I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a long time and I keep putting it off and for some reason half-awake on a Sunday afternoon seemed like a good time.
I’m deficient. I have no qualms with admitting that. I’m just as broken and confused as anyone else. And it is with this open heart that I start this conversation.
I know there are many schools of Feminist thought. However, when broken down to its most basic parts, as far as I can tell, Feminism is the idea that women and men should be treated equally. Right? I mean, if I’m wrong tell me. But I think that’s it.
When phrased as such, and I have done this as a small less than scientific experiment, nobody opposes Feminism. I live in a very red state and even the most conservative, southern-fried, good-ol-boy ain’t sayin’ that women should be treated as inferior. Now *cough* they may say that men and women have different roles, but that’s a separate topic.
Anyway, my point is if Feminism is merely the belief that women and men should be treated the same and most people find this to be basic and assumed. Why is there even a term for this belief? Shouldn’t this just be something implicit in our society? For instance, there’s not a word for someone who believes that both running and cycling are viable exercises. You may have people argue which one burns the most calories or for what purpose each serves; but, you’d never hear someone stand up and say, “HEY! I firmly believe that running and cycling both count as exercise! I am a Cyclinist” If anyone said that people would think they’re absurd. People wouldn’t really even understand what that person was getting at. Yet, despite most people believing that men and women are equal, when a person stands up and says that they’re a Feminist it is understood.
Well, I think it’s because even though we theoretically treat women and men equally… Practically? We don’t. Feminism is a word because the world we live in doesn’t practice what it preaches.
However, since most people would SAY they’re feminists why is this so hard to change? I really can’t figure it out. It seems like all we need to do is simply act on our beliefs.
And where does this leave the modern American male? Equal means equal, being a feminist is just as much for women as it is for men. I want to live in a world where you’re not surprised when your doctor is a woman nor when your nanny is a dude. See? It works both ways. I know from experience most people have some kind of reaction to seeing a woman in a stereotypically male role. BUT people also have visceral reactions ranging from amusement to disgust when a man is in a stereotypically female role. Think of most movies in which a man is taking care of children; no, not protecting/saving children, merely caring for them. That man is the subject of ridicule in some way shape or form. Whether it’s “Haha, look at him struggle” or “Haha, look at how much of a wuss he is” the whole idea is that he’s either less of a man for it or TOO manly for it. I.E. – he has to do some kind of “manly” task by the end of the movie to make up for his caring compassionate dare I say… feminine side.
My point isn’t to say that men have it just as bad. My point is that men need to be part of the conversation as well. That’s why I understand why people would rather use the word “humanist” over feminist because the feminist argument, as I understand it, isn’t saying that females are inherently better. It’s just that men and women are both humans and that suggests that the exact same rights should apply to all. (Naturally, we need to also consider transgendered people’s part in this convo as well)
But as a man, I’m part of the privileged side of the argument. So, I am still trying to figure out how my voice should be added to the conversation. But I have decided that it should be. I’m not even sure if men should even be allowed to call themselves Feminists! (Before you think the answer is obvious, know that I have heard compelling arguments for both) But I do want to call out to men and ask them to let their voices be heard because despite terminology we need to be part of the convo because we ARE part of the convo. And, I ask women to help and encourage thoughtful dudes to speak up.
Oh and… just in case this needs to be said. Dudes, be a part of the conversation WITHOUT trying to dominate it. In other words, men do need to realize that despite some struggles they aren’t the marginalized ones here, so when you speak up: Ask questions, Don’t justify, Shut up when you need to and be willing to learn. I know I’m still learning. I still don’t exactly know how to add to the conversation effectively and tactfully, but that comes with time. With that said, I’ll leave you all with Ryan.