The Reason Why Men Need Feminism

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my feminist voice and my feminist opinion. I began to identify myself as a feminist about 2 years ago. I studied sociological theory in university and in my studies I took a fantastic course on feminist ideologies in a sociological context. Feminist theory was not a new concept for me, I have always believed in gender equality, but this course gave me the knowledge and the language that I needed to take the step towards identifying myself as a feminist.enhanced-buzz-wide-4112-1417113067-9I am very lucky. I have never been victimized or hated for my beliefs but I often get eye rolls or “yeah yeah yeah” responses to my feminist opinions. And not from strangers, from my family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, these are great people, they love me and respect me but they don’t understand the feminist movement and so they, along with many others, find it annoying and unnecessary. Not super recently but at some point in the recent past I was asked a question by a male friend (I’m paraphrasing here): “why do I need feminism? I can vote, you can vote. I work and get paid, you work and get paid. We have equal rights. So why do I need feminism?” At the time I wasn’t quite sure how to answer his question, I was drinking and quite honestly I was tired of arguing so I said “you just do” and we left it at that. But his question has been sitting in the back of my mind since then and the other night I think I arrived at an answer…

UBC Assaults

Ladies, has this ever happened to you? Your walking alone at night, you’ve got your headphones in and all of a sudden you notice someone walking behind you? Immediately your body stiffens, you turn off your music, you increase your pace and you cautiously look over your shoulder every 10 seconds to make sure you aren’t being followed. By the time you reach your destination you are practically running through the door. This situation. Right here. This is why men need feminism.

Did you know that if you ask a male his top 5 fears statistics sate that most male fears be physical. Heights, spiders, snakes, small spaces, ect. Where as if you ask a woman, the fears are primarily safety based. For example: being followed, being attacked, being alone, ect. Is this because men are scary and bad? No. Is this because women are irrationally afraid? No. Is this because our sexist society has taught women to irrationally believe that men are scary and bad? YES!

Sexism is noNew-Feminismt limited to women. Last night when I was practically running home because a man was walking behind me I realized that my assumption about him, which was entirely based on his gender, is just as bad as him assuming things about me based on my gender. Women shouldn’t fear men and men should not be feared. But they do and they are. Because our society promotes fear and victimization. Because our society teaches men that they can have whatever they want. Because our society tells women that they are objects to be wanted. Because our society is not a feminist society. How messed up is that? For me, feminism is the opposite of man hating. It is man loving. It is woman loving. It is everyone loving!

So to answer your question male friend of mine, you need feminism because you deserve to be respected instead of feared. You need feminism because your female friends deserve to feel safe in their communities. And you need feminism because you just do. 

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8 thoughts on “The Reason Why Men Need Feminism

  1. I totally agree. I forget who said this quote but someone said “I challenge every man who says he’s not a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t support equality”. Men need feminism too for their equality and the equality of the women they love.

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      • If you’re ever interested in guest blogging at the feminist site that I’m the administrator for, let me know. We’re always looking for like minded feminists to join our team:)

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      • Thank you so much for the offer! I will definitely keep that in mind. I am new to the world of blogging and I am still developing my feminist voice but as I grow into my writing style and my opinions I would love the opportunity to share on The Radical Notion. I will be sure to reach out to you in the new year! Thank you again, Tanya!

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  2. i liked this alex, and i agree that feminism is so important and it makes me happy to know that you identify as a feminist. YAY FEMINISTS. and you’re dead on that feminism helps men, too. feminism helps everyone. YAY FEMINISM.

    i also agree that logically, women shouldn’t be afraid when a man is walking behind them, as most rapes/acts of violence against women happen with people we trust and know. it’s extremely rare that someone jumps out of the bushes, so the speak. however, i don’t think that it’s accurate to say that being afraid is a product of sexism/discrimination against men. at least, not entirely. and it’s definitely not the same kind of discrimination that women face, at all. women are afraid because of media portrayals of rape (not willing to admit how common it really is, making it seem like it always occurs that way when it doesn’t) as well as knowing that if something were to happen, the woman will likely be blamed for it and will face a shit storm of awful questions. “what were you doing out so late” “why were you alone?” “what were you wearing?” etc. there are huge masculinity problems, and what men are taught “being a real man” means equates to incredibly problematic behaviour for women. i don’t think it’s a society-taught untruth that men are scary or bad. of course, not all of them are. but let’s not dance around the facts. most murderers are men, most rapists are men. using the “NOT ALL MEN” argument only detracts from the problems, in my opinion.

    just some food for thought. i like your writing a lot and look forward to seeing more! cheers.

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    • Thanks for commenting Meaghan. I think you make some very valid points. I find it incredibly challenging to write about feminism because every statement made about the subject can be analyzed over and over and very often the arguments what we make are the same but said different ways. For example, when I say being afraid is a product of sexism I was attempting to make the same point that you made in your comment.

      women are afraid because of media portrayals of rape (not willing to admit how common it really is, making it seem like it always occurs that way when it doesn’t) as well as knowing that if something were to happen, the woman will likely be blamed for it and will face a shit storm of awful questions. “what were you doing out so late” “why were you alone?” “what were you wearing?” etc. there are huge masculinity problems, and what men are taught “being a real man” means equates to incredibly problematic behaviour for women.

      I didn’t extensively explain that in my piece but I do feel that we are indeed on the same page. The media, the idealism of a “real man”, the probing questions are all products of our sexist society. I hope that adds more depth to the point I was trying to make.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts as they are helping to increase the quality and the clarity of my writing. Also, I am so glad that you are reading and I am excited to share more.

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