your points.

    Women may have the same rights as men, but having rights, and having those rights actually be respected and upheld are two different things.

    As for women outnumbering men in the workforce; even in fields that are traditionally dominated by women, the higher ups are almost always predominantly if not solely men. I work in one such field. And the majority of fields dominated by women are in lower paying professions, like the service industry. Corporate, high paying and senior level jobs are still dominated by white, straight men. And this, despite the fact that, as you said “there are a number of social programs that are aimed specifically to help women” and affirmative action.

    “Women generally receive less severe punishments than men for the same crimes in the criminal justice system. It’s been like that since forever.” and “I’m not even going to mention how divorce courts favor women. That would be overkill.”

    These are the result of gender roles that cast women as caregivers, the weaker sex etc. The same gender roles that feminism fights to dismantle. As Tami stated above: “…the idea that women inherently are better parents is not an idea that came from feminism, but patriarchy. The patriarchy that feminists fight against damages men, too.”

    As for reproductive rights…well…women’s reproductive rights are constantly under attack. Not only are many states fighting to revoke these rights http://jezebel.com/5887627/the-ten-scariest-places-in-america-to-have-ladyparts
    But in some parts of the world they don’t exist at all http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17612550#TWEET125107
    And they don’t want us to have abortions, but still many insurance companies would rather cover Viagra than Birth Control, if that’s not discrimination, I don’t know what is.

    There are of course exceptions to the points both you and I have raised, but the exceptions only prove the rule. Feminism isn’t just a western concept, but it’s global and it’s ideology isn’t “Women are victims/Men are victimizers”, but that we must dismantle the patriarchy that harms us all, but particularly women. Because we have achieved a certain level of progress in the West, isn’t a reason to abandon the concept when women in other parts of the world are still incredibly oppressed. As one of the men noted in the article “Either all are free or none are”.

    I sense that you are very hung up on the word, and maybe that’s from a place of feeling attacked as a man by “man hating ‘feminists’”? Or like we’re trying to flip the scales and oppress men. And I think that’s a natural reaction when you don’t fully understand something. But even if you never accept the word, I would encourage you to be more open to understanding the real ideologies behind it, because it seems as though you have attributed some very negative and unfeminist views to it. The men quoted in the article give perfect examples of what feminism is actually about.

    I think that the sooner we all acknowledge how we both benefit from and are oppressed by sexism, racism, capitalism etc, the sooner we will be able to work together towards real solutions.

  • TheTuth

    @Cam

    “I could take the list you posted and post an equally long list of the ways women are still disadvantaged”

    And what exactly would you prove by doing that? That men and women both have disadvantages that are unique to their gender? Therefore, men (as a collective) do not hold all this invisible power that most women believe we have???

    You missed the point I was making. The intent of that list was not to argue that women have it easy in life. The intent was to demonstrate that men do not have it nearly as easy as feminists make it out to sound. There are advantages and disadvantages for men AND women. Men have advantages in one area and disadvantages in another area. Women have disadvantages in one area and advantages in another area. The issue with feminists is that they ONLY acknowledge the advantages of men and the disadvantages of women, which creates an extremely one-sided view of oppression. This is where the “men oppressed women throughout all time” propaganda comes from; a doctrine that runs deep in feminist theory.

    “Women may have the same rights as men, but having rights, and having those rights actually be respected and upheld are two different things.”

    That door swings both ways. It’s hardly a gender-specific issue.

    “As for women outnumbering men in the workforce; even in fields that are traditionally dominated by women, the higher ups are almost always predominantly if not solely men. I work in one such field. And the majority of fields dominated by women are in lower paying professions, like the service industry. Corporate, high paying and senior level jobs are still dominated by white, straight men. And this, despite the fact that, as you said “there are a number of social programs that are aimed specifically to help women” and affirmative action.”

    Generally speaking, men are more likely to go into higher-paying fields than women do. But even that’s changing as women are currently making fast gains in the corporate world. Why? Because more women are pursuing those jobs.

    It’s also important to note that the people who get hired for these positions have to go through Human Resources, which is predominately female. You can go to the human resources department of any company and see that it’s made up of mostly women. So that means most of the people getting hired are going through women first.

    “These are the result of gender roles that cast women as caregivers, the weaker sex etc. The same gender roles that feminism fights to dismantle. As Tami stated above: “…the idea that women inherently are better parents is not an idea that came from feminism, but patriarchy. The patriarchy that feminists fight against damages men, too.””

