Why Feminism Is Good For Men

Hello dear reader(s)!

“Man up!”  “You hit like a girl!”  “Don’t be a little bitch!”  “You’re a pussy!”  

Put 3 year old kids in a room together.  Chances are there will be a lot of crying, a lot of laughing, a lot of playing, a lot of running, a lot of fighting, a lot of hugging.  Take away the gender specific outfits and haircuts and try to tell the difference between the boys and the girls.  I bet you can’t.

Women aren’t the only ones hurt by the devaluation of traits incorrectly labeled and deemed “feminine”.  The refusal for people of a certain gender as sharing some of these human traits strips men of their humanity.

Men, when was the first time you were told that crying was a sign of weakness?  When was the first time someone told you to “man up?”

Beyond what this says to women, that being strong is a male characteristic only, and is somehow superior to those qualities that are viewed as femine, think of the outright lie that it is a male characteristic at all.

In that moment, when maybe your father, maybe your sports coach, maybe your “friend” told you to man up, did you stop feeling like you wanted to cry?  No, you felt like you couldn’t or else your very identity as a man would be called into question.  And so you learned to suppress that.  You learned to bottle up those emotions.  That was equated with strength.  And even though you may not have made the connection consciously, that meant that showing emotions was a negative trait.  It was weak.  And since girls are permitted to be emotional, that must mean (whether you consciously say it or not), that girls are weak.

But boys get emotional.  It happens, and if you look back, even if you are the most hyper-masculine person on the face of the Earth, you wanted to cry before it was pushed out of you.  This false labeling of traits as gender specific is just fallacy.  90% of the behavioral curves of men and women overlap.  Why do the outlying 10% define us?

The suicide rate in the US for males is 3 times what it is for females.

Yet females supposedly have higher instances of depression.  Females supposedly attempt suicide more often but use less lethal methods. There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this.  1.  Males are not able to open up about their feelings, or their depressive symptoms are not recognized correctly.  2.  Women feel more comfortable reaching out for help, even when using extreme methods like attempting a suicide unlikely to succeed where as by the time men pull the trigger (pun intended), they are not crying for help.  This is because from the time a boy is little, he is taught talking about his pain is girly, and therefore bad.  But the statistics show that both sexes feel the pain, one just gets the chance to express it.

90.5% of homicides committed in the US are committed by men.

This isn’t excusable by testosterone.  Men are taught early on that violence solves problems.  Talking it out is simply not acceptable.  Men constantly have to prove how manly they are.  Manly in this case is aggressive, dominant, and deadly.  They are all traits that exist to different degrees in both sexes, and they have their uses in some extreme situations.  But they certainly are not the favorable way to resolve conflict.  How many times have you been told to fight back and stand up for yourself when bullied?  To not snitch?  To be the best?

“You going to hit that?” 

You may or may not be attracted to the woman you are spending time with.  Immediately, your friends imply that it is only acceptable to have female friends if you want to have sex with them.  Additionally, look at the words.  Hit.  (Violence.)  That.  (Object.)   Their only purpose in those words are for you.  You may think, it is just words.  But in your formative years, when those words are the most common, they can have an effect.

And then there is the media.  

Look at most action heroes.  Hyper-masculine males that show little emotion and solve their problems with violence.  Look at the violent video games.  Look at the music that glorifies violence and being tough.  All of this has a cumulative effect.  One song is not going to make someone think it is acceptable, but it is the entire culture.  Men=power, strength, aggressive, strong, powerful, successful, providers, good.  Women=emotional, weak, objects, bad.

As women rightly complain about the problems with a system known as the patriarchy, where anything seen as feminine is devalued, my fellow men should realize that all of the ‘privilege” that system offers us in terms of political power, higher pay for equal work, control over our own bodies and reproductive rights, and just being seen as superior…it all comes at a very high cost.  It is dehumanizing.  It prevents of from being ourselves.  It prevents us from being able to choose among the many, many types of human traits that would be the most right for every given situation.  And as men continue to defend their privilege against attacks on the system that grants us those privileges we must ask ourselves…

If this privilege prevents us from feeling like we can be ourselves, if it causes us to end up in prison, if it causes us to commit suicide, if it increases pressure on us to succeed financially and be used as providers, if it takes away our choices of how to handle things, if it causes us to look down upon the women in our lives, if it makes us throw away our empathetic nature, if it causes us to try and dominate every one we meet, if it keeps us from developing real emotional connections for friends that exist on the surface…

Why do we call it privilege, and why are we fighting to uphold it?

