Men often feel alienated from conversations about feminism and that can only be counterproductive. Misandry (which is misogyny, reversed) is not helpful. I’m not saying it’s not sometimes justified and I’m definitely not saying that men shouldn’t be held responsible and accountable. But, while it seems a little cliché and Disney princess esc to say that fighting hate with hate is never going to work, it’s true.
If I’m out here saying ‘men are awful at emoting’ or ‘men have a tendency for aggressively staring at me on trains’, these are not necessarily personal attacks. I can understand that you are product of a system that has taught you that these behaviours are both accepted and expected. And if you are a man and you are awful at emoting, or you stare at women on trains, and these statements make you feel uncomfortable and defensive then the best thing I can suggest is for you to adjust your behaviour. Because the umbrella organisation of oppression that is the patriarchy may be an explanation for your behaviour, but it sure as hell isn’t an excuse.
Feminism (if it’s doing it’s job properly) should include all genders and all races. Feminism that only cares about issues facing white women isn’t feminism. Feminism that doesn’t care about men just isn’t feminism. I’m not making this shit up, grab a dictionary. Or, watch this speech by Emma Watson.
Feminism may appear to be prevalently concerned with female issues because, historically, we’ve had more leg work to do. And yes, one of our biggest goals is to get women onto an equal plane with men, be it socially, economically or politically.We’re operating in a patriarchy. The clue is in the name gang, it’s a male dominated society. And yes, men suffer under this system. But, again, it’s a male dominated (and designed) system. Women may reinforce parts of it i.e. expecting men to pay for everything, expecting men to be amazing in bed straight away, making fun of men when they can’t get it up. Like men, women are cogs in the machine. Women may help the machine run, but we didn’t build it.
I can’t sit here and claim that the Suffragettes were super into male mental health issues. But, I can sit here and say that I care about that. All feminists should care about that.
Men have a really difficult time because of the expectations placed on them by the patriarchy. Men are under so much pressure to be sexually active, men are under so much pressure to be successful. Men can’t talk about their feelings, so suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 35.
Feminism should be concerned with all the issues facing men today. But, and I can’t stress this enough, movements can be valuable even if they don’t benefit men. This one happens to, but it’s upsetting that many men see no point in feminism if it is perceived to be only concerned with the rights of women. And when I’m talking to you about something like sexual violence, please don’t go ‘well what about men?’ I have no interest in turning a conversation about feminism into a weird oppression competition. Women have a 1/3 chance of being raped in their lifetime and men suffer from heartbreaking mental health issues. These two things are not mutually exclusive nor should they be arranged on a hierarchy. And feminism should be dealing with all of it.