Feminism from the ‘other side’

I seem to have given the impression to a few people lately that I am a rabid man-hating feminist. This is unfortunate, as I rather like men. To balance out the scales a bit, I thought I’d acknowledge the fact that The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too, and put together a few links to various things. I certainly don’t want the men in my life to be restricted to stereotypical, hypermasculine, ‘real men don’t cry’ roles, any more than I want women to be permanently stuck barefoot and preggers in the kitchen.

To start us off, here is a video of a guy who seems to be a little bit confused (Warning: Language is definitely NSFW):

The Angry Atheist raises completely valid points and then misfires completely at the wrong target. As the aim of feminism is to achieve equality for men and women, the Angry Atheist is in fact a big dirty feminist (whether he wants to call himself that or not). He should be supporting feminism, rather than railing against it.

In case it’s not obvious from the definition (and apparently, for some people, it’s not), women laughing at real-world cases of male genital mutilation is not an example of feminism. It’s the opposite of feminism.

It’s also a little disingenuous (or perhaps just poorly-researched) to pretend that nobody is talking about How The Patriarchy Hurts Men. There are whole blogs about it out there on the interwebz. Noted feminists such as Greta Christina have written about it (see ‘How Sexism Hurts Men’ Part 1 and Part 2). It may be only a recently developed aspect of the feminist scene, but the angle is definitely there. Feminists don’t want to disempower men; on the contrary, we’d love it if more men would actively participate in the feminist movement. And not just for women’s sake – for their own, as well. There is no reason why anybody, man or woman or gender-nonspecified, should have to force themselves into a mould created by gender expectations.

I’ve always found the antagonistic concept of ‘feminism vs. the men’ to be very peculiar, personally. That might be because the figure who really prompted my plunge into feminism was a man. Every time I become a little depressed about male/female relations, I watch Joss Whedon’s speech at Equality Now, and it restores my hope. It inspires me as a feminist and as a writer.

(His speech begins around the 2-minute mark of this video, although Meryl Streep’s introduction is worth listening to for context.)

Every time I watch this video I want to stand on my chair and burst into applause. Now there is a man who understands what ‘feminism’ means.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kirjava
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 20:36:32

    Yeaahh!!

    Reply

  2. suswatibasu
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 00:21:45

    That’s really touching, actually going to write something on mothers as my next post! Good on you Meryl.

    Reply

  3. Nick
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 21:49:40

    Admit it, you actually do stand on your chair and applaud 😉

    Reply

  4. David Nelson
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 17:15:35

    I agree in general with your post, however I’d politely ask you to reconsider this phrase – it always irks me:

    “the aim of feminism is to achieve equality for men and women”

    A man will never be ‘equal’ to a woman, in the same way that a rainbow trout will never be ‘equal’ to an atlantic salmon. They’re different beasts. There are inherent differences between men and women, and for that matter amongst men and amongst women.

    A recognition of the differences that make the human world a wonderful and complex place is the way to equity (in the sense of fairness, justice). And it’s equity that’s our goal – not the shoehorning of all women and men into the same basket of ‘equality’.

    Reply

    • Jen
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 18:21:29

      To quote Madeleine L’engle in A Wrinkle In Time, “Like and equal are not the same thing at all. Like and equal are two very different things.” 😉

      If you’re talking about the supposed differences in the brain and psychology of males/females, I strongly recommend you read ‘Delusions of Gender’ by Cordelia Fine.

      Reply

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