6 Reasons Feminism is for Men Too: Part 1

As a Christian woman that runs in mostly conservative circles, I get flack from all sides when I say that I am a feminist. It comes from men and women alike.

I know it’s a complex issue, but I think the biggest reason why some of the closest friends and family in my life have a problem with the feminist movement is because they interpret it like this:

“Women all over the world think that they have gotten cut a raw deal and they want more rights.” WRONG

I fear that many think I see myself as a victim or I have an axe to grind because of my gender and its perceived oppression.

I wish they would interpret my stance on the feminist movement like this:

“People of every gender all over the world think that gender stereotypes are harmful and need to be broken down.” RIGHT

“Feminism” is a misleading word (see Joss Whedon‘s amazing thoughts on that,) but what we are fighting for as feminists with nothing else to call ourselves for the time being is equality and freedom for all of us.

Don’t buy it? Well, here are 6 of my favorite reasons why feminism is for men, too.

1. Because Sexual Expectations for Men Are Unhealthy

“If a key opens many locks, it is a master key. But if a lock opens to many keys, it’s just a bad lock.

This is obviously an analogy for the ridiculous double standard for men and women when it comes to sex. What many don’t realize is that this common social ideal is just as damaging in its depiction of men as it is of women. Sure women are considered sluts if they sleep around and prudes if they don’t, but men are valued based on their sexual prowess.

Here are some of the ways masculinity is judged daily based on sexuality:

  • Number of sexual conquests
  • “Skill level” in bed
  • Perceived hotness of women they have “made it” with
  • The size of their genitals (Really? What are we–animals? Why is this a thing?)
  • How often they “need” sex
  • Number of girls’ virginity they have taken (Admittedly not as common)

The fact is, the undeniable objectification and sexual misuse of women in media and culture as a whole has led to a severe pressure for men to objectify and sexually misuse women, whether they want to or not!

This is wrong. No man should ever be made to feel inferior in the slightest just because he won’t talk about the new girl’s ass while standing around the water cooler.

2. Because Men’s Platonic Relationships with Women Are Suffering

 

Picture1

Some people may disagree with me on this, but I think sexism keeps men and women from having meaningful relationships. Sure many men are wonderful to their significant others and spouses. There are definitely still gentlemen out there who have deep, meaningful relationships with the women they love romantically. But does that always translate to women they love platonically?

Can a man love a woman platonically and talk about it, feel at ease about it, benefit from it, etc. without being accused of ulterior motives?

How are men and women supposed to experience genuine fellowship and companionship when there is so much tension around their interactions? Why can’t I hug my pastor whom I love dearly without a pang of guilt?

I’m saying this as a woman who has been sexually harassed by a man I liked and admired. There is no excuse for such behavior, but I am just as sorry for him as I am for myself. He missed out on the real me by subtly reducing me to a sexual fantasy.

A) Men need to stop objectifying and abusing women in their lives so that they can experience the joy of just being friends with them.

B) Women need to stop assuming that men in their lives are looking to take advantage of them so that they can experience the joy of just being friends with them.

3. Because Women Hold Untapped Potential That Men Would Benefit From

Kartika on hijab II by viegreeny

Bill Gates was invited to speak in Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s. In the question-and-answer portion of the engagement, a member of the audience asked if Saudi Arabia becoming one of the Top 10 technological powers in the world by 2010 was a realistic goal.

Gates looked to the small group of women in hijabs segregated to one side of the room and replied simply, “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.”

Obviously women are not oppressed in Western culture nearly as much as they are in Saudi Arabia, but the key to this tragedy lies in the two words “fully utilizing.”

Because of the glass ceiling phenomenon, the wage gap between men and women, and everyday acts of sexism in the workplace, many women are not making the impact in the workforce that they could. Especially in (but certainly not limited to) fields such as engineering and technology, women feel just enough pushback because of their gender to make the career climb not worth the effort in many cases.

Yes, this sucks for them, but it sucks for everyone who doesn’t get to reap the benefits of these women’s talents they might have offered the world.

 

Keep an eye out for Part 2 including reasons 4 through 6 for why I think feminism is for men, too.

 

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How to Incorporate Women into the Superhero Shuffle

Hi all! I’m so embarrassed, but during my week-long blog absence, things went a little haywire on Nine to Phive. Posts that I had scheduled promising to finish them at a later date published while completely unfinished–and in one case, completely blank.

So yeah, sorry about that. Josh quit his job this week in a career-changing move, and though he has another more satisfying position lined up, the change had been stressful.

Translation: I’ve forgotten literally everything about doing my life.

Anyway, I’m back! Not only that, I’m actually guest posting over at Ink and Image today, the blog of an old friend with lots of compelling and creative ideas. The gentleman interviewed me about the status of female characters in superhero films. I was flattered that he thought I knew enough about women, superheros, or film to solicit my opinions ;-). His questions were very thorough and led to a fascinating (albeit long, I’ll admit) critique of sexism in superhero film.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

“Is including a female member in every major team of heroes a good sign, or should more be done?