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

49 thoughts on “Why Feminism Is Good For Men”

  1. Seriously, this makes my feminist heart glow. I just connected with a man a few days ago who also considers himself a feminist, and I am SO. GLAD. Every day I see misogyny, whether it’s in person or online, and it wears me down. I wish you guys could school and convert many because sometimes it feels like a very lonely task from my position.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unfortunately, whenever I try, I am just met by hate and insults. Called a beta male…as if my validation is dependent on their opinions. Sometimes it feels like these kinds of important messages fall on deaf ears, or are just preaching to the choir.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This man I have been speaking to said exactly the same thing. One thing that is especially disturbing about our society is how quickly we polarize and hold tight to those beliefs, even when all evidence points to a truth that does not support our position.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just keep in mind Josh, that the deaf ears are usually attached to the same people who make the most noise. This messaging is increasingly finding its way into the stories we tell as a culture. For instance, several of the last many blockbuster stories for children on film have strong girl protagonists (Frozen, Inside Out, Home). And most of my favorite comic book franchises on television have Mighty Girls (Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, Agents of Shield, and even Arrow has some badass women in the ensemble).

        So the game is to keep bringing this insight to the conversations we share everywhere, whether it’s in our cocktail parties or on the big screen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Sick and the Dating and commented:
    I recently connected with a man who proudly says he is a feminist. He is truly concerned for the women in his life and his actions match his word; yesterday he brought dinner to a friend who was working two jobs and had no time to get food, and then when he found out she wouldn’t be able to put gas in her nearly empty tank until 11:30 pm, took her car himself and filled the tank. We talked about what it’s like for women to move through this world – the men who shoulder check us when we are walking in opposite directions, women having to always think about how we are going to survive a trip to the grocery store without being hit on or hit over the head; how unsafe it is for a woman to travel alone to a majority of other countries (not to mention going a few miles away from home).

    Of course, men are also hugely disconnected in interpersonal relationships when they label feelings as feminine and therefore without value. Some of the men I encounter on OKCupid have been on there for six years now, and claim that any blame lies with the women they meet on the site. However, they are terrible at self-examination (and most likely don’t have the first clue about how to learn it), and they will ALWAYS be single if they have shut down all possibilities to meaningful relationships complete with love and communication.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. About this, you should write a book.
    I would totally read a man like you writing about gender issues.
    It’s very complicated, isn’t it?
    I have feelings about this stuff.
    I tell you what I hate. I hate that when my son is/was emotionally available and physically passive, and I make/made concessions for his feelings, I was accused of BABYING him. We’ve raised/are raising three girls since and not one person has ever said I’m BABYING them in the same way, by meeting the same needs in the exact same way.
    If my daughters are lesbians, this doesn’t seem to affect how I feel about my own sexuality, but if sons are gay, fathers question their own manhood. It’s bizarre.
    Boys can’t have baby dolls, or you know, they might grow up to be good dads or infant caretakers or baby clothes designers? But it’s okay if girls have trucks and trains and blocks? Who made these rules?
    I tell you what your privilege is — I’ve long said men seem to feel their penises are talking sticks, as are those of other men. People listen to you.
    I recently read how teachers have to work more on boy self-esteem for all the building up of girls we’ve done, now boys aren’t experiencing comparable success. Good grief, what a mess.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We need to realize that there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the traits we’ve known as masculine and feminine. It isn’t one verses the other, it is what is right for the situation. What human traits do we all share and how should we pick those?
      What is hilarious though, is that people DON’T listen to me. Women do. Look at the comments. Many men just don’t want to even read anything with the F word. Even if it isn’t attacking men, and indeed talks about how men would be better off in an equal society. Some idiot on Twitter called me a beta male when this was published. But do you know what is beta? Allowing a stranger on the internet, a male stranger on the internet, to affect how you define your masculinity. THAT is beta. Which is why I blocked him and his opinion will have no effect on my other than making me wonder why people freak out so much about this topic. I WISH people listened to me about it. Got past the word and looked at what I was saying. At this point the word “feminism” in the eyes of men is like “socialism”. Completely misunderstood.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can see your point.
        Women do love you, hm? I don’t follow many male bloggers. You don’t even fit my typical parameters. I tend to read older than me.You’re obviously wise beyond your years, or an old soul. Whatever, I like ya.
        I enjoy feminism and socialism. I’d like more of both, thanks.
        I’ve never been a big proponent of the Alpha Beta male scenarios. I’m sorry you deal with that. Usually the real Alphas are the ones that let the fake Alphas bark themselves to exhaustion…
        Of course, any bitch worth her salt knows that. lol 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it is a matter of defining it. Alpha as currently defined by those who cling to it, is actually rather insecure. Therefore, it isn’t alpha at all.
        You enjoy those terms because you understand the need to learn about what they really are, not the scare tactics associated with them. Which is what more people should do. It is hard to hear the word that has been claimed by Nazi’s and the USSR without knowing they never really were socialist and not be scared by it. It is hard to hear feminism without assuming that it means female superiority. Of course, all one has to do it look into these things to educate themselves about the real definition, but that type of investigative learning and critical thinking is so undervalued and even discouraged in this society.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The age old question of nature vs nurture. Are there biological/psychological differences between the genders. Of course. At the same time, the variations within each gender are broad. Physically, in general, men are stronger than women. But there are many women stronger than many men. Emotionally, women, in general, are more sensitive. But there are many men who are more sensitive than many women. Etc. Etc.

