I’ve largely stayed out of the whole pro-feminist/anti-feminist debate until now. It’s a subject that interests me, but I didn’t feel (and still don’t to some degree) that I had enough information about feminism, its goals and what it stood for.
However, I sincerely hope you go to those articles at some point and give them a read. Hessian has a very thought provoking blog that I think would be an asset to anyone’s reading list, whether you agree with the articles or not. I generally agree with them, but I find myself disagreeing with many of the posts that deal with feminist issues.
First off, let’s start with the definition of feminism:
From my perspective, the following list comprises the most pressing and talked about issues in the feminist movement at this time: sexual harassment, rape cases or lack thereof, and the teaching of consent as a long term solution for going after rape apologists and victim blaming as damage control. You may be saying “well sure, but that doesn’t cover men’s issues.” For one, men don’t have as many serious life affecting issues facing them as women do, which I will explain in due time.
Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims.
Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male.
Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.
Are you saying that popular culture (movies, TV, video games, cartoons, comics, websites etc) are not flooded by good looking men?
Are you saying that sex sells, no matter the gender or sex being portrayed?
In a perfect world, should men or women be valued more if they’re attractive to the opposite sex?
Of course not. But we’re sexual beings and we like to look at the opposite sex. Women do it just like men do. There are also jerks from either sex/gender. There are jerks everywhere, and I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public.
That is, 6-15% percent of men will have clear understanding and communication from their sex partner that they do not consent to having sex and will then have sex with that partner anyway. 6-15% and we are not even talking about cases of ambiguous consent. We are talking about clear cut cases of rape. That means millions of men think that it’s okay, or, at the very least, are not bothered enough to stop themselves.
I don’t think they think it’s okay. They probably know that raping someone is wrong. It’s one of the worst crimes you can do to someone, and just because it happens as frequently as it does, doesn’t mean they think it’s okay. It’s not like men sit around and talk about how OK it is to rape someone. Male rapists are one of the most hated people in our culture. They probably follow close behind child-rapists.
As I showed above, this isn’t a uniquely feminine issue and shouldn’t (in my opinion) be addressed as one. In fact, I think by addressing it from the perspective of just one sex, we’re doing an injustice to the subject because it dismisses or minimizes the impact that rape can have on male victims of rape. Why are we looking at this from just one side? Are male victims of rape and sexual assault less worthy of our attention?
And sure, there might be some group of man-hating feminists out there, but I don’t hear about them, and they certainly don’t make up the majority, or colour the dialogue I see within feminism.
I would seriously have to question your level of listening. I’m not even that well educated about feminism as a whole, yet I’ve clearly seen feminists say and do some pretty heinous things and they definitely do color the discussion. They color it so much that feminism – despite its worthy goal of equality – is facing considerable push-back.
Are nearly all male students at the University of Maryland “potential rapists”?
Women in a feminist art class here apparently believe so. About 10 of them plastered the campus with fliers last week listing the names of virtually every male student under the heading, “NOTICE: THESE MEN ARE POTENTIAL RAPISTS.”
That’s in the newspaper. I’m pretty sure that colors the discussion and gives feminism as a movement a bad name.
And if you don’t like all that I’ve said, and still have reservations, guess what: you can still be a feminist, and you should be a feminist. Come add your voice to the still open question of how equality should be implemented and how continuing oppression should be addressed. You may be surprised by what you learn, should you choose to listen. And please try not to be a jerk. Then you likely won’t get treated like one in return.
I think modern feminism is a movement that at its core is something to aspire to. I think historically, it has done a lot of good and should be applauded for that. I also think it’s currently rudderless. It doesn’t seem to have clear goals. People who identify as feminists can’t seem to make up their minds about what should be done.
For example, you have some feminists saying the patriarchy objectifies women and strip clubs and pornography personify this. On the other side, you have feminists who say women should be allowed to strip and take part in pornography if they choose.
Which is it?
I see a lot of articles, videos and blog posts about video games, but very few about women being forced to wear a bag in some countries; women not being allowed to drive or join the priesthood; women who are told they’re literally worth half of a man; female circumcision or how some females have acid thrown in their face.
I also see a lack of viable solutions by modern feminism. I see a lot of people talking about the patriarchy or how women get paid less etc, but no solutions. If these issues are so problematic, then what are the solutions? That’s what I’m interested in.
And I personally think the very term ‘feminism’ should get thrown out. Why not use a term that is sex/gender neutral, such as:
- gender egalitarian
- equal rights movement
- humanism (although the argument is usually that humanism already covers something else)
I don’t think tackling an issue from one side is helpful at this point. I think feminism has to change as a movement and I don’t want to associate myself with the modern feminist movement, although I’m all for equal rights for both men and women.
As a closing note, I’d like to leave you with this video, where the hosts of a show named The Talk sat around on National television and made fun of a man who had his penis cut off and thrown in the garbage disposal, because he had the audacity to file for divorce.
If they had been talking about a female who had her clitoris or breasts cut off, I don’t think the hosts or the crowd would have found it so funny. I also don’t think Sharon would have said something as despicable as ‘I think it’s fabulous’.
I find genital mutilation reprehensible – no matter the sex or gender of the person being mutilated.