What Men Don’t Get about Feminism

It’s not just men that don’t understand feminism, it’s women as well. As an ideology, feminism should be open to interpretation and misunderstanding. An intangible construct, feminism is a philosophy that welcomes debate. But what people have misunderstood about feminism for decades, is that it’s an anti-male declaration. That’s what people get wrong. It’s not an anti-male philosophy, it’s a pro-women one.

I won’t speak for all feminists, but I will speak about what feminism means for me.

Feminism, at its core, is a belief that women should determine the life they want to live with no interference from anyone else. Once another person, a male in particular, tries to impede or obstruct a women’s right to make choices about the life she sees fit, then she should be empowered and supported to remain on her determined life course.

That’s it.

Of course, there are subtopics in feminism, such as body image, self-esteem, and the most significant, access to appropriate health care, but the umbrella for my form of feminism is the unwavering belief that women should decide for themselves what life they want to live. So, if they choose to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, then so be it. It’s only my job to empower her in that choice if she wants my empowerment.

And if a woman wants to run a Fortune 500, or be President, that’s cool too.

I think that the feminist impression is skewed because of the media and patriarchy (which of course controls the media…) The caricature of the stereotypical feminist is a women who does not shave, freebleeds, and is unattractive. Thus, she takes her frustrations out on society for her physical shortcomings. Pretty women reject feminism because they’re pretty, while the ugly trolls embrace it because they have nothing else to cling to.

For awhile, I thought this fictional belief in feminism was dead. With the growing rise in feminists and our intelligent declaration in the public sphere, I thought the world was finally beginning to understand that women deserve certain considerations in the socio-political arena. But no. On Gawker (go figure), I read an infuriating exchange, where a man proudly proclaimed that feminism is a point of solace for ugly female trolls.

Stupid FB comment 1Stupid FB Comment 2Stupid FB Comment 3Stupid FB Comment 4

The dialogue was a response to an article about Lena Dunham on SNL. I’ll admit, I don’t follow Lena Dunham, and I didn’t watch her segments, and I’ve never seen Girls, but that has little to do with her beliefs in feminism or her subjective lack of attractiveness. Instead, she angers me because I believe she fuels gentrification and first-world bratty entitlement. But that’s a different story.

But to stay on point, the notion that feminism is a platform for the subjectively unattractive to voice their concerns is ludicrous. When domestic violence is alive, well, and underreported … when women are victims of sexual assault and rape, then put on trial to defend themselves against predators … when women and girls are trafficked into sexual slavery … when government tries to control our health choices, our anger is not a product of our “unattractive” physical attributes.

In 2014, we’re a more educated society, with more access and resources for information sharing and productive ideation. To constantly regurgitate flawed prejudicial ideas that hold no semblance of intellect or critical thought have no place in the globalized society that we all, men and women alike, are building.

Feminism is not a support group for us supposedly troll-looking females. It’s an execution in leveling the playing field for victims of rape culture and patriarchy. For getting justice for female victims who have been oppressed, subjugated, and marginalized into the throes of an uneven society. Feminism is not an attack on men, it’s a way to ensure the safety of women.

Man up, bro.

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8 responses to “What Men Don’t Get about Feminism

  1. Pingback: Mellie Grant and Feminist Expression | Black Millennial Musings·

  2. I feel that this explains feminism perfectly. Typically, people expect feminist to be bra burning trolls that are angry with the world. In reality, I feel anyone who wants to see equity for women is a feminist.

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  3. Actually they’re not misunderstanding feminism in the slightest. They’re seeing what you are unable to see as perhaps you’re too close to the problem to see it accurately or maybe you just can’t bear to face an unpleasant truth. But you’re not going to convince anyone worth convincing by simply pointing to the dictionary definition of feminism then folding your arms smugly like you just proved something. The problem is that there is an enormous gulf between the THEORY of what feminism is allegedly about (the dictionary definition) and the PRACTICE of what feminism really is and does in reality.

    It is quite easy to demonstrate what I mean. You see, when your movement claims that it is simply fighting for equality with men, not special privileges above and beyond what men have, no silly, just equality, then your movement needs to explain why it still exists in the western world now that women have had all the same rights as men for quite some time now in addition to some female-specific special privileges on top of that which no man will ever have. Point me towards even ONE law in the U.S. for example which discriminates against women in favor of men. I hear crickets chirping. When you have already achieved all the same rights as men yet you still keep on playing the victim card to try to milk further gender-specific concessions out of society, guess what? You’re making it pretty damned obvious to anyone with more than 2 brain cells to rub together that equality isn’t nearly good enough for you, that you’re a female supremacist movement unconvincingly dressed up as one that’s “fighting for equality”. (For crying out loud, even the movement’s very NAME gives away its purpose. If it was fighting for equality it would be called egalitarianism or humanitarianism or something quite a bit less narrowly gender-specific.)