    Feminism is the MAIN reason most Divorce/Family Court laws are so slanted towards women today. All these policies are based on feminist theories. Feminists have pushed for all types of legistlation that places top priority on women’s interests. Look at VAWA for example. All a woman has to do is accuse a man of violence and he’ll be automatically arrested with no evidence at all. These are FEMINIST ideals being put into law; the ideal that women’s security is more important than due process.

    Let me ask you something. When was the last time you saw feminists go before a committee and demand that women get the same prison sentences as men? When was the last time you saw women’s groups protest the Divorce/Family Court laws that favor women? When was the last time you saw women’s rights advocates go before the Federal government and demand that women be required to register for the draft like men are required to? When was the last time you saw feminist groups protest “women and children first” policies?

    Feminists may not have invented these double standards, but they damn sure are the ones who perfected and marketed them.

    “As for reproductive rights…well…women’s reproductive rights are constantly under attack.”

    Women’s reproductive rights aren’t going anywhere. That’s a bunch of liberal hyperbole. You’ll see the return of slavery before the remission of women’s reproductive rights. And keep in mind, we’re talking about rights that are still exclusive to women.

    “Not only are many states fighting to revoke these rights http://jezebel.com/5887627/the-ten-scariest-places-in-america-to-have-ladyparts
    But in some parts of the world they don’t exist at all http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17612550#TWEET125107

    A lot of rights don’t exist in some parts of the world. Again, not gender-specific.

    “And they don’t want us to have abortions, but still many insurance companies would rather cover Viagra than Birth Control, if that’s not discrimination, I don’t know what is.”

    How about the fact that diseases that affect women on average get far more attention annd funding than diseases that affect men? Compare the attention of breast cancer to the attention that prostate cancer gets. And let’s not forget, women on average outlive men.

    Furthermore, viagra is technically a remedy that treats a medical problem (erectile dysfunction). Pregnancy, in and of itself, is not a medical problem. However, I know most women would disagree.

    “There are of course exceptions to the points both you and I have raised, but the exceptions only prove the rule. Feminism isn’t just a western concept, but it’s global and it’s ideology isn’t “Women are victims/Men are victimizers”, but that we must dismantle the patriarchy that harms us all, but particularly women.”

    Again, that emphasis on women’s plight from a movement that is supposedly about equality for all.

    “I sense that you are very hung up on the word, and maybe that’s from a place of feeling attacked as a man by “man hating ‘feminists’”? ”

    On the contrary. You confirmed my suspicions that “feminism” isn’t just a word used as a synonym for “gender equality”. Feminism is exactly what it sounds like . A movement whose primary focus is to “uplift women”. Everything else is secondary. You all keep saying that feminism is about equality for all, while at the same time reiterating that the main focus is on uplifting women. Uplifting them to what? Who are they being compared to? Men? The top 10% of men who own and run everything? What about the other 90% of men who don’t have access to this power? Both men and women suffer their own plights, only differently. Focusing on uplifting women spefically is based on the belief that the average man lives like a king.

    “And I think that’s a natural reaction when you don’t fully understand something.”

    I just love it when feminists say I don’t understand them. As if the only way I can disagree with their beliefs is if I don’t undertsand them. I guess it’s impossible to them that I can do both.

    “I think that the sooner we all acknowledge how we both benefit from and are oppressed by sexism, racism, capitalism etc, the sooner we will be able to work together towards real solutions.”

    I have no problem doing any of this. And that’s exactly why I’m not a feminist.

  • BarryMayor

    Feminism is for 12% of men and 24% of women. Those are the respective percentages of women and men who say yes when asked if they were feminists. 12% is not 0% but it’s definitely a very small minority.

  • Pingback: bell hooks’ “Feminist Theory: From Margin To Center”: Chapter 3. « Loftier Musings

  • Eternity

    The way to treat people equally is to treat them the same. Different treatment is always unequal treatment, regardless of whether that means treating one group as privileged, or treating the another group as under-privileged.

    Gender egalitarianism is about looking beyond a person’s gender. It’s genderless by necessity. Anything less contributes to an endless cycle of sexism.

Latest Stories

Columbus Short’s Wife Files for Divorce After Alleged Murder-Suicide Threat

by

33 Telltale Signs You’re Turning Into Your Mother

by

Reports: Rapper Christ Bearer Severs Penis, Attempts Suicide, But Survives

by

Girl, Bye! Are Some Terms of Endearment Off Limits to White Women?

by
Read previous post:
Black Evangelicals’ Sad Message to LGBT: Your Blues Ain’t Like Ours
The Signs of Depression
Close