Everyone should be a feminist

The word “feminism,” obviously derives from “female,” but feminist thought and the feminist movement are not restricted to women. Men can be feminists.

In the same way that white people can fight for equal rights for minorities and people of color and humans can fight to end makeup testing on rabbits, being a part of the oppressed group is not a prerequisite for supporting the group’s rights.

Culturally, women have less power than men. It took women longer to get the right to vote, to own property, to drive, to have bank accounts in their own names, to be allowed full-time positions — the list goes on.  

Feminism was born to lead the charge in creating equality and equity for women in these areas.

This doesn’t mean, however, that feminists hate men or hold grudges against them. If feminism only allowed for women to participate, the movement would be stagnant.

The support of men allows the patriarchy to be pushed back faster.  When an oppressed group has those possessing privilege on its side, it shakes the norm of separating the two.

Feminists want to overthrow the patriarchy, not the entire male population. They understand what it’s like to be judged based on sex or gender alone and concede that progress will not be made by being hypocrites and turning the tables.

Men should be feminists.  

The basic argument is that supporting women’s issues and equality is the ethical thing to do. Beyond this, feminism is beneficial to everyone.  

It allows men to be released from the expectations of the gender binary system.  Feminism supports men being allowed to show emotion, to be stay-at-home parents, to have interests in “feminine” activities.  

When women break the norm, by doing things like wearing what’s considered men’s clothing (think ties and suit jackets in the 1920s; pantsuits in the 1970s), it opens doors for men to be allowed to wear what is considered women’s clothing (consider the rising popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race).  

When women can speak out against domestic violence and sexual assault, it provides a platform for men to do the same. Feminism allows for the similarities between genders to be seen, because apart from a chromosomal and few chemical differences, women and men are very similar.

We’ve grown in closer contact and appreciation of each other over the centuries.  If we’re not that different from each other, we can overlap in our personality traits and interests and not have it be seen as a collapse of society; rather, it’s precisely the opposite.  

Men’s issues are a vital part of feminism, because when we tear down walls for one sex, we light the way for the other to have more freedom, acceptance, and rights.  

By declaring yourself a feminist, regardless of sex, you’re showing support for equality between the sexes.

You’re making a promise to help all of us break the barriers that restrict our quality of life, whether that means getting paid the same amount for the same kind of work, or participating in the activities that have for too long separated us.  

Being a feminist is not dependent on one’s amount of estrogen.  It is dependent only on the wish to improve society and equality, and surely men have no argument against that.


Photo taken from Flickr.

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