It would be appallingly easy to hate men. I honestly can’t blame women who do. With the amount of sexism, objectification, and misogyny women face on a daily basis, it would be easy to think that all men are like that.
And when a guy comes onto my Facebook wall declaring that he needs women to be sex objects and is only concerned about seeing boobs—and then generalizes that and says that all men are like that, it’s tempting to believe him.
But even though real life experience and statistics both show that sexism and misogyny are thriving to one extent or another, I’m not buying the whole “it’s just the way we are” tripe.
I have faith that men are better than that!
You see, as a feminist, it’s not just that I believe that women are just as capable as men. It’s not just that I believe that women should be given equal opportunities, that they should have the rights to their bodies, or that they should be able to live like human beings.
I also don’t think women have to take over the world in order to achieve that, which means . . .
I believe that men are capable of being humane. I believe that men are able to recognize inequality and fight with women to change the system. I believe that men aren’t driven by their penises and that they are capable of emotional processing and empathy. I believe many of them want to be set free from the hypermasculine expectations. I believe they don’t inherently want to rape and that, if we give them the resources and education they need to learn respect and understand consent, the majority of them wouldn’t rape. I believe that men can get offended by objectification too and that they can want to see women in active, equal roles. I believe that men can appreciate beauty without dehumanizing someone . . . or that they can keep it in their pants when it’s not really appropriate to take it out.
“What guys do you know?” I was asked when I expressed my belief that men aren’t all chauvinists.
And the lucky thing is that I know a lot of guys who fit that model of a man. I know they can exist because they do exist.
I’ve heard a lot of feminists say that men don’t deserve to be thanked for being feminists. And perhaps in an ideal world, it wouldn’t be necessary to praise people for refusing to partake in oppression, but in this world, where rape threats and hateful comments are directed at women for little other reason than being visible online, I think it is appropriate to give a shout out to the male feminists and allies of the world—not because we should find it so extraordinary to find someone who isn’t an ass, but because it takes a lot of courage to stand up to the status quo and say, “I’m not having it.”
We as feminists should know that.
So . . . my dear male feminists and male allies,
Thank you for giving me something to hold onto and hope for while we struggle to change the world together. I know it’s not easy for you, just as it’s not easy for me. I know you face your own brand of backlash, and I am sorry that standing for equality is such a shitty experience for both of us right now.
Thank you for standing up to your friends, not buying that product because there’s a sexualized woman in the ad, getting angry when you see the news, and even apologizing when you yourself find latent sexism slipping out from time to time. Thank you for being beautiful, equality-loving human beings who are willing to try to recognize and change the patriarchal culture that other men are content to just assume is the way things should be.
As a feminist, I admire you. I believe in the future that you represent—where respect and equality are things that all of humanity can strive for and achieve.
****Note: Due to an unusual schedule this week, I will not be interacting as much online. I love your comments. Feel free to leave them, but forgive me if you don’t get a detailed or personal response to yours right away.****