6 Reasons Feminism is for Men Too: Part 2

Please see my introduction to this topic and reasons 1 through 3 here.

4. Because Fathers Do Not Get the Same Parenting Support as Mothers

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Raising children is hard, and how it looks is changing. Many fathers are finding a renewed joy in parenthood, and mothers are finding their help invaluable while pursuing professional careers of their own in many cases.

Why does the society and government in America not recognize this? Because parenting is a woman’s job, it seems. By limiting women to “appropriate” work in the home, we inadvertently limit men to “appropriate” work outside of the home.

We do not have paternity leave. We do not have the same family allowances or ministries available for single dads as we do for single moms (I mean, WIC stands for “Women, Infants & Children”). We make men feel guilty or less-than for not being the provider or “breadwinner” in their household.

There is also this inexplicable stigma that a single dad is somehow “more tragic” than a single mom, because women are “supposed to” raise children. How dare she abandon a helpless man and expect him to know how to raise a kid? News flash: Dads aren’t stupid! They can feed, clothe, and change diapers, too.

Maybe when a woman can be a CEO without anyone batting an eyelash, the same can happen when a man is a stay-at-home dad.

5. Because Men Cannot Admit to Liking What They Like

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I know this seems like a minor issue, but it still makes me sad.

Some (definitely not all) feminists will present their position on the female plight by talking about how the oppressive gender divide begins in childhood. While boys get to wear a whole rainbow of colors, girls are relegated to pink and purple if they want to seem “girly.” While girls are provided with dolls and doll houses, boys have a wide array of action toys marketed directly to them.

By feeling like little boys are privileged to be able to wear colors like red and black and play with action figures, we ignore the fact that some boys do not want to.

What about the boys that love pink and want to play with dolls, but are told that those things are “for girls?” They are just as oppressed as any girl who wants to play with matchbox cars. And what’s worse, they often grow up into men who are still afraid to admit their true likes and dislikes.

What about men who love to sew? Who actually enjoy shopping for clothes? Who enjoy babysitting? Who watch Pretty Little Liars? Who love figure skating but can’t stand hockey?

Of course girls shouldn’t stand out or be teased because they like sports or video games. I think these are beginning to be viewed as more normal. Hopefully a guy who is good at crochet will be equally normal soon.

6. Because Society Believes Men Cannot be Sexually & Physically Abused

This one is huge for me.

First I will start with the stupid of the stupid–the age-old phrase “Never hit a girl.” Never ever hit a girl. They’re weak and dainty and never deserve to be hit or hurt.

Really? Boys, never hit a girl. But girls, if a boy bothers you, kick him in the balls.

This is literally giving a get-out-of-jail free card to anyone, mail or female, who wants to hit a guy! I’m sure this is idea is a big part of why male victims of domestic violence are on the rise. Mentalities like this say it is okay to hurt them if they “deserve” it!

How about never hit ANYONE except in self-defense? And then if they pull a knife on you, I don’t care if they’re male, female, neither, or both–punch them in the freaking face.

The following issue is a little more serious.

There are a lot of arguments flying around that one of the biggest reasons feminism needs to transform society is that women are taught “don’t get raped” instead of men being taught “don’t rape.” Obviously this is a problem that transcends just sexism, but think about the ridiculous ways we portray the victim in a sexual assault case.

Woman Is Molested: Well, sure. Women are easy to overpower, and they often dress in a way that makes it hard for men to control themselves.

Man Is Molested: What? Men can’t get raped. They’re too strong to be coerced, and they always want sex.

The trauma that female victims of rape have to endure is an atrocity. How much worse is it for male victims who have experienced the same abuse and then a) have people try to convince them it was actually consensual. (“You’re a guy. Don’t you like sex?”) or b) are ridiculed or looked down on as weak.

This is not a an issue that women invite by being the “weaker sex.” Men can be hurt, too. We need to make it okay for them to seek help.

 

Thank you for exploring some of the reasons why improving the rights of women will open the doors to improved treatment of all human beings oppressed by gender stereotypes. We love men!

I can’t recommend enough Joss Whedon’s thoughts on why “feminism” isn’t a good word, but I still tend to use it because I know a lot of people disagree with him. Maybe I’ll transform my vocabulary someday soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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.