I am a feminist. I’m very happy to be a feminist; and I regularly bang on to anyone who will listen (sometimes reluctantly) about gender equality – because that’s what feminism is – the fight for EQUALITY. Not, as so many assume, misandrist women attempting to get one up on men, to suppress them or overcome them – but to be equal with them, in terms of pay, rights, laws, attitudes, jobs, parenting – life.
HOWEVER – I’m really saddened to see and feel a big sway against men, from a seemingly increasing portion of the female population. I’m a member of a few women-only groups on social media, and all too often I will read threads in which the following phrases recur:
‘They’re all useless’
‘I’d have punched him in the face’
‘My husband took a lot of training’
‘What is it with guys these days?!’
‘Bloody men eh?!’
After someone’s partner forgot to do the food shop:
‘I’d make him go and get me takeaway’
I could go on…endlessly. Now reverse these comments and imagine a group of men making them about their female partners.
We would all be calling them out for misogyny, sexism, abuse. So why do we feel that it’s okay to be so derogatory about a whole gender? Why are we generalising, negatively stereotyping, and putting down men?! If you have sons, don’t you think about how it will affect them to grow up hearing your disdain for their gender?
If you have a partner who feels that you think he’s useless, aren’t you worried about the impact upon his self esteem?
I just DO. NOT. GET how we, as people who have suffered hatred, abuse, prejudice as women in a patriarchal society, are trying to turn the tables onto men in this way. We know damn well how horrible it is having to justify our existence – WHY are we trying to force the same for men?
I know the statistics on the gender pay gap, rape, domestic abuse. I know that life for the female of the species is still comparatively difficult. I know that there’s a long way still to go before equality is achieved. But I also know that oppressing the gender that has historically oppressed us is not the way to achieve it.
With equality, everyone wins. With superiority, everyone loses. There’s nothing to be gained from demonising a whole gender for the crimes of a historically patriarchal society. I know many male feminists; they rarely speak out about their feminism because they are often expected to justify themselves, dismissed as frauds, or accused of having ulterior motives.
I’m not saying men and women are the same – we are not. We think and behave differently – that’s just human nature. But equality does not mean we have to be the same – it just means fairness for all – an even playing field for everyone, regardless of gender.
The clearest way to fix this, is to think about the way you think and speak about the opposite sex. Would you be happy and comfortable hearing these words spoken about yourself? Your daughter? Your son, your friend, a parent?
If the answer is no – then reframe your words, reframe your thoughts, reframe your behaviour – treat others how you want to be treated – and let’s get equal.