I suppose it’s better than nothing, but it feels patronizing in its current state. It reminds me of the character of Token Black from South Park. I don’t think I’m grabbing at straws when I suggest that his presence in the cast is not an honor but an insult–albeit a clever one with a lot of social commentary. I feel the same way about “Tokena McHotchick” on every superhero team, except she does not exist to be ironic and to make a comment on the state of gender relations in the modern world. She often exists just to “appease the feminists” and provide male viewers with a little diversion. She is not a commentary on sexism–she is a sexist creation.

If you’re not going to write her a good character, don’t write her in at all. The fact that she’s female is not enough.

Read the full piece here.

Immortalizing vs. Inhabiting: 2014 Blog Re-Vamp

writing

Hi all! Welcome back to my little web world.

So I’ve decided that I’m done apologizing for blogging absences. Nobody follows Nine to Phive closely enough that they are devastated or even put out when I go a little while without posting–okay, nobody except maybe my mom and second cousin. Anyway, I’m back! Rejoice with me!

I hinted awhile back that I was thinking of quitting blogging altogether, the reason being that I didn’t like what it had turned me into. I had slowly become more interested in “living life” in hopes of getting a good blog post out of it than just for the sake of living. Sounds scary, I know, but I think many media-makers, especially journalists and other social storytellers, struggle with this same feeling. There’s an ongoing tension between experiencing one’s life and “capturing” it. Weddings are a prime example. We’re all too busy immortalizing the moment via photos and videos to actually inhabit that moment with our minds, bodies, and emotions. I did not like these qualities in myself.

However, I’ve realized since taking a break from the blog that it turned me into something else as well–a writer.

Well, at least it was trying to. The creative discipline required to make constant contributions to a literary publication curated only by oneself is both invigorating and challenging. It is a very healthy way to get into the habit of simply putting aside time to write. Of course, I didn’t always put aside time to write. That’s why towards the start of my most recent hiatus I was posting a lot of photos, videos, podcasts, links to other sites, and Awkward & Awesome Thursdays. So many Awkward & Awesome Thursdays . . .

I want to tell you about two of my many resolutions in this 22nd year of my life (this last Wednesday was my birthday. I accept your congratulations gleefully!) The first is to be more present. I’ve been working on this since taking a break from blogging in the fall and getting a demanding full-time job around the same time. Both of these things have helped me realize how precious my time is and how I don’t want to miss out. The second is to write more quality content. I want to write well, and I want to write often. I no longer care about views, comments, followers and the other mires in which today’s social storytellers can get entrapped.

I care about making good art.

I’ve realized that I need to keep a blog for me. Not to delight the populace of the interwebs. Not even for my family and friends to keep tabs on my life. I need to do it because I am a writer, and doggoneit, writers write! (Shoutout to fellow storyteller Rachel Henderson for reminding me of this, even if you didn’t realize it.)

What This Means:

You can definitely expect some changes from the Nine to Phive norm.

  • Less posts about me and Josh (and our cats), but seriously, it’s hard to be a writer and completely ignore what’s going on in your own life. We’ll still be around.
  • Not quite so many photos. Josh and I still love photography, but I’m thinking that maybe Nine to Phive is no longer the place for that particular passion. Maybe I’ll start a Tumblr!
  • More words. Sorry in advance to your brain, it just has to be this way 😉
  • Diverse content. Some of the same old, but a whole lot of new. Film, gender identity, food, social justice, comics, travel, experimental performance art, folk culture, mental health, fashion, pop culture controversies, commentary on the works of other storytellers . . . heck, I might even take requests!

I’d like to end this post with a challenge to my fellow bloggers. I know many of you who read N2P regularly are already doing this, as you are among the people who have helped inspire me to make this change, but to the rest of you–

Ask yourself why you keep a blog. If the answer reveals something about you that you don’t like, change it. Commit to saying something that people need to hear.

God bless you, your new year, and all of your creative pursuits! Thanks for reading.

Drowning

I feel like I’m drowning.

I know I’m a drama queen, but I don’t see any point in lying about how I feel on Nine to Phive. Especially when hardly anyone reads this blog since I’ve gotten so lax about updating it. No one will be fooled, if you know what I mean.

A Muse performance at ELEV8 conference this year. I thought it was sufficiently depressing.

Maybe it’s because I now have an IC flareup for two weeks out of the month. Every month.

Maybe it’s because I’m scared to death that I won’t be able to keep a full-time job, let alone a job in the highly impractical field that I love.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had to take a 19-credit load this semester just to graduate on time (barely). Oh, and those extra credits? They cost me $800 of over-enrollment fees.

Maybe it’s because two of Muse’s biggest performances of the semester are over and I don’t feel relieved. No less busy. No less stressed. No less out of breath.

