Men: Help Yourselves by Supporting Women
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Politics and Activism

Men: Help Yourselves by Supporting Women

Working together to fight for Women's Rights benefits everyone.

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Men: Help Yourselves by Supporting Women
Tyler Simpson

Both men and women are subject to injustices and violation of rights; but it is safe to say that women have — for most of recorded history — suffered the most from these infringements. In a "TIME" article titled, “Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men," Cathy Young writes that bringing light to infringements on women’s rights without mentioning the equally wrong violations of men’s rights is degrading to men.

Men who support women’s rights aren’t subtracting from men’s rights, they’re adding to them. Young writes that feminism, in its present form, has too often ignored, or contributed to, biases against males, and that until that changes, “The movement for gender equality will be incomplete” (Young, 2014). While Young is right about the fight for gender equality not being complete until it involves both sides, her point is clouded, she allows the actions and beliefs of a few to represent feminism as a whole.

Feminism is a complicated word that represents a complicated movement — a movement with no clear leader or boundaries, represented by anyone who claims to represent it, and by some who would say they’d rather not. A movement so large, that represents so much, involves quite a lot of people. Some of those people will help the cause, and some will detract from it, whether they do so deliberately or not. “Let’s begin with the feminists themselves. For years, many notable ‘radical feminists’ publicly spewed virulently anti-man sentiment. While it galvanized some, it alienated many — including men. Feminism became the ‘F’ word” (Jarrett, 2014). It’s true, some feminists hate men. That does not justify, however, writing off an entire movement, because while some feminists hate men, there are those who fight for men’s rights as well as women’s.

Men aren’t only justified in helping women because it’s the right thing to do; they’re also helping themselves. Men gain much from supporting women’s rights, from benefiting from the dissolving of traditional gender roles to control over reproductive health, doing so even serves to strengthen the world economy for everyone (Aloe, 2012). “Get back in the kitchen” and “Don’t cry, act like a man” are equally hurtful and bias towards two different groups of people, but focusing on how one or the other is wrong does not hurt the other sex, by addressing the issue at all, rather than ignoring it, both sexes benefit.

Feminism isn’t a matter of women’s rights versus men’s rights; it is a matter of human rights. In the United Nations system, “violence against women "is understood as a ‘barrier’ to women’s enjoyment of human rights” (Qureshi, 2013). While the United Nations recognizes these biases as a Human Rights issue, many don’t. In her conclusion, Young states: “”while there is still work to be done, it must include the other side of that revolution. Not “he for she,” but “She and he for us.”” (Young, 2014).

Men supporting rights for women don’t write off rights for men. HeForShe doesn’t mean speaking for women, it means speaking about the biases men and women both face, together. “I don’t presume to speak for women. But I can speak with them” (Jarrett, 2014). It is counterproductive to think that addressing infringements of human rights separately is a waste of time, especially when it comes to domestic violence. According to “Intimate Partner Violence 1993-2001” in the year 2001, approximately 85-percent of all victimizations by intimate partners were against women (Rennison, 2003). When the majority of domestic violence occurs against women, it makes sense for a majority of efforts bringing these infringements to light to focus on women as well.

That’s not to say that men should be a minority when it comes to addressing the issues both sexes face on a daily basis. In this case, a movement in support of women’s rights — which is a legitimate cause — cannot come to fruition without men. In order to make an impact, we must face the biases and infractions against both sexes together, across an open table, through communication, empathy and honesty. Like Mr. Jarrett (Jarrett, 2014), men should not presume to speak for women, but they should wish to speak with them; doing so benefits us all.

References

Aloe, J. (2012). Feminism, it’s good for men too. Retrieved from

http://feminspire.com/feminism-its-good-for-men-too/

Jarrett, G. (2014). Emma Watson’s new feminism: count me in. Retrieved from

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/09/29/emma-watson-new-feminism-count-me-in

Qureshi, S. (2013). The recognition of violence against women as a violation of human rights

in the united nations system. A Research Journal of South Asian Studies, 28(1), 187-198.

Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.

Rennison, C. (2003). Intimate partner violence, 1993-2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime

Data Brief. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ipv01.pdf

Young, C. (2014). Sorry Emma Watson, but HeForShe is rotten for me. Retrieved from

http://time.com/3432838/emma-watson-feminism-men-women/

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