I am a feminist, unabashedly, unequivocally a feminist. I have been so from a very early age, just about after the time I stopped believing in ‘cooties.’ It is thus requisite to preface this argument with the fact that though I seek to put forth ideas, which hopefully will help show men why they should be feminist, I firmly believe in helping others simply for the sake of helping others. No reward, no pleasure, just simply goodness for the sake of goodness. Thus, even if the arguments I seek to put forth fall short (for why men aren’t and yet should be feminist), I would still have other reasons and causes for supporting feminism (and so should you but that’s the job of another book/article). Nonetheless, here is why you, who berate, belittle, and ridicule feminism should yourself be that which you disparage.
The political pundits who have sought to toxify the word “feminist” have also accomplished another very tragic feat; extinguishing the fact that everyone wins when feminist ideals are pursued and achieved. The truth is many men attack feminism for one simple reason; fear. Fear of change, fear of difference, but most importantly fear of loss. Economic loss. Men have been taught to fear (due to a hyper competitive ‘Free Market’ Economy) that women succeeding in their feminist agenda will lead to less jobs, less success, and less capital for them. What they fail to realize is what the feminist agenda truly stands for. Men as a whole are just as disadvantaged and oppressed as women are under the patriarchal regime, just in a very very different way. There is no doubt that there are systemic, institutional barriers to a women’s success in the workplace, that a man has a very tangible advantage over women in the workplace (if you don’t agree with me please read this article, or this one and that’s not to mention the even more pressing global issues women face in developing nations, I’m approaching this from a different angle and don’t seek to use these words to prove to you things that are objectively true). However, in our current society, men’s humanity is grossly undervalued; a man is only valued in so much as how much money he earns, what car he drives, how big his house is, and even how many women he beds. A man’s life is grossly framed as one great competition, a vapid contest of acquiring more than his male counterparts. Feminism, in recognizing the equality of human’s, seeks to end this pointless and empty contest for men. You see, the goal of feminism is to see in every person their intrinsic value, and in doing so not to realize our equality in some abstract term, but to realize that we are all emotional, feeling beings, who deserve and need so much more than the vacuous promises of materialism. In freeing a women to pursue her dreams, we so too free man to pursue his dream. And yet men fall blindly into the trap, they continue to pursue material success (often at the expense of their emotional self and a balanced self) and fail to realize that the rules to the game they’re playing are rigged. First and foremost (and the biggest grievance) THINGS and treating women as sexual conquests DOES NOT equate to happiness. ‘Winning’ the game doesn’t even give you what we all want; happiness or more appropriately joy. Secondly, the patriarchal system is ruled by a select few set of men, a select few men (and very very few women) hold the majority of money and power in our society, and while you climb the ladder of material success and use that ladder to define your value as a person, you are doomed to be dissatisfied, depressed and anxious; because someone will ALWAYS have more than you, and so long as you define your value as a person by how much you earn, you will fail to truly love or understand yourself for who you are.
The reality is that currently men face higher rates of suicide, homelessness and depression. This is a result of our inability to recognize men as the emotional, sensitive HUMAN beings that they are. Currently, a woman can more easily live her life solely as a homemaker in a satisfying manner (when I say more easily, I mean psychologically and emotionally more easily NOT financially). If a man lives the same life, he is often subject to ridicule, often derided as ‘soft’ whether consciously or subconsciously, this takes an emotional toll on him. How many men are told to “suck it up” or worst of all “man up.” How many men are taught to only channel anger and rage, and to suppress all emotions, lest they be seen as ‘weak’ or ‘uncompetitive.’ When did compassion, love and empathy become a weakness for men? I know I personally view my love and empathy as my greatest strength.
Feminism is about breaking down gender roles, smashing ridiculous societal ‘norms’ that only make living life limited, that are only placed to keep the current order of things in place, and those currently in power, in power. When we achieve the feminist ideals, men and women alike will equally be able to be either homemakers or ‘breadwinners.’ Men and women alike will be valued as emotional, caring and loving people. Men will not be defined by their salary and women will not be defined by their appearance. When we break down those gender roles, everyone wins, as we move towards a more loving, compassionate and equal society. Because what are gender roles, but grossly dissatisfying stereotypes, that play out as a miserable self-fulfilling prophecy for both sides?
Feminism explicitly seeks to dismantle barriers for women to equality, and it implicitly seeks to dismantle barriers for men to carry out antiquated gender roles that only result in anxiety, depression, and ultimately emptiness. Many men aren’t feminists because they fail to see the vast benefits to them and all humanity it provides. Because the current system, the one with arbitrary and foolish gender rules, is limiting to you as a person, is limiting to you as a human, and it fails to recognize the uniqueness and incredible existence that is you. It is ultimately dissatisfying, and as such we as humans tend to lash out when dissatisfied. Tragically we lash out at the wrong things. Men undergoing economic struggles, unable to express themselves emotionally, lash out against feminism. They wear a “Make America Great Again” cap and shout “Trump that bitch!” They laugh at feminism, speak in insulting and derogatory ways towards women, people of different ethnicities, and people of different beliefs. I hope if you’ve done this before, and you’re reading this now, that you can see how much more you’re worth. That you can come to see your true value as a person. And that in doing so, you can see the true value of all people around you.