Maybe it’s because, after two and a half years of marriage, I feel like I should have worked out so many of the selfish struggles that my newlywed friends seem to have no problem with after just a few months.

Maybe it’s because I feel guilty turning to my family for support when they’re struggling just as much as me right now.

Maybe it’s because I love God, love my church, and love my brothers and sisters in Christ, but can’t find the time or energy to invest in my personal spiritual life.

Maybe it’s because I want more than anything to write freely–stories, poetry, journals, grocery lists, bucket lists, this blog–and I can’t even find time to do my required writing for class.

Maybe this is my life now.

Struggling.
Fighting.
Keeping my head above water. 

 Drowning.

I thought graduating this spring would feel like a weight being lifted, but as I approach commencement with all of this and more baggage (some of which won’t disappear the moment I walk across that stage), I feel as though it’s just a doorway into different and heavier weights pressing down on me.

Pressing down on my lungs . . . 
On my heart . . . 
On my spirit . . . 
I’m broken . . .

Drowning . . .

Oh, and a drama queen. There’s that, too.

American Beauty’s Paper Bag Scene (Re-Blog)

It’s been a while since I’ve roamed around the blogosphere visiting the sites of the brilliant people I tend to think of as internet “friends.” 
Today I popped in on my friend Optimistic Existentialist at his blog, Musings of an Unapologetic Dreamer, where he had recently posted about one of his favorite movie scenes of all time. Say, film is on of my favorite things of all time regardless of which movie it is!
I checked it out, and while I have never seen American Beauty, I had to admit that the scene in question at least sounded like one of the most powerful statements about film that I could imagine . . . told through the medium of film. Doesn’t that make it that much more powerful?
Here’s what Optimistic Existentialist says about the onscreen moment.
I recently had a conversation with a friend in which our favorite all-time movie scenes were brought up. When my friend asked me about my all-time favorite movie scene, the answer came easily – the floating plastic bag scene in American Beauty.

American Beauty is by far my all-time favorite movie; and this scene is a perfect example of why. To set the scene up, Ricky (a troubled but fascinatingly deep individual) wants to show Jane (The girl he is falling in love with) the most beautiful thing he’s ever filmed. 

One random autumn day, he saw a plastic bag floating in the wind and began filming. He describes it as follows:


Re-Blog: How to Take Your Relationship to New Extremes

I’m acutely aware of just how lame it is of me to continue reposting blog entries by other writers here on Nine to Phive, but something about the past few weeks has led to me feeling almost overwhelmed by how capable other people are of perfectly articulating thoughts I claim as my own. 
While I am somewhat stunned by what little original content I have to offer, I am delighted by two facts:
1) I am not alone. Out there is a community of men and women who share my beliefs, interests, passions, and questions. I’ve never felt such a sense of fellowship unity, and the fulfilling peace that is being understood by the world around you. Feels good, man 🙂
2) I can learn to be humble. I don’t need to be the first, only, or best person to express a specific thought. You have no idea how much more likeable I find myself as a person knowing that I have the capability to give credit where credit is doing, honoring the ingenuity of other people out here in the blogosphere.
That being said, I now have no problem linking over to my good friend Carrie Starr over at at Cheap Love.
Her family is in Australia right now, so her life is much more interesting at the moment than mine! She has put together a neat little article about the exact same truths that Josh and I experienced about the effect of studying abroad on our relationship.
So here she is!
  
Travel works as a magnifying glass on your relationships.
 
The good becomes great.
The tough becomes terrible.
In many ways, this is exactly why you should travel.
The extended time together makes for incredible memories and defining moments. You’ll experience unique moments together you never would have otherwise.
For our 19th anniversary yesterday, Erv and I went for a run through the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney Australia where we saw the famous Three Sisters.
In the afternoon, we toured the Sydney Olympic Park where we saw the cauldron burning- which only happens every four years during the summer Olympics.
Next we played in Victoria Park with our kids and meandered through beautiful University of Sydney.
In the evening, we went out to dinner at the fantastic Café Otto with our good friends Russell and Sarah, who now live in Sydney.
It was an amazing anniversary we’ll never forget.
There are other parts of the day I don’t want to remember . . .

Get Discovered on Nine to Phive!

Would you like to see an ad for your blog, product, or service featured on Nine to Phive.net?

So would I! The blogging and art communities are very important to me. If your blog or small business is related to art, fashion, faith, travel, etc., here are two ways that you can sponsor Nine to Phive:

Design an ad with one of the following sets of dimensions and send it to ninetophive@yahoo.com:

(250×150) or 2”x3.5”
(145×145) or 2”x2”
OR

Just send me a photo in the correct dimensions, and I will gladly create an ad for you.

We can discuss pricing options, or we can just arrange a swap! You feature my ad on your blog and I will feature yours as long as you do.

Email me if you are interested!