How Feminism Can Help Men Too

Feminism doesn’t have the best of reputations, especially among men. Many think that it’s an issue that just doesn’t affect us, that it is a woman’s issue, something for them to worry about. Many are quite hostile to it, seeing it as an ideology that is fundamentally anti-men, that seeks to raise women by pulling men down. That some Feminists just hate men and see men as evil and the source all the problems in the world. Gender issues are often seen as a zero sum, that each side can only gain if the other side loses.

Yet Feminism can make society a much better place and improve the lives of all of us. Obviously, women stand to gain the most as they are worse off. It is good enough to improve society even if I don’t directly benefit and I could fill a blog post on how the many ways in which treating women as equals benefits us all (and I probably will in another post). However, I think it’s worth focusing on the ways in which Feminism can benefit men, especially because most men are completely unaware of them.

At its heart, Feminism is about treating people equally regardless of gender and removing gender stereotypes and double standards. Essentially, it wants for people to feel free to do as they wish and express themselves without fear of gender barriers. What many don’t realise is that men too are blocked by barriers. Growing up I was keenly aware the huge amount of rules that seemed to control everything I did. There was a huge list of things that men don’t do. Men don’t wear pink shirts, men don’t cross their legs, men don’t listen to certain types of music or like certain types of TV shows. Even having too many female friends was unmanly.

Instead there were things that you had to do, regardless of whether you wanted to. Men had to play sports, had to be tough, had to fight. Drinking was manly, so the more you drank, the more of a man you were. Several times I’ve had to jump between men about to fight over literally nothing, because they felt that if someone even slightly disrespected them, they had to fight. If you didn’t fit this image of what a man was supposed to be, you were mocked, ridiculed, bullied