“Bein’ a woman, a black woman at that? Shit – in this white man’s world, Sometimes we overlook the fact that we be ridin hard on our sisters, We don’t be knowin the pain we be causin'” -2Pac (White Manz World)
What Feminism Is and Isn’t
The term ‘Feminism’ tends to scare some men off. To them, it doesn’t indicate equality but a substantial loss of power. And, to some extent, they’re right. For the past century, they’ve maintained their dominance through physical, social, and emotional control. They’ve created a culture that teaches women to become obsessed with their appearance and to follow rigid sexual standards that they don’t themselves. But, would the rise of feminist thinking completely alter that? Would women become the ones dictating what men should and shouldn’t do?
The answer is no. Feminism isn’t a movement that seeks control, just like the civil-rights and gay-rights movements weren’t created to place one particular group in a position of authority. Feminism’s overarching purpose is to foster the development of a society that doesn’t discriminate, and withhold power, based on gender. It’s an emancipation from a form of invisible servitude, not a conquest. Feminism ideals don’t negate men, but empower women!
Women’s Historical Contributions
One of the major victories that gender-equality produces is within science and the arts. And some ancient cultures, going back to hunter-gatherers, comprised more egalitarian societies, in which men and women made substantial decisions. Hannah Delvin, in her article on gender-equality in the pre-historic age, wrote:
A study has shown that in contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes, men and women tend to have equal influence on where their group lives and who they live with. The findings challenge the idea that sexual equality is a recent invention, suggesting that it has been the norm for humans for most of our evolutionary history.
She noted that the study’s authors argued that it helped men form broader networks and share inventions with others. In that period, men would have lived with their kin, particularly their brothers, had they been the only ones to choose.
And, as equality relates to important academic contributions, Dag Herbjornsrud, in his article titled Before the Cannon: The Non-European Women Who Founded Philosophy stated:
Philosophy was once a woman’s world, ranging across Asia, Africa and Latin America… One day, it might become possible to include the voices of marginalised philosophical women again. These women highlighted the questions that were most pressing in their time, and theorised philosophical answers that still need to be discussed in the 21st century. Philosophy was once a woman’s world.
Contrary to popular belief, history is full of female contributors who changed the way we perceive and engage with the world, from Hypatia to Hedy Lamarr.
Women Have Better Sex in Socialist Countries
That headline doesn’t require an explanation of how better sexual experiences for women would benefit men, but I’ll give one anyway. Kristen Ghodsee, author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism sat down with Vox to discuss her idea, stating:
There are ways in which the state can intervene in the market by supporting things like universal child care, by supporting mandatory job-protected paid maternity leave… All of those things end up reducing the burden that is placed on women, which allows them to become economically independent, if they so choose, and that allows for a greater amount of freedom and liberty… We should all want women to make life choices based on their own ideas and abilities. And not based on their financial circumstances.
The argument is a simple one: In countries where women don’t have to financially depend on men, they’re able to choose their partners based on their emotional, rather than financial, needs. It doesn’t seem likely that a woman would want to jump into bed with her husband if she’s getting paid a fraction of what he is, and then has to take care of their children in addition to maintaining her forty hour a week job.
Interestingly, Kristen also noted, “There are also some studies, which are controversial but really interesting, that show that couples who share housework or share child care responsibilities more equally tend to have more sex.”
Our Unloaded Burden
Lastly, for men, one of the major downsides of a male-dominated culture is the pressure we face to fit the ideal masculine stereotype. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t as afraid of being excluded from a male-group as I was of being rejected by a girl. And in my cultural environment, I had to talk the talk and walk the walk of the cocksure, asshole kid in order to get a date. Essentially, girls bought into it because they were taught to. Our culture taught, and continues to teach them, that a man is supposed to be reserved, confident, and brash. So, that was who I wanted to become.
But, in order for authenticity to thrive, feminist ideas have to prosper, too. For men to be able to be themselves, they have to allow women the chance to become whoever it is they want to be. Moral arguments aside, which have been explained in greater depth than I’m able to, patriarchy is toxic to all of us. It’s toxic to our interactions, as it prevents genuine intimacy. Men and women continue to believe that they have to play stereotypical characters to find love. It’s toxic to our achievements, as women’s academic contributions are cast away. And it’s toxic to our sex-lives, because marginalized people tend to disdain their unfair treatment, thus killing the carnal desire for the authoritarian sex.
So, in order for men to change the status-quo, our job is simple: We don’t have to stand-up for women; we have to stand behind them as they stand-up for themselves. Anything else would contribute to the maintenance of a way of being that’s harmed us all for way too long.
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