Feminism has a different connotation when it comes to men. We get a somewhat of a pass in a way that our female counterparts do not.
Just ask Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. Marvel over his good looks AND his firm belief in gender equality.
Men are glorified for feminism. Women are vilified for feminism. Men who call themselves feminists are called heroes and thoughtful leaders. Women who call themselves feminists are called man-haters and aggressive troublemakers.
Since when did it become such a bad thing believing in equality for men and women?
Though we are glorified as men who are feminists, it is still seen as an anomaly to be a man, call yourself a feminist, and mean it. Though we are glorified for being feminists, we don't call ourselves feminists to be liked. At least I don't.
On the contrary, I call myself a feminist regardless if I'm liked for it or not.
Feminism has taught me more about being a man than masculinity ever could or ever has. Society's definition of masculinity is so stifling and limiting compared to the liberation I find in feminism.
According to society's definition of masculinity, there is no room for emotion. Men are taught to be tough. We are taught to hide our feelings which inevitably teaches us how to be deceivers. By merely uttering the term "boys will be boys," we are inadvertently giving ourselves permission to choose to not play by the rules. Men are taught to believe their hormones override their critical thinking. So long as we can maintain an erection and get laid every chance we get, maintaining this facade of fraudulent humanity, we can call ourselves men.
Feminism allows men to be human. By actively thinking and engaging in our role in the concoction of gender inequality, we can find new and innovative ways to express ourselves as men that are not dangerous and harmful to us or to women. If men expressed their emotions naturally, there'd be no repressed feelings leading to bouts of aggression and violence that are palpable in our society, from pornography to popular culture.
Imagine how enjoyable and realistic sex could be if men didn't play by the rules and assume the aggressive position out of default. Being a feminist and man doesn't have to kill your sex life, or libido.
If men actually worked hard and put forth the effort and a fair shot in everything they do, we would view work ethic in a different light. Women wouldn't have to be told to try harder and constantly hit their head on many glass ceilings.
Through out my time in college, I feel as though I worked hard. However, in everything I did, I had this safety-net feeling that if I didn't do my best, I'd be okay and knew I'd get another shot. How many of my female counterparts thought that? I got to go through my education and life not having to worry about whether the clothes I'm wearing would put me in danger, not having to worry whether my being nice could be taken out of context, and not having to worry about being hated for simply wanting what is right.
My challenge to my fellow men is to consider being a feminist. Don't think of it as a chore or as an occupation. Rather embrace it as a means of humanity. A means of enhancing your masculinity in ways unheard of in our society.
Watch that romantic comedy. Listen to that Paula Cole and Sarah McLachlan song. Read that Bell Hooks and Arlie Hochschild book. Hold your male friends accountable when they cat call or slut shame a woman.
Being a feminist doesn't make you less of a man, but more of a human.
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