    In my mind what “feminism” means is simply this. Accepting each person on his or her own merits/terms.
    The problem is in childrearing. If parents raise children to perform according to certain stereotypes that can influence them to hide parts of their personalities as wrong or unacceptable.

    Example. We had a “dress up” chest for our kids when they were little (one boy, one girl). It was filled with all kinds of “Goodwill” store dresses, scarfs, vests, pants, hats, etc. Both kids often wandered around dressed “cross-gender”. Guess what? Neither of them turned gay!

    Probably the most important “role modeling” in done unconsciously within the family. Little primates are copycats. If the male and female role models are respectful of each other that is what the child will learn . If the male or female degrades or stereotypes the other, that is also what they will learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are definitely differences. But so many traits overlap that to say a specific gender can’t choose one because it is exclusive to the other is false in most cases. And parenting has a lot to do with it as in your example, but it also gets reinforced constantly outside the home as well.

      Like

  5. I actually watched a really interesting youtube video on What Is Gender. It’s worth checking out if you want me to link it, it’s the philosophy behind gender roles which is what you’ve also written about. I really like what you’ve written. My partner isnt what you’d consider an alpha male but because he has a tall posture and is doing a super hard uni degree and doesn’t talk he’s automatically treated like he has a superiority over other men, it’s weird. Yet when I said I’ve wanted to do a hard uni course I get told I should concentrate on something easier, we are also stupid as well as weak. He also grew up with a crazy mother who hated all men so he’s been told his whole life that men are bad, which makes him still just as closed off, he supports the movement but is too closed up to talk about the topic. I really think he may relate to this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure, leave the link, I love watching interesting documentary type videos. Also, feel free to share this post with him if thou think he’d like it. Happy to write something possibly relatable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a coincidence. I wrote a post today on International Women’s Day and linked Isabel Allende’s Ted Talk. She says the same thing as you say…doesn’t matter if you call it feminism or Aphrodite or bimbo, as long as people support the cause. Great post.

