1. Feminism is Targeting the Wrong Enemy: Men

Natalie Parkin

The fight for the rights of women is becoming more intense than ever before. Laws and politics push to keep women underpaid in the workforce, quiet after sexual assault and out of political office. In response, women push back passionately for the fight for fairness and a change in society’s feminine views. However, as this battle for women’s rights rages on, the wrong enemy has been targeted. Feminists are now targeting not legal injustice, not unfair stigmas, but men.

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. As many believe, females do, in fact, deserve equal rights as men in this world. However, each gender excels at specific things more than the other. Each sex has something unique and special of their own nature to bring to society. Those strengths make each gender equal in power, though different. In this fight for shared understanding between both genders, women have become blinded by anger by the actions of men regarding things like sexual assault, sexism and discrimination in society. As a result, the fault of inequality has been turned to the opposite sex when, in fact, not all men are at fault and deserve blame.

There are good men in this world who are on the side of the feminists for equal rights. Jackson Katz, an American Gender Educator, is one of many who stands for women’s rights and equality. He has said that “there are so many men who care deeply about these issues…with the strength, with the moral integrity to break [their] complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.” Whether the feminist fight is against violence, abuse, political opportunity or any other form of inequality, men are aware of the accusations thrown at them and are fighting to show women that not all men treat women poorly.

If a man makes the poor decision to disrespect a woman, that is that man’s decision and that man’s alone. His own actions do not represent all men. We, as a society, need to understand that. One man and others who choose to show lack of respect to women do not represent all men in our society. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Men, as a whole, are being discriminated against for crimes and injustices that many of them have not committed. Often society forgets the value good men have in our lives. Their determination in the work force, crucial worldly influence and high positions they currently hold make them credible in the community and strong allies in standing up for beliefs. Imagine if we, males and females, came together to fight inequality and injustice. Our voices would not go unheard. We are more powerful together than we could ever be apart.

Some may say, regarding strong feminist views, that we need to take into account how women were treated in the past. However, if we continually look back at the mistakes of others, bitterness will always remain. But even looking back, not all past events show men as the enemy of women. Events, like “The Feminine Mystique,” created a great feminist rival of the 1960’s. Betty Friedan, an American writer, activist and feminist, saw men during this time period, not as enemies but as victims burdened by social pressures. Even in our history, men were viewed as the target rather than the law. We cannot move forward to a bright and promising future if we remain in the past. Holding grudges about history is like picking a scab that is trying to heal. Anger, pain and hate will constantly remain and nothing will change. The past is there for us to learn from. The future is ours to change for the better.

If one sex continually tries to dominate the other, equality and understanding will never be reached. It will constantly be a war of superiority. However, a superior sex does not exist. Each is unique in their own way and has something to give to our society. Fighting against allies to get to the top is the bully’s way to success and the bully, in the end, never wins and is never praised. We cannot let the actions of a few men destroy the reputation of them all. The fight for equality is just that: equal. One cannot succeed without the other. Both must fight, side by side, against traditions of gender inequality if we are to gain a bright and promising future.

 

 

2. For The Last Time, Feminism Is Not About Hating Men

Ren Groesbeck

Saying that we need to be colorblind in the women’s rights discussion is not only irrelevant and over-simplified but invalidating to people of color when we say that we should forget centuries of systemic racism and how it manifests in today’s society. It is an in depth topic of discussion and the two issues are not analogous.

It is important to talk about feminism. We need to confront issues like rape culture, objectification of women and outdated gender roles by opening a dialogue.

Ask anyone who identifies as a feminist and chances are they will tell you that feminism is not about giving women a position of superiority over men. The extremists do not reflect the average feminist. Feminism is about creating a society of equality, one where nobody is limited by their gender, where women have equal opportunity for leadership roles and where men can openly express emotion.

It’s no secret that man-hating feminists are a common caricature in popular culture. There are numerous examples of women ‘acting out’ in the goal of turning the world upside down so that women rule and men obey. None of this reflects the reality of feminism and its goals.

People who believe that feminism views all men as pigs should stop reading fake news and sit down with a few feminists to discuss the issue.

Feminism does not solely concern women. It primarily concerns women, as women are the ones who generally see the biggest changes in their lives because of it. Many feminist issues involve men and not just as perpetrators. Feminism is not a battle between men and women, it is a battle between feminists and the patriarchy.

Many women must state their feminism or lack of feminism with “I don’t call myself a feminist because I don’t hate men,” or “I believe in equality, but feminism is too extreme.”

The accusations of misandry have been used to put down feminists and to shift attention to men, reinforcing a male-centered culture.

A portion does not equal the whole, even if that portion is loud.

Feminists have been accused and associated with “hating men” for more than 200 years. This isn’t news. Women were asking for their rights to own property, to be able to go to college and to vote. These extremely ‘radical’ ideas lead to women being labeled anti-family, anti-god and anti-men.

This labeling has continued today because the most powerful group can do whatever it needs to maintain that power by dismissing the equal rights campaigns as man-hating.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean we believe all men are terrible people. It doesn’t mean we believe men are automatically sexual abusers, murderers and overall evil people just by existing. Part of identifying as an intersectional feminist means that I actively try to avoid having any negative feelings toward any group of people who just happen to be born a certain way.

Sexism is the enemy. Sexism continues to be engaged and internalized. We are taught to behave and think a certain way because of it.

Some feminists aren’t willing to address men’s issues. The mixed feelings about addressing men’s issues tend to come from the fact that men and their issues are dominant in our world. We’re a male dominant society.

It’s true that a few individual feminists hate men. Misandry makes sense. Women should be allowed to never want to interact with any man again. This “not all men” argument needs to stop. If you try all the sexist issues on and it doesn’t fit, then put it back. But, chances are it fits.

Whether individual men choose to be ‘nice guys’ doesn’t really matter. The patriarchy is much larger than interpersonal relationships. Patriarchy means that men have privilege.

Men are allowed and taught to feel entitled to everything, even other people. It allows laws that restrict access to reproductive health and make decisions for other people without their input.

Any person is more likely to listen to men than to women.

Women can be toxic, too. Everyone can. But that doesn’t disvalue the overall truth that men benefit more from society.

letters@dailyutahchronicle.com

 

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