Madeline Morkin ’22
Feminism is not strictly for women. However, misconstrued idealities have long suggested that feminism exists solely for the benefit of women. In reality, the feminist movement advocates for equality among all genders and the inclusion of every individual.
While the patriarchal system has wrongly gendered women to be soft, domestic, and male-dependent, this system has also unfairly assumed the roles of men, limiting what men can do, feel, and be. The patriarchy harshly devalues women’s abilities and identities in this male-dominant society. It also restricts men from assuming roles, behaviors, and identities which deviate from these narrow-minded assumptions of what it should look like to be a man. While the system may seemingly lift male-identified persons into more powerful statuses, it also wrongly forces them into generalized identities.
The feminist movement focuses on striving to develop a society in which no individual is limited based on gender. Despite this, men may find it difficult to displace themselves from the patriarchy because it seems to routinely benefit them. This is not fully the case.
Men do benefit the most from the patriarchy, and many of them happen to be passive in their acceptance to dominance. Being passive is no excuse and it does not erase men’s oppression of women whether they mean to do this or not. If men can embrace the feminist movement’s true purpose, they could feel liberated, empowered, and more freely individual in their existence as well.
By being passive to the patriarchy and avoiding better treatment of women, men are negligently degrading themselves to the statistics—of sexual assault and violence against women, of male demoralization towards women in the workplace, and of numerically quantifying men into groups which oppress the female gender.
Men being negligent and thinking they are not a part of the problem is truly a part of the female struggle itself. It is not enough to consider yourself apart from these negative statistics, because men cannot simply distinguish themselves from the patriarchal experience without passively supporting male domination. The feminist movement is for everyone, regardless of gender, and it seeks to liberate every person. Think about the mothers, sisters, and women who have strongly influenced your own existence, and consider the benefits that come with standing together in unruled individuality and equality.
Do not be “man” enough to fear being a male feminist.