Feminism

Men Are Our Friends

I am a feminist. Most of the Teen Skepchicks are, and all are for equal rights. But I’m seeing a growing trend of misandry (the hatred of men; opposite of misogyny), especially in social networking, and it’s not okay. As women continue to battle for fully equal rights, we have to be careful not to stray into the realm of  man-hating. Seriously, this won’t do any woman any favours.

 

 

 I wouldn’t dream of arguing that women stereotyping and insulting men gives the opposite sex an excuse to continue to oppress us; far from it. However, in a society where so many women are struggling so hard for equality, we shouldn’t set it back by making all men out to be monsters. There are plenty of men who believe in equal rights; we have several writing here at Skepchick. Don’t make a hypocrite of yourself by battling  against inequality, and then thinking nothing of saying “All men are the same,” or “All men care about is sex.” It isn’t true, and it isn’t helpful. In reality, it’s not very different from saying “All women are sluts,” or “All feminists are butch.”

Of course the position of men in society is different to that of women. We’re still working towards fully equal status, and we’re struggling our way out of hundreds of years of oppression. But instead of alienating men with negative attitudes and slander, we should be welcoming their support. Women often get frustrated with the portrayal of their gender as fickle sex-objects; well, many men are frustrated with their portrayal as shallow and image-obsessed, with an abnormally high sex-drive. It isn’t always true.

Film and TV media are the one of the guiltiest for this idea of man vs woman; as if it’s a war. Take the recent movie The Ugly Truth– click that link to look at their main advertising poster. A woman holding a heart up, and a man holding a heart over his crotch. ARGH HOLLYWOOD, Y U SO STEREOTYPE? Believe it or not, sometimes men want love and women want sex: sometimes they want both. It runs both ways, not one. Then there’s the “nice guy” portrayal of men- take Michael Cera in… almost anything Michael Cera is in. He’s generally typecast as a sweet, almost asexual guy. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? He’s a nice guy… saving the girl from hoardes of a-holes. It’s almost like our protagonist is the amazing exception; the one man in the world who isn’t a complete idiot. But then again, at least in many of these movies the idiot guys change their ways- and positive male leads do exist.

Lastly, the worst offender of all: social networking sites. This may not be the same for all people; for example if you’re older and your Facebook friends aren’t largely teenage girls. But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the picture on the right floating through my newsfeed. It’s not the only one, either. There are hundreds of pictures devaluing men; ones with quotes like “men r all da same ): ):”. No they’re not. Men, like women, are all individuals. Some share the same ideas. Others do not.

Feminists (actually, women in general), shouldn’t tar all men with the same brush. Being dismissive is what many males did to females for centuries, and it didn’t achieve anything. Only now are we beginning to break free from the culture of misogyny, and even then we still have a long way to go. Don’t ruin it by employing misandry instead. It’s not an improvement. Men, as an entire gender, don’t have to be punished for their past wrongdoing. Only by working together- not as man vs. woman, but as humanity as a whole- can we make real progress towards equality.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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beccy

beccy

3 Comments

  1. June 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm —

    Good words. Some, but not all men, struggle for equality too. That might sound surprising or even grate a bit. There are so many people who for some reason, be it poverty or disability or being an outsider or through sheer lack of confidence or any number of other factors, struggle for fairness, freedom and independence. Gender is only one of the MANY grounds people are oppressed, devalued or mistreated in this world. It’s all wrong — we should be fighting all of them as one battle.

    I read an interesting point today, elsewhere, which crystalised my own feelings of being a male pro-feminist. The writer who made it pointed out that our workplaces, even in modern society, bare the model arrangement of yesteryear when, for every working employee there was a stay-at-home. For women and men in the work-place, it is the same: employers have not yet caught up with the fact that these days NONE of us have someone who does all the outside work stuff. We are all meant to put in a nine-to-five AND do the rest on top.

    For real fairness and equality to emerge, we’ll need attitudes of employers to alter not only so more opportunities for woman are created but so that it is recognised that we all — men and women — have complex lives beyond our careers. What we see instead is women being “allowed” to take on the old roles man used to exclusively fill, but no facility to replace the traditional woman’s role. Everybody loses. Except employers. For the rest of us, our lives are stress-filled, overly complex and often frustrating.

    For dignity to exist for woman, greater all round dignity must be won. I assume no woman wants to have equality of opportunity only to discover the opportunities on offer are dire for men and woman both.

  2. June 26, 2012 at 3:28 am —

    This is a strong piece. I spend a lot of time considering what I, as a male feminist, am qualified to do for the cause, and a lot of that circles around deconstructing masculinity – precisely the prejudices described in this post, and the ones we lay upon ourselves (“Men don’t cry”, “Only gays and sissies are in touch with their emotions”, etc. etc. ad nauseam).

    The whole supposed sex fixation has some biological basis – testosterone – but that does not mean that all boys/men only ever want sex. Other things can be far more important. In my own case, even if we never had sex, I’d still love my wife a lot, and I’ve been hugely dissatisfied with relationships where sex was good and plentiful but other things were lacking. And yes, girls/women certainly desire sex, too – but again, not to the exclusion of all else. I’ve dated women who slept with me on our first date – and women whom I never took to bed. Both are perfectly all right.

    A lot of the problems faced by men have roots in the problems faced by women. The term ‘misandry’ could perhaps just as accurately be described as spill-off misogyny, or misogyny backdraft. Because of the social pressures women face, and because of the low social status of women in general, men are obligated to shun ‘feminine’ expressions and activities. As a result, we end up pushed toward the stereotypes mentioned above – the ones that hurt us, the women in our lives, and the relationships we have with them. In the end, we fight this by fighting the pressures upon women, since that lies at the root of our own problems – but also because it is the right thing to do.

  3. August 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm —

    “All men care about is sex.”

    I think I have figured this one out too, using biology and data.

    Males and females mature at different rates; the reasons for this I will not get into. Females generally mature around 20 while males generally mature at 25. This five year age difference is the key fact explaining why women think ‘all men care about is sex.’

    From about 15-25 years of age, all males care about is sex; it is sort of the Nature of things. So women learn, over and over again, and tell each other; because that is what they learn.

    For five years women are mature human beings while men are not mature human beings; they are just sex minded, pleasure seeking beings; no big deal.

    So the reason why a lot of women think men only care about sex is because immature males tend to only think about sex. Sex, in most forms, is pretty awesome; but sex on a first date is maybe too fast.

    I hope this helps y’all, and remember from 15-25 don’t expect a male to be an adult; from 15-20 don’t expect a female to be either. It is the 20-25 year period that is the issue; unfortunately women are forced to gamble during those ages and that gamble tends to be risky; especially for women.

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