Opinion: Angry With Feminism? Allow Us To Redirect That
There is a significant proportion of men worldwide who seem to be furious with feminism, but still identify as progressive, empathic, intelligent human beings.
These men are not angry with feminism because they believe women should be helpless sponges who lie around all day applying mascara, although presumably there are a couple of half-kinked potato-brains out there who do think that. No, these men are angry with feminism… because men are victimised in society too. Men face gender-based discrimination. Men can be victims of sexual crime. None of this is feminism’s fault, but feminism’s transgression seems to be not addressing the problems of men alongside the problems of women. Of course, one could argue that by promoting gender equality, feminism is addressing the problems of men. It really depends on what you think masculinity is.
While the problems that men face in their day-to-day lives are valid and deserve to be discussed, the place to do so is not necessarily alongside, piggybacking on, or merely carpeting like a fainting Wookie the equally valid issues that feminist discussion tries to highlight. And sometimes, just sometimes, the gender-based discrimination that men encounter in their day-to-day lives is not as pervading as what their girlfriends, sisters and mothers go through. In some cases, it really is easier to be a man. Context is everything.
And in some cases, it is easier to be a woman. There does not have to be balanced victimhood in every scenario. Problems are not solved by duelling over who’s got the most to complain about. What all of this boils down to is this: in discussions about an issue which pertains to women, it is self-defeating for a man to wade in, flashing his battle scars and stating that his grievances have more of a right to the spotlight than anyone else’s.
Anyone who knows anything about feminism knows that it’s about gender equality, not supremacy. It is entirely probable that there are female supremists out there, but feminists would neither validate or welcome them, because that cray-cray shit-reel is not what feminism is about. Who wants to be an island? The joy in life is finding cool people to share it with. Feminists aren’t any different. They are not some frostbitten breed of twist that cannot derive personal worth from anything but the symbolic castration of men.
Why, then, are these men so angry with feminism? Let’s assume that they’re not just a swarm of wild-eyed misogynists who are simply pissed off that women are using a collective voice to disintegrate inequality, and are willing to stoop to the appropriation of genuine causes as masks to hide their hatred.
Feminists don’t acknowledge that men are victims too, they say.
If a feminist discussion turns to how certain men behave badly, whether by sexual privilege or simply everyday bigotry, that doesn’t mean that all men are the bad guys, and affronted blokes should ask themselves whether it’s more important to stand up for some loathsome stranger just because he’s also a bloke, or recognise bad behaviour for what it is. So when a feminist brings up the patriarchy and talks about changing it, that doesn’t mean she’s intending on killing off all the men, or moulding them into something more palatable to her frighteningly totalitarian tastes.
What she’s talking about is changing the system that heaps inequality on everyone; there is always someone cushioned and powerful who will benefit hugely from maintaining the traditional gender divide. People who want to keep men as deadened figureheads and women as baby machines. This is the patriarchy. The majority of men neither benefit from it or play a conscious part in it. It is not some sort of imagined bugaboo that women will slyly reference in their quest to trample masculinity.
And it is the reason so many men are unhappy.
It is what assumes men are all potential rapists, unable and unwilling to show sexual control because they’re just animals. If women are mistrustful of men they don’t know, it is because the patriarchy has taken great pains to teach them that men are to be feared.
The patriarchy is what assumes men cannot and should not have any say in how their children are raised, because productive little ants need not be distracted by their own offspring. When a man is unfairly looked on as a threat around children that aren’t his own, it is because historically, men were not allowed the luxury of paternal emotion.
It is what assumes men cannot indulge their feelings. When a man is ridiculed for being emotional, it is because the traditional norm made a hero out of the strong, silent type. So many boys are taught that it’s shameful to show emotion. So many men are seen as weak because they choose a career, an outlook, or a lifestyle outside of that macho standard. So many men are beaten with this ridiculous notion of masculine strength: that they must be confident always, in charge always, focused always, driven always.
The patriarchy is a system that fetishises power and control, because in telling men that power and control is their birthright, the status quo is upheld by the very people it’s shitting all over.
The patriarchy hurts everyone. It offers women a life lived on the backs of others and it offers men a big fucking fist wrapped around dead air.
So, men who are angry with feminists because they don’t think feminists realise men are victims too: feminists do. The problem is that it’s the very people claiming victimhood that can’t recognise how deep this shitpool goes. We’re all in it together, dudes, and ain’t neither side getting out by clambering all over the other.