        Like

  6. This one piqued my interest, so I went and did a little research on the chemistry of gender. Outside of a couple times in early infancy when testosterone is higher in males, and the fact that females start the growth to maturity a couple of years earlier, there is no biological reason for “man up” syndrome. It must be a leftover cultural thing. Most American Indian cultures recognize the duality of males and female components in human beings. Kind of like ying and yang. But we start gender specific conditioning early in our children’s lives. Blue baseball player’s outfits for boys, pink princess outfits for girls. We could easily do away with this if we weren’t in such denial. Nice post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I cannot lay enough emphasis on how much I truly love this post! Feminism is the equality of BOTH the genders. Why is it that we only talk about empowering women and no one talks about the issues faced by men? Whether it is not being allowed to express your emotions or being physically harassed? As kids why aren’t men allowed to play dress up and women play the role of going to a workplace? These gender stereotypes and the inequality in the society needs to be broken. Everyone should do whatever makes them happy and comfortable. No one should be allowed to tell another person that he or she can’t do a certain thing based on their gender.
    Very powerful words! Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good post and you’re absolutely right. A world where everyone is free, and respected, and equal really IS better for everyone.
    But this is a big messy topic with no easy solutions to its many challenges. Some are naturally resistant to change in anything that upsets their own view of the world. Others are insecure and see anything that corrects a previous injustice as an attack on their own rights and privileges, and on the opposite side there are those who go too far or get sidetracked by inconsequential issues when so many of the big issues have yet to be put to bed.
    In my opinion “Feminism” as a brand has gone as far as it can in its current format and needs to be left by the side of the road.
    It has too much negative baggage and has been splintered into so many self-serving special interest subgroups. We’ll never achieve any of its most worthy and noble goals, in terms of pay equity and overall respect for individual rights and choices, if we keep banging on the same drum that leaves many with the impression that it’s all about some kind of extra-special treatment for women, when it’s so clearly about building a better world with equal opportunities for all. It needs to be re-branded as something that EVERYONE can enthusiastically get behind.
    Let’s call it modern equality, common sense (!), or individual rights. So no I wouldn’t call myself a feminist; a modern realist perhaps?
    And now I’ll shut up and go write my own post on the subject 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is the problem with people. They see brands instead of substance. No movement is perfect. Interest groups will always muck up the case for change. But you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Unless you hate babies.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yep! Whenever I say I want to Smash The Patriarchy, my male friends and family members get a little uncomfortable. The thing is, Patriarchy and sexism HURT MEN TOO. It’s not “anti-man” to say that we think men should be able to express a full range of emotions, live the lives they want to live without violence (or the pressure to perpetrate violence) AND be respectful of others. If anything, we’re holding men to a standard because we believe they’re capable of so much more than the Patriarchy allows. Great post, Josh! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is very powerful, well-thought out, and much appreciated. The most surprising thing to me was reading the suicide rate stats, that one blew me away, but it makes sense. Thank-you for writing about this, and being man enough to speak up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very Thought provoking Josh! Great Post. I don’t know why but your posts don’t seem to be showing up in my reader like they used to? I am going to unfollow and then re follow. Hope that works! I look forward to your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amen dear! Always glad to read sincere introspection on feminism from a male perspective. Self-reflection is hard, especially when you’re taught to avoid all pretense of vulnerability. Sadly, women do it to each other, too. Ain’t it some Animal Farm four-legs-bad, two-legs-good mess? I had just blogged about this, too; true feminism is supportive. Am I silly to think we might get there someday?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Awesome to see a guy talk about feminism and the positive message it has. You just have to be careful not to re-approach it as an issue ABOUT men though. It’s like talking about black civil rights being great for white people but then focussing solely specifically on the issues on how it hurts white people. Remember, insults against men like ‘you’re a p*ssy” or “you hit like a girl” are more insulting to women because it labels girls as the weaker sex. It hurts guys’ feelings because they don’t want to be ‘degraded’.

    At the same time, it totally IS a guy’s issue because men and women need to work together to get rid of the gender stereotypes you discuss. A guy should be able to cry without losing his masculinity, a girl should be able to act aggressive without being stripped of her feminine qualities. Thanks for joining in on the discussion!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my personal opinion, the problem with people within the oppressor class not being able to talk about how the system affects them is it stops people with empathy from being able to affect change because so many lack it. If I’m not “allowed” to talk about how all these issues are harmful to everyone and not just someone else, than the way too many selfish people who don’t think they are hurt by it will continue to resist change at all costs. In short, the people this post is addressed to, are the people who wouldn’t care about this issue were it not a men’s issue too. The ones who think things are fine because it doesn’t hurt them.

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  14. Thank you. Really interesting point regarding how what is considered masculine traits are seen as having a higher value than feminine traits. In my short life I have seen this polarisation narrow and hope to see what are considered feminine traits to be something that are more positively reported and highly valued. I think we see it in some places: For example, in some cases, employers looking to employ someone that connects well with other people, builds up a good rapports with clients and leads through respect rather than types who are highly aggressive with huge egos that rule through fear. I recall reading some studies where groups of men, groups of women and mixed gender groups are given tasks. In almost all cases, it was the mixed gender group that came first, (then the all-women group and lastly the all-men group), showing that a mix of ‘typically’ masculine and feminine traits can work well together and should have equal value.

    Liked by 1 person

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