Most people think feminism is just for women, but it’s for everyone! By raising each other up from oppression, we all benefit in the end.
1. Ending Gender Roles (and that whole “Be a Man” talk)
Most of the time, we hear that feminism will end the expectation that women should be housewives, or look a certain way, etc. but we do not hear the same for guys.
Guys are expected to be “macho men” with thick skin and no emotions. “Be a man!”, right? Why not just let guys be whoever they want to be? There are a lot of guys who don’t want to be macho, hate hiding their emotions, and do not want to be emotionally distant. Despite these feelings, many men are pressured to suppress the parts of themselves that work against the expectations of society.
Going against the norm of what men are “supposed” to be often brings shame and humiliation to men.
Gender roles are the behavioral expectations created by society based on what is believed to be an individual’s sex or gender presentation. Males are taught to be the tougher and more stoic gender, while females are expected to be the emotional caregivers. However, these gender roles are very narrow and prevent people from being who they truly are. Many feel as though they are forced to fit a box of who they are meant to be and feel guilt, humiliation, or confusion if they don’t fit that image. People have so many different facets to who they are, why would we want to confine ourselves? Even if you are traditionally more “masculine,” why not let other guys be themselves? There is nothing wrong with crying once in a while, so don’t be afraid to show it!
Why don’t we let people be whoever they want to be, yeah? A guy who wants to practice ballet? Cry his heart out watching Titanic? Awesome. “Be a man”? How about be whoever you want? Stopping the expectations and letting people exist without judgment sounds pretty sweet to me.
2. Think of Your Mothers & Sisters
Some guys don’t think feminism affects them, but it most certainly affects people that are important to them, such as mothers, sisters, and aunts. They are all affected by the misogyny, abuse, and inequalities women face every day. All women who experience inequality are someone’s daughter, mother, or sister.
I am sure there are people you care about who are women. How can an issue that affects so many people you care for and love not affect you? (Hint: It does)
Thinking about the females in one’s life can help introduce one into feminism, but in the end, one’s interest in feminism should simply revolve around caring for one’s fellow human being.
While it may be easy to dismiss issues like rape or sexual assault because they do not seem to be “applicable” to guys (although men are directly affected by these issues as well), it does deeply affect the lives of so many people close to men.
Whether you are a man or a woman, you have been affected by sexism and gender expectations. We need to recognize that inequality allows people you care about to be abused, and that is not okay.
3. And Their Fellow Man?
Feminist issues don’t only directly affect women, as men are victims of the patriarchal system as well.
It is a fact that men are the number one abusers of other men; therefore, Men and women are both victims of the oppression and abuse of men, irretrievably connecting men to feminism.
This abuse happens all over the world, but is rarely spoken about. Although less prevalent than abuse against women, it is not an issue to be ignored.
Men are victims of rape, violence, and assault. We all need to take a stand against abuse.
Because of the patriarchal system and the expectations of what it means to be masculine, it is very difficult for men to seek help or admit they have been abused. There is also a large stigma with this type of abuse: the idea that it only happens to women and to be a victim of the same crimes makes a man “weak” or “feminine.” In today’s society, it is shamed and seen as embarrassing for a man to have any characteristics that are considered stereotypically feminine. For these reasons, it can be very difficult to construct a real dialogue for men to speak up about their experiences with abuse.
By stopping the oppression, we help the oppressed, which can include men.
4. Raising the Standard of Humanity
Today, for many of us, it is difficult to find humanity in a world with such blatant oppression. This humanity can best be fostered by seeing one another as equals, as feminism advocates.
By creating a world in which we are all equal and free of judgement, we can all benefit. Stopping violence and abuse in itself would create a much more humane world. Creating tolerance for all types of people, without the standards of gender roles, will foster a much more loving world where people feel free to be themselves and fulfill all the aspects of their own humanity.
I always thought it was strange how men and women are denied different aspects of the human experience. Why can men get away with being sexually promiscuous and women are labeled “sluts”? Why are women “allowed” to pamper themselves and men aren’t? All I am saying is that you guys are missing out, facials are amazing!
If we form a world of compassion by ending the violence that characterizes our society, we all benefit from a more peaceful world. If neither women nor men had rigid, defined roles, all people would be able to embrace their individuality.
Feminism allows for much greater freedoms, tolerance, and peace amongst all people. Not just women, but humankind in general.
Men and feminism are intertwined, and there is definitely a place for men in the feminist movement. It does, in fact, help men more than one would think.
Woman or man, we can all gain from feminism.