I’m just going to ramble this afternoon because my attempts to come up with something cohesive & well thought out just aren’t working.
A few years back I was working with a guy who told me he believed that there was a hidden feminist agenda to completely eviscerate masculinity from the face of the planet. It was quite the downer that particular evening and I confess I barely listened to what he was talking about. The memory of that conversation recently resurfaced when I googled the phrase “fathers are unnecessary” as requested by one of my professors last week. That same afternoon I visited Jared and the phrase “can men be feminists?” caught my attention.
[Before I go any further I should point out that there is an EXCELLENT comment thread over at Jared’s site from her original post which is a must read]
Here’s the deal. While reading through the articles, opinions and commentary I wondered was my coworker correct? Not so much in his conspiracy theory, but the idea that while asserting “girl power” society is shunning masculinity? Don’t get me wrong I’m all for gender equality. My mother was a strong role model growing up as my father passed away when I was a teenager. I’ve witnessed “girl power” first hand and my sister Lesli continues to deliver a strong feminist message today. That being said, I still had my awkward moments where I needed a male role model and had nowhere to turn. I often wonder how my life experiences and opinions would be different if my father were still alive.
I’m not attempting to argue the pros & cons of feminism in America. I’m just wondering who’s looking out for the interest of men? While there are a number of songs, TV shows, movies that convey smart, savvy independent women, where are the positive images being reinforced for men? It certainly isn’t Andy Dick. I haven’t read the book “Fatherless America” or “The War Against Boys“, but I assume they stir up some interesting ideas.
On the road to gender equality is it possible to understand & accept the differences between genders? I don’t think feminism will benefit from attempting to make men more like women. Mutual respect between genders is important as well as an open dialogue to express the needs of both groups.
Back in December I posted my thoughts on the abortion issue. I felt by making abortion a woman’s issue it’s difficult to gain support from men. I made comments that it should be seen as “a couple’s right to choose” which garnered this comment from Jared “if a woman bears the burden of incubating, nourishing, and birthing the child that originates from her cells, it is still her body and her choice. when a man incubates and births the child, then it becomes his choice.”
I think that illustrates my current questions about feminism. If Janeane Garofalo correctly defined feminism as “gender equality & social justice” then I think that male viewpoints & opinions would be encouraged. Simply dismissing certain behaviors without understanding the motivation behind them seems a bit reactive to me. It’s an interesting dichotomy in the U.S. where amidst the melting pot people strive to assert their individuality.