Many men do not support the feminist movement because they think that it means that women dislike them and wish to strip them of credibility. The common consensus about the term "feminism" is that it includes women burning their bras, sporting shaved heads, hating men, never shaving their legs, and shouting about masculinity. This couldn't be further from the truth.
If one delves into the meaning of the word, feminism stands for equality of all sexes. Not just females. Feminist ideals include advocating for women's rights as well as men's. This equality includes equal opportunity, pay, and choices without gender stereotypes.
For example: it really is okay for men to cry. I promise. It doesn't signify weakness. Crying is a basic human emotion and is a useful and necessary tool for showing compassion and feelings. Society has taught men that they must live up to a falsely created sense of "manhood" that has no room for healthy expression of emotion.
Also, men can stay at home with their children! It's 2016 and many men are still judged if they are not the breadwinner of a family - while many women are still judged for not wearing sundresses with pearls while vacuuming with a baby on one hip. It's important that a couple works together. However, the roles that couples choose to take on should have nothing to do with their gender, but their own personal preference and united decision. Husbands, wives, and people in general should take on the role that best suits their personal needs and wishes, along with the needs of the couple and family as a whole.
Even though feminism is about advocating for men's rights as well as women's, many men still don't support equal rights for females. My questions to these men are this: do you have a mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, girlfriend, wife, or other important woman in your life? Do you think that it's fair that she typically doesn't receive the same opportunities, pay, and treatment as a man? Do you really believe that the standards society places on women and men are ideal? Do you enjoy the idea of an important woman in your life being catcalled on the street or being seen as a "bitch" for being an assertive woman? Probably not. And if so, you're likely an awful human being. Being opinionated doesn't make a woman aggressive. Wearing lipstick isn't an invitation for a whistle on the street.
Men must stop buying into these ideas and suppressing women. Women don't exist just for their appearance or for decoration. They don't make up half of the world's population to make you sandwiches, and you can probably benefit from them more than you realize. Remember this next time you make a period joke. Also, be thankful that you don't have to deal with one every 30 days or so. You wouldn't be able to carry on your lineage without a woman's agonizing pain every month, so please, for the love of God, don't make fun of it.
Women just want to be seen as equals to men in society. The wage gap in America consists of all women only making $0.79 for every $1 that a man makes for doing the same type of work. This figure is even slimmer for minority women. It's much harder for a woman to reach success than a man due to this large gap. Pay should not depend on gender or race, but on the job performance of the individual. Unequal pay is just one of many sexist roadblocks that women face.
There are countless situations and occurrences that contribute to the unequal treatment of men and women. We must come together, across genders, to unite against this injustice. Society doesn't have to control our actions as men and women, and both genders must stand up for themselves and the opposing gender to break these molds and make the world a better place. Women and men may be different, but their differences are completely complimentary. So men, respect women. Women, respect men. Attempt to break society's mold by refraining from expecting certain things from certain people simply due to their gender. Give all people the same opportunities, regardless of their sex. Although unfair treatment and inequality can never be completely eradicated within the human race, one less person with the stigmas and attitudes of sexism can make a world of difference.
United Nations Women's Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, spoke about gender issues at a 2014 HeForShe campaign, an organization and movement for gender equality.
For more information on gender inequality, visit the HeForShe website.
To find out more about the wage gap in the U.S., visit the Institute for Women's Policy Research website.