I am all for equality. However, I no longer consider myself a feminist. I realize many people will find faults with those statements and some will “troll” me for their unknown gain. But, feminism has changed and not for the better. The reasons for me to make that decision are based on three general concerns: the rise of “man-hating,” lack of feminist voice or actions on “male issues” (and yes, men have issues, too), and the “female as victim” undertone to some feminist literature.
Please allow me to explain before I get all the hate mail. And I’m just a guy. Not an MRA, not saddled with “toxic masculinity,” I vote Democrat, and I voted for Her. I’m just a daddy to twin boys and a husband.
“One thing that has surprised me in all the literature I’ve read is that there is a growing number of people, yes male and female, who are taking offense to the vocal few of feminism giving it its bad name.” Jessica Crispin, author “Why I Am Not a Feminist.”
Feminism was all about equality in every way between the sexes, i.e., work, home, family, life. When it gained its audience in the sixties, its second wave, it was a brave concept. Women were talking and writing about ways they had been betrayed and discriminated against by society. Betty Friedan. Germaine Greer. Gloria Steinem. I was very young at the time, but I later grew to respect and admire them. Leaders. Heroes all.
The first wave evolved in the 1800’s from the abolitionist and temperance movements, and it reached its height in the early 20th century gaining women the right to vote with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
A depression and a second world war later, women confronted society with their issues in the second wave of Feminism.
The Third Wave arose in the 20th century with women pushing for an expansion of their conceived boundaries across all aspects of society, including politics, work, pay, lifestyle, etc.
It is in the Third Wave that some extreme feminists have also arisen. They have mobilized by the explosion in social media. Their viewpoint is that men, who have dominated and controlled them in their “patriarchy”, should not be allowed to voice an opinion other than pro-Feminist. In short, the phrase “man-hating feminist” took root. We can only hope that it is the vocal few who are getting all the headlines and not the silent majority of equality-minded feminists.
In her article on Huffington Post, Octavia Sheepshanks says, “I realized that man-hating feminism was all too real… If we isolate roughly half of the population from the movement, what can we hope to achieve… Feminism has a severe image problem…” Here is the complete article.
Just breaking, when William Shatner (yes, that one) commented that “feminists are great… but the term “toxic masculinity” is degrading… and borders on misandry.” He was barraged with insults on Twitter and in various publications such as Mary Sue. His rebuttal, “The original feminist movement was about equality. Somewhere along the line a few decided differently. They are the exceptions.”
So, do toxic masculinity and/or toxic feminism actually exist? I suppose it depends on who you ask. It seems everybody has a different answer. Well, if discrimination and abuse on women exists (and it does), does it exist for men, too? Of course. But, some feminists, including men, do not (or cannot?) recognize that feminism, if it is truly about equality, works both ways.
College campuses have become a battleground for feminists. Some colleges have even started programs to address toxic masculinity. Ironically, some of these programs have been instituted by the Women’s Centers at the colleges.
Yet, if the reverse happened with programs addressing toxic femininity by college men were to happen, the rebuttal from feminists would be just short of a nuclear explosion. Double standard? Reverse discrimination?
Are all men that bad? Do we all need to hang our heads in shame for the injustices done to women since the beginning of time? No. It is not all of us.
Some feminists proclaim very loudly about all the issues women face today, but somehow they also neglect all the choices that are available to women today. It is not my fault if a woman chooses to give up her job or career to stay home and make babies. Some feminists, however, are very vocal in their opposition to that choice. Maybe some feminists need to appreciate other women’s choices which are valid and healthy and different from their own.
In her article in The Elephant Journal, Francesca Biller offers a unique concept in perceiving men. She says, “Men by and large are no worse or better than women for the ware… Give men a fair shot, if only for your own sake and happiness.”
Perhaps, men are not the “boogeymen” some feminists proclaim they are. Are men responsible for all the issues and discriminations faced by women? Maybe the better question is: have not women been a willing participant in society at all? And are men really just barbaric oppressors looking to enslave and take advantage of women? Really? What about their daddy? Or brother? Or son? Or husband? Are they oppressors, too?
You rarely hear about men’s’ issues in the media. Women earn over 60% of all bachelor degrees awarded in the US. 93% of all workplace fatalities in the US are men. Men are 4x as likely to die from suicide as women. Men are more likely to be the perpetrators and victims of violent crimes and more likely to be incarcerated.
These stats are all over the internet, but not are not repeated in the mainstream media because they don’t sell as well.
In a recent tweet, a man said:
“I haven’t seen a woman treat a man voicing his problems with compassion in a very long time.”
“Perhaps mocking and berating men is not the way to show that the feminist revolution is about equality and that they have a stake in the new game. The message that feminism can help men, too — by placing equal value on their role as parents or by encouraging better mental health care and reducing male suicide.” Cathy Young, a journalist for Reason, Newsday, Time, etc.
Lastly, what we all do hear and read constantly are the percentage ways women are underprivileged or underrepresented or assaulted or are just underwhelmed in US society.
But, are all these percent’s true? No. Absolutely not. But, why do we continue to hear all of these stats which I’m sure you’re repeating in your head this very minute?
Because they present the female as a victim and thus in need of help or rescue. These repeated stats also sell, and everyone is afraid of the vocal feminists who would start the ugly process of shaming and name-calling until they changed their tune.
Even intuitively it doesn’t make sense that women make 77% of what men make. If that were true, no hiring manager in the world would hire a man when he could pay the woman less. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that women in aggregate earn less than 10% of men. Quite a big difference. Have you heard that before?
Feminists, politicians and the media repeat all of the statistics because it gets them attention or money or votes and no one wants to be labeled either a “woman-hater” or “anti-feminist” or misogynist. Labels like that would be hard to shake, and for someone in the public eye, it would mean that whatever gravy train they’re riding, would dry up.
The bottom line for me is that feminism is, to paraphrase a quote, not your mother’s feminism. The equality and inclusion which feminism advocates gets challenged, disputed and then refuted by some toxic feminists which ultimately disrupts my allegiance to their cause.
In a 2016 poll conducted by the Washington Post: 40% of women and 52% of men say that the feminist movement unfairly blames men for women’s challenges. 44% of women believe that it is women’s choices which are the bigger factor keeping them from achieving equality with men, and, 30% of women and 50% of men do not call themselves a feminist.
Emma Watson, if you’re reading this, let’s talk.
Photo: Getty Images