By: Jenna Zuraiki, Features Editor, The Pawprint
Feminism is a range of social and political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the economic, social, political equality of men and women. Feminism is demonstrated all around the world and is represented by numerous establishments committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights. The history of feminism can be distributed into three waves. The first wave was in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the second wave was in the 1960s and 1970s, and the third wave extended from the 1990s to our current present. Feminism has altered major perspectives in a wide variety of areas within our society, alternating from cultures to laws. Feminist activists have worked and fought for women’s legal rights, women’s right to bodily integrity and independence, for abortion privileges, and for reproductive rights, protection of women from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape etc.
There are many people in our society that still believe that we don’t need feminism to this day, but that is far from the truth. Women have struggled for equality against oppression for such a long amount of time, it’s been centuries. Even though feminist activists have won a few battles such as the right to vote and access to education, women are still being affected by all forms of violence and misogyny. It is true that in some areas our society has improved, for example, in Saudi Arabia women were allowed to vote and run for office in 2015, letting women have freedom, allowing a woman to work etc. However, there are still other issues that haven’t really progressed for example, women continue to receive lower pay for the same work as men all around the world, there are still countries that don’t have laws against marital rape and still allow child marriages etc.
As I mentioned before, there are still people in our society that are against feminism, and that majority is men. The relationship between men and feminism has always been very complex from the beginning to the present. There have been positive and negative reactions towards the movements, and that usually depends on the man and the social context of the time. Some men are for feminism and will do anything to support women’s rights whereas some men believe that women shouldn’t have the rights that they have gained now, making them anti-feminist and making them very misogynistic. Another reason why men are so against feminism is because there is a stereotype where feminists want to be superior to men and men that believe that tend to call all feminist ‘feminazis’, which means radical feminism however that’s not the case. As women gain a larger base in our modern society, some groups of men like to bring up rather immature and childish arguments such as “can I push a woman?”, “equal rights, equal fights”, “what if they gain more rights than me?” etc. This just forestalls the reformist battle for equality, as feminism attempts to put men and women on a totally equal battleground, allowing both genders to be equal. A man, or a woman, shouldn’t be pushed or harmed by anybody in any way. Men won’t lose rights if women gain more, that’s simply not how it works; it will basically permit them to work with the opposite gender. With a greater number of men finding an expanding confidence in women’s rights, one should think that it’s simple to discard these arguments and join women and men in a rise for equality on both sides.
But what is so unfortunate is that most men don’t realize that we live in a world where both genders are far from equal. Additionally, feminism is not only a movement towards women’s rights but for men’s rights as well because although men have a lot of rights compared to women, they still face a form of oppression in our modern society. There are many cases where men face some form of oppression, for example in many divorce cases the children are seen to be in better hands with the mother then the father, but that isn’t always the case, or in our society men usually have to be the breadwinner and support a family but that also isn’t always the case, another issue is that in our society says that men aren’t allowed to show emotion and this shows the incidence of completed suicide is much higher among men than woman among all age groups in most of the world, another is the beauty standards for men on the media are as harm for them as it is for women etc. Overall, the term toxic masculinity is a big issue when it comes to men. Toxic masculinity includes social pressing factors for men to carry on with a particular goal in mind. Furthermore, it’s likely this influences all young men and men in some fashion. Toxic masculinity refers to the notion that many people’s idea of “manliness” spreads domination, homophobia, and aggression.
The activities of pro-feminist men’s groups contain anti-violence work with boys and young men in schools, contributing sexual harassment workshops in workplaces, running communal education movements, and counseling male committers of violence. Pro-feminist men also are involved in men’s mental health (due to the high suicide rate for men), men’s studies, and the expansion of gender equity programs in schools. This work is occasionally in collaboration with feminists and women’s services, such as domestic violence and rape crisis centers.
In conclusion we see that men shouldn’t be against feminism, because not only do women fight for women’s rights but they fight for men’s rights as well. It helps both genders in such different ways and if more people in our modern society are for feminism it will allow our society to improve and develop even more than it already has, like with equal pay for women, or talking more about men’s mental health issues and allowing men to be more open with their emotions, or the body standards the media holds against men and women etc.