Welcome back to my new series, A Guy’s Guide to Feminism!
I hope that last post wasn’t too snarky for you.
Don’t worry — this one is much less sarcastic.
Now that you’re a bit more aware of the reality of being a woman, you might see why feminism is a thing.
Women just want to be treated like human beings.
But feminism isn’t just about women, and it hasn’t been for a while now.
Yes, feminism started out completely about giving women a voice — namely, allowing them the right to vote. And that right is really important.
Now, it’s even more than that.
Feminism is about breaking gender roles. It’s about allowing people the freedom to be who they want to be and still be treated well, no matter their gender.
You may have come across this comic strip during your online adventures. It points out that sexism hurts men too — because a man who isn’t masculine is apparently a failure of a man, and being masculine means not being weak, because of course being weak means being… girly.
You experience the negativity of gender roles no matter what your gender is.
So yes — feminism helps men, too.
Wait — what are gender roles?
According to Planned Parenthood, gender roles are the way people act in order to express their gender, — and these vary across cultures, because different cultures have different expectations for how each gender should behave, dress, and look. We learn them from an early age through our families, religions, and general cultures by continuing behaviours that are rewarded and stopping behaviours that receive punishment.
Kids are aware of their gender from as young as three, and know which toys are “appropriate” for their gender by this time.
So… it’s no wonder that it’s hard to break out of these gender roles. We learn them from such an early age!
Okay, but what do gender roles have to do with men?
Well, according to society’s expectations (and Everyday Feminism), men should:
- be physically strong
- be aggressive
- be competitive
- swear a lot
- avoid their feelings in favour of “taking it”
- have sex with as many women as possible
- be able to support their family on their own
- enjoy watching and participating in violence
- enjoy watching and participating in sports
- leave “menial” tasks like cooking and cleaning to women
- not participate in anything “feminine” — including things like dancing, baking, and sewing
… just to name a few.
Now, some people might argue that some of those things listed above are silly and small, and that they don’t really matter.
But these are unrealistic expectations.
Not every single man fits this criteria, as it were, of being of man.
I bet that you disagree with some, if not all, of the expectations of being a man. Right?
And the list does go on, the same as it does for women.
So gender roles hurt all genders — not just women.
Want to learn more about feminism and what you can do to help? Download my mini ebook:
How Feminism Helps Men
All right. Gender roles don’t only hurt women.
Feminism is very much about women fighting for their rights, but society as a whole oppresses women, and despite equal “rights” in the eyes of the law.
But feminism is not only about women.
It’s about men and women — all genders — being equal. It’s about doing away with gender as a form of discrimination.
In fact, feminism has already done a lot for men.
Like what, you ask?
Here are a few examples of how feminism helps men.
1. Feminism changed the definition of rape to include men.
In 2012, FBI Director Robert Mueller approved the change to the law that includes men in the legal definition of rape as a result of the Rape is Rape campaign from the Feminist Majority Foundation.
This was two years ago.
It is insane to me that this recently, men were somehow legally not able to be raped.
But it’s because of the social expectation that men always want sex. Which is entirely unfair and untrue.
Feminism is helping to fight that.
2. Feminism has fought for the right of all genders to serve in the military.
Historically, it’s always been unfair that men were the only ones who could be drafted, and that there were much fewer roles in the military for women than men.
Just because you are born a man doesn’t mean you should have to give up your life. You have zero control over what gender you are.
Thanks to feminism, things have been moving in the right direction.
Last December, the Pentagon officially stated that women will be able to serve in front-line ground combat positions based on their abilities and not their gender.
With over 200,000 positions now open to people who meet the qualifications, regardless of gender, men are being relieved some of the weight on their shoulders.
Feminists have helped women fight for equality in the military, which benefits men as well as women.
Over time, we can only hope that the unfair gender expectation that men should want to fight and are expected to fight will slowly diminish.
My bet is feminism will continue to help diminish it.
UPDATE: On June 14, 2016, the American Senate voted to require women to register for the draft!
3. Feminism has helped men gain the right for paternity leave.
Society is still battling this one, telling men that they aren’t “man enough” if they want to stay at home with their child.
But one step at a time, here.
Today, many more women are returning to work after having kids, and male partners are helping out more and more — because they have to, if not because they want to.
In fact, men are spending much more time at home with their children these days than they did in the 50s and 60s.
By fighting for women’s rights to work more and be paid more, feminism is also helping those men who want to stay at home.
And this goes for couples that aren’t heterosexual as well, because these benefits help all men.
And feminists will be the ones who try to improve it.
Interested in other ways feminism helps men? Check out this article or download my mini ebook:
Yes, Feminism Helps Men, Too
I know in reading the above examples, some of you may think they’re just coincidences — like while women fight for their rights they just happen to also benefit men. They’re not doing it on purpose. They’re still all about helping women.
Well, feminism isn’t just coincidentally benefiting men. Those feminists who fought to include men in the legal definition of rape were pointing out that men can be victims of sexual violence as well — not just women.
But let me ask you this: what is wrong with men benefitting while women fight for their rights in the first place?
Why can’t feminism happen to benefit men as well?
Does it have to be all about men for it to be helpful to them?
Does it even have to be about men at all for it to be beneficial to society as a whole?
I mean, the whole goal was equality from the beginning. How can we reach gender equality if we can’t acknowledge that women haven’t achieved it?
Besides, men do benefit from it — all genders do.
My friend, if you’re a guy, feminism is your fight too.
Because you deserve to be however the hell you want to be, and not be treated as any less of a man.
Because your worth shouldn’t be defined by how many women you have slept with, or much weight you can lift.
You are worth something because are a goddamn person.
Feminism is about equality among all genders.
Feminism helps men too.
And that means that you can be a feminist if you are a guy.