Getting in touch with your feminist side: why men should get involved

Feminism is a very prevalent movement in today’s society. Feminism is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. Women fought for a long time to earn their right to vote until it finally became a reality in 1920. The movements continued from there as women fought for otherrights. But one cannot be mistaken; feminism is not only for women. Men can be feminists, too.

Feminists have one major goal that encompasses all of the things that they do for the benefit of their movement: destroy the patriarchy. Men, if you are reading this then you need to realize that women are not the only gender oppressed by the patriarchy—men are too. Not many men realize that they are being affected by the patriarchy, but it is the patriarchy itself that manifested the ideas that men are stupid, monolithic, have animalistic instincts, are narrow-minded and can’t stop themselves from harassing and assaulting others.

The sad truth is that too many men are buying in to this idea of “manliness” that the patriarchy tells them they should be. That could very well be what leads to the rampant sexual assault problems that are occurring on college campuses across the country, including ours here on the Hill. We have men sitting in the required sexual misconduct courses laughing because they think that the topics being discussed are funny.

When I attended the Club Fair this fall, I passed by the Feminist Alliance table three or four times before finally mustering up the courage to sign up for the club. I found it to be important for me to sign up because, like the rest of the members of the club, I was tired of the patriarchy defining what I am, who I am, and what I can become. It is important for men to be involved with feminism on any level. To begin to understand why gender equality is important is to recognize the privileges that you have as a male.

My reasoning for joining the Feminist Alliance is different from most. I originally joined because of my background and my lack of belief in gender roles. I had grown up with very open-minded parents who did not force the ideas of the patriarchy upon me.

Upon joining the club, I noticed the lack of men that are publicly involved with the feminist movement. Perhaps, it is because they are afraid or because they think that feminism is only for women. Men can play an important role in the feminist movement and they would make a huge impact if they were to speak out. The more men who decide to “break the mold” and decide to be a part of feminism, more men will follow. Feminism is not about making women superior to men, it is about creating a world where people of both genders are treated equally.

During the Civil Rights Movement, there was a belief that there was only room for men to lead in the fight for racial equality. If it were not for women like Ericka Huggins and Angela Davis then the movement may not have been successful. The same might someday be said about men being involved in feminism. If you truly believe in equality then you are a feminist, whether you realize it or not.

Men are degraded by the by the patriarchy just like women are. Feminists believe that men are capable of more than that and are more than that. I’d like to end this piece with a quote by a very notable feminist by the name of Emma Watson: “We’re never, ever, ever going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other.”

I strongly encourage you to attend a Feminist Alliance meeting if you feel so inclined. We meet on Mondays at 9 p.m. in the Pugh Center.

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