    If feminism TRULY was about fighting for equality rather than being a one-sided gynocentric superiority movement then ask yourselves why it constantly pooh-poohs any problems or injustices that aren’t 100% exclusively about women. Ask yourself why it makes no effort at all to redress any of the imbalances that favor women over men.

    For example, where is the feminist activity on the issue of women being sentenced to 60% less prison time for the same crimes as a man? Why isn’t feminism demanding that women be held to the same standard of adult responsibility as a man who committed the same crime? Why is your movement content with such an egregious disparity in sentencing? Oh yeah, because it is a disparity that favors women over men, whereas if the situation was reversed with men getting let off with 60% less prison time than a female you bet your ass it would be a feminist priority.

    Where is feminism’s activism about the issue of women getting awarded custody in about 90% of child custody cases? To the extent that the woman would have to just about be a practicing prostitute or a heroin addict in order for the man to be given custody. Funny but this doesn’t seem to make it onto feminists’ radar either, I wonder why…

    Why has feminism remained silent about the huge discrepancy in funding for male homeless shelters versus female homeless shelters? When the overwhelming majority of homeless people are men rather than women, why on earth should men’s shelters get short shrift compared to female shelters? This clearly isn’t a problem for your imaginary “patriarchial” government which routinely ignores men’s issues in favor of women’s issues so why isn’t feminism, the movement you never tire of telling us is not gynocentric but all-inclusive, fighting for equality not female supremacy, doing a damned thing to bring this to society’s attention? You can bet any amount of money if the situation was reversed with the homeless population being mostly female it would be a crisis of Biblical proportions, worthy of the government declaring a “war on homelessness” to solve it. Why is the feminist movement just as disinterested in this matter as the government?

    Why is feminism content with men still having to pay alimony in 2014? Aren’t you the same ladies who constantly tell us how women are just as good as men, just as capable and just as independent? Then why the hell should a man have the responsibility of paying for the upkeep and lifestyle of his former spouse on an indefinite basis? Why did this issue only make it onto feminists’ radar (in Florida) when the infinitesimally small amount of women paying alimony to THEIR former spouses inched up a tiny bit while still remaining a mouse fart compared to men’s alimony payments? Where is feminism’s indignation that these supposedly liberated, independent women are entitled to being supported by a man that isn’t even living with them any longer? Why don’t you see this as an enormous insult and indignation? Oh yeah, because I suppose the convenience of getting a monthly check in the mail assuages your little feelings of shame and dependency, right? So long as it works in women’s favor instead of men’s it’s perfectly OK with the feminist movement.

    Where is feminism’s concern with the issue of men committing suicide at rates astronomically higher than women? You know if the numbers were reversed there would be a colossal shitstorm until we got the numbers of women killing themselves back down to acceptable levels but yet with the numbers being what they are this, unsurprisingly, isn’t an issue feminists will lift a finger to work on.

    And I have yet to hear a single feminist push for women having to register for the draft. Why does a man have to register at age 18 or else he isn’t entitled to any of the benefits of society, can’t vote, can’t collect Social Security when he’s old etc. yet no woman has to register for the draft in order to enjoy any of that? Why are feminists content to let women avoid adult responsibilities that men can never avoid? Oh yeah, because it isn’t a movement about equality at all but rather female supremacy, the same reason why the KKK never pushes for anything aside from matters that affect white people. As despicable as they are at least they’re honest enough to not pretend to be fighting for racial equality.

