I’ll take feminism, misandry & pink bunny slippers for $200

dancing symbolsI’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.

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13 comments

  • I think that’s an interesting point. Obviously I am female, and although I’m all for women’s equality and all that jazz – I would not call myself a raging feminist. Most of the influential people in my have been male, not female, although I am influenced by them as well. Still, the ones who have made the greatest impact have all been male.

  • “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.”

    And I wonder how my life experiences and opinions would be different if most of the power-holding figures of my childhood were female. Principal-Male. Majority of teachers-Male. Majority of Superheros-Male. Presidents-Male. CEOs of businesses I admire-Male. And so on.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of “girl power” or the end of masculinity, but rather it is about equality. As far as women have come now, think of the equalities that still remain. I would hate to lose men, but really, I’d love the same oppotunities.

    And, BTW, I applaud you for even touching this issue.

  • Katie, You wanted to be a male super-hero?

    *chuckle*

    I agree we are far from being equal. I was just really surprised about the “fathers” information and the more I thought about it, the more I wonder is there another problem here?

    Honestly, I never gave it a moment’s thought (positive male role models that is) until my professor made it a point to bring it up in class.

  • Throughout my life I have responded better to female professors than male. I’m not sure why. I just know that it tends to be that when I see a woman doing it, it makes me more inclined to try it myself. That’s just me though. It would be interesting to see how this carries over.

  • I think that maybe trying to define a term that is inherently biased towards one gender as one that advocates equality of both genders is doing a disservice to the term.

    To some degree it may be splitting hairs, but I think that if the goal is equality and understanding between genders, then it should not be carried under the flags of masculinity -or- feminism. Define it more like “humanity”, and coming to grips with that. Carry it under a gender loaded term and it carries such a load of baggage with it that it becomes hard to divorce the term from the desired meaning.

    “Thought provoking”. Dig das post.

  • Damn good point, Netshade. Have you ever read any Chomsky? I think words do carry the stigma you describe.

  • Whoa, I’m suprised, too … but then again, we’re all in College, or were in College, so I shouldn’t be suprised everyone knows Noam :-p.
    Indeed it’s thought provoking, but removing the masculinity from Men would by necessity, include removing the testosterone, which of course, is nigh impossible ! There are too many men out there with testosterone problems and the world will never fully be free of assholes, so ’manly’ men will never go extinct … which, in my opinion, is both a horrible thing, and a good thing :-p (Who needs male role models when yours is downing a six pack instead of excercising one ?)

  • Sorry, I don’t mean to bash your article… it’s really insightful 😀 I just have fun adding weird side notes.

  • jtox – me not feeling bashed… hulk strong, hulk smash all critics…

    Oh, and I wasn’t kidding, there is some very insightful commentary over at Jared’s place. I just added my own single-syllable questions here.

  • i think the issues of “masculinity” and “femininity” are social constructs, and not inherent instincts. our society perpetuates the idea that women are soft and loving and demure and men are powerful and strong and leaders.
    that’s not always the case, nor does it need to be. men can be soft and loving and demure and women can be powerful and strong and leaders. there’s nothing wrong with that.

    it’s when society forces it down our throats that “you’re not a man if you take that kind of crap from a woman”, or a “woman’s place is in the home”, etc.

    i am all for breaking gender roles and the social contructs of masculinity and femininity. “free to be you and me”. whatever that entails.

    as far as the “male viewpoints & opinions would be encouraged”, i agree. they should be encouraged, and discussion is vital, however, i think the ULTIMATE CHOICE on abortion resides solely with women.

    i was reading FEMINISM IS FOR EVERYONE the other night and came across something that really struck me and made me sit back and think. fear of pregnancy can also lead to fear of sex. only women will ever TRULY know the fear of pregnancy, and the idea of not allowing the choice to abort will only increase that fear and lead to scared, weak, unfulfilled women. and that is a thought that frightens me.

    thanks for discussing it over here too! feminism IS for everybody!

    xoxo, jared

  • Pvblivs   Reply →

    I can’t really tell if there is any insight on that blog you recommend or not. It’s only open to invitees. My take though is that the published definition of feminism that claims it is for equality is only the result of good public-relations. Now, I will point out that I try not to dismiss “conspiracy theories” too quickly. While it is true that there are more conspiracy theories than there are conspiracies, conspiracies do exist. More importantly, the successful ones conceal the fact that they *are* conspiracies from the outside world.

    If you watch the path that feminism takes, it is quite clear that equality is not on the agenda. Men cannot be feminists any more than Blacks can be members of the KKK. They can only be useful idiots to the respective causes. Feminism seeks to dehumanize and demolish all men — that includes any idiots that supported the cause. Consider, women are exempt from the draft. Feminism does nothing to change this. Women get lighter sentences for identical crimes. Feminism wants it to stay that way.

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