Katherine Klaus lists fifteen reasons men should be downright enthusiastic about the feminist movement.
As someone once said when they were misquoting Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. In my experience this is true, if by “build it” you mean “write anything about women on the Internet” and by “come” you mean “post sexist and regressive comments”. While my commenters are mostly respectful and awesome, the same cannot be said for certain of those at The Age or news.com.au, or indeed any site that has a wider readership than mine. While I’m no stranger to the internet and get that trolls will be trolls, I’m still genuinely puzzled by many of the average men who seem actually threatened by talk of feminism, apparently concluding that women, at best, are unfairly competing with them for jobs, or at worst, intend to usurp their place in society completely.
It seems to me that while we’re pretty good at letting women know about the benefits of feminism, a lot of these arguments are being lost on, or ignored by, some guys who seem to think our movement doesn’t affect them, or worse, is out to subjugate and disenfranchise them.
May I present, then, 15 upsides of feminism – for dudes. (And no, not one of them is ‘basic fairness’, although you can have that as a bonus #16 if you want.)
#1. Did you know that the minimum wage for men was originally set with reference to the fact that he was expected to support a wife and three children? That sounds like a lot of responsibility and stress. With equal pay resulting from feminism, your partner can support herself, and together you could have six children, or, more likely, buy a plasma screen!
#2. Hate opening doors for people, or standing awkwardly at the front of the lift while you wait for the women from the back (always so slow in their high heels) to exit? Feminism says you don’t have to because we’re all generally able to handle the strength of a door. I open doors when it’s convenient for others, and I’m grateful when others hold it open for me. With feminism, courtesy can be a thing for both/all sexes.
#3. With feminism, you earned that promotion by being the best person for the job, not because of societal oppression of others. Hello to a clear conscience! And getting the best people for the job is better for business, which is ultimately better for keeping you employed, or so the capitalists tell me.
#4. More women in the workplace means more of them to check out, while being treated as equals means the ladies may be checking you out too, instead of worrying that a lecherous boss is going to feel them up in the lift.
#5. Don’t want to work? Feminism says that your partner can be the breadwinner while you embrace your inner domestic god.
In the world at large
#6. Feminism doesn’t buy into the silly gender stereotyping of alcoholic drinks, so go ahead and buy that pink cocktail with an umbrella that you have always secretly wanted to try.
#7. Sick of men being normalised as nonstop horndogs (oh god, how dated does that sound) who will sleep with anything in a skirt? In an equal society, your sexuality has no bearing on your perceived “manliness”, whether you are gay, straight, bi, questioning, lacking libido or any combination of the above.
#8. Ever been denied entry to a bar because they “need” more women, even though you’re just trying to have a drink with your friends? When women aren’t used as a tool to sell more drinks, bouncers won’t be tools to you.
#9. As friend of the blog Jacky puts it, “The patriarchy is bad for EVERYONE – men, women and children. It robs women of their autonomy and humanity; devalues the lives and wellbeing of men; and places unnecessary stress on everyone in the process.” With feminism, it’s cool for you to be whoever you want to be, without having to try and perform your gender “correctly” 100% of the time. (That sound you can hear is a collective sigh of relief from every dude who doesn’t know how to change a tyre.)
In sex & relationships & everything in between
#10. Women who don’t believe in feminism can be so frustrating to date, amirite? While they may make the effort to look stunning on dates, they also have this idea that they need to be treated like princesses, which largely translates to “spend a lot of money on me and you might get laid”. Given, pre-marriage, these women often earn much the same as you, this might seem unfair. Feminists, on the other hand, will split the bill with you (or take turns paying) and will sleep with you when they god damn feels like it, not because you’ve approached some magical monetary figure. And this could very well be on the first date/a one night stand, because (sex-positive) feminists understand that sex isn’t shameful, or a transaction, or somehow devalues them.
#12. Do you find your girlfriend sexy as hell, but find your mates are dicks about it because she doesn’t look like (Google’s “sexiest woman on earth”) Miranda Kerr? Maybe she complains about her looks, too, and whines that no one could ever find her attractive. Not only does that make you seem like a terrible judge of partner, but it means you have to have sex with the lights off. With feminism, your mates and your girlfriend would be exposed to a more diverse range of shapes and colours and levels of hairiness and even, god forbid, personality traits that are portrayed as “attractive”, giving your woman lights-on confidence, and stopping your mates from trying to make you feel as if your attraction to non-Miranda Kerrs is abnormal.
#13. A feminist girlfriend will go buy beers for both of you at a soccer match (see above re: not needing to be treated like a princess) and you will be the envy of other soccer-goers. (This has actually happened.)
#14. She will also teach herself the offside rule while you get to concentrate on the game.
#15. Finally, even if you’re a more traditional guy who wants his wife to stay at home, and have dinner on the table when you get there, you can still have that. It’s just with feminism, you’ll be able to find a woman who actually wants to do it, instead of one who resentfully does so because she wasn’t allowed to be an astronaut.
So there you have it, a bunch of little reasons why feminism can make men’s lives more awesome. Sure, none of them are as groundbreaking as the movement can be for women, but I hope you will take away that feminism doesn’t hate you and won’t actually bring about the end of your sex life/career advancement/bro-ness as you know it. Turns out, when everyone gets treated like people, everyone wins.
RESULT: Come over to the dark side. Actually, we’re definitely the Jedi, but regardless, you should come over because this side has drinks and I’m buying.
This article originally ran at Can Be Bitter.