    Or what about the biggest double standard on the face of the earth? By this I mean the elective abortion/mandatory child support issue. Let’s say a woman gets pregnant accidentally, neither her nor her partner intended for it to happen. If the man wants to be a daddy to that unexpected kid but the woman doesn’t want any parts of it she’s going to go to the abortion clinic and get that unborn human dismembered and sucked out of her uterus without having broken a single law in the process. That man will now be the proud daddy to a bloody little pile of severed arms and legs. But if the situation is reversed and the woman wants to keep the baby but the dad doesn’t want any parts of being a daddy? Tough tittie, he’s on the hook for 18 years of child support payments for a kid he will never see. The law simply doesn’t allow him to act like an irresponsible piece of shit at least not without facing the penalty of jail time for his irresponsibility. The law holds that man to his responsibility, forces him to act like a grown adult and take responsibility for his actions. Whereas the law makes no effort whatsoever to force the woman to act like an adult and take responsibility for HER actions, no, instead it lets her dance away from the consequences of her actions without a care in the world. When the man’s irresponsibility results in the woman not getting a monthly check in the mail and that’s illegal yet the woman’s irresponsibility results in the death of another human being (the unborn human) and yet THAT is LEGAL?? Are you effing kidding me?? This has to be the most horrific double standard the world has ever seen, yet I guarantee you that if anyone was to start pushing for ending mandatory child support payments or tying the continuance of legal abortion to the ending of mandatory child support it would be the feminitwits who would be leading the charge to make sure things remain as one-sided as they are now. When the woman is allowed to act like a magical sparkly princess with no more responsibility than a child even though her irresponsibility and immaturity results in a human being’s death and the man isn’t even allowed to skip out on child support payments for a kid he never sees, clearly this abortion/child support situation can be called nothing less than overt female supremacy. Not equality between the sexes. Not egalitarianism. Overt, in-your-face female supremacy and nothing less. Funny but I haven’t heard of a single feminist anywhere pushing for an end to elective abortion. Feminism seems perfectly content to let this terrible double standard remain in place and any comment made about ending elective abortion is immediately met with a lecture about how it would somehow be “oppressing women” to hold them to the same standard of responsibility a man is held to, how it would be “chaining them to the stove” or ensuring they are “barefoot and pregnant” or whatever other feminist propaganda bullshit they can come up with. Because this is one of the many double standards that feminists embrace, those which favor women over men. Another reason why few people aside from feminists themselves take feminists seriously.

    So you want to “prove” your movement really is about equality and not female supremacy and special gender-specific privileges? Great, come out against elective abortion. Demand that it be abolished, demand that women are held to the same standard of responsibility that a man is held to, demand that women receive no preferential treatment in the court system etc. etc. Basically it comes down to a realization that not everything in life is a right or a privilege, that there are some things in adult life that are called “responsibilities”. If feminism wasn’t all about milking society for more benefits, more gender-specific set-asides, more quotas, more gynocentric advantages and actually grew the hell up enough to see that there are such things as RESPONSIBILITIES as well then maybe more people would take feminism seriously. As it stands right now only about 23% of American women identify as feminists meaning no less than 77% of women wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole the movement that is supposed to be designed around their interests. That is a spectacular failure so amazing words can’t describe it. Perhaps women are getting tired of being constantly told they’re weak, helpless little victims who can’t do anything for themselves without a movement behind them to keep them pointed in the right direction and protected from this cruel world. I suspect your average woman is quite a bit stronger than that and doesn’t appreciate being talked down to. But whatever it is, your movement is dying and I say good riddance. Let it be replaced with something that doesn’t try to drive an unnecessary wedge between working class men and working class women. Let it be replaced with something far more mature, grown up, sensible and realistic. In other words let it be replaced with something that is GENUINELY about equal rights for the sexes.

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    • Hey Henry
      You wrote a long response, and I’m a little late.
      The author wrote that, feminism is a philosophy open and welcoming of debate, so it’s ideals are not fixed or final.
      In response to your statement of elective abortions: Perhaps an elective abortion would not be such a bad idea, or more accurately the communication between the two parties about what they want from the situation if one was pregnant and hopefully open communication from both sides throughout the relationship(I digress). However, we must accept that free will remains in any situation. But a woman’s body is her own, always and forever no matter what is taking place to and through that body it is her human right to what she wants to do with that body. If men were the ones who got pregnant than the same standard should hold.

      Its fine to tackle the double standards, like women with lesser sentences for the same crime, that debate is a good one and should be had. Or challenging gender roles, and gender expectations, all of this should be challenged, and in no way is this contradictory to feminism
      We cannot however escape our history, women have been systematically oppressed in this country and this world, they have not been held to the same standards as men, and they have not been given the same rights or opportunities and obviously if there are rigid and ridiculous rules and exceptions for one gender, than the other gender IS also oppressed in some form (hyper-masculinity as the expectation, homophobia, and in some ways the lessening of men’s lives in general).
      However, not all oppression is written into tangible law, but is instead pervasive, and sexism still exists in this form as does racism. The two are quite similar really. Respect of all persons involved and self/societal reflection is crucial to the feminist movement. We must question our motives, the images we are fed by the media, by our families and our own selves and our culture. That is all feminism asks for IMHO.
      For example, society perpetuates that men and women feel differently, that they don’t want the same things from life, that they are made for distinct and different purposes, but we as modern people, must challenge these beliefs. And we find that we are all not so different. Love and Respect to you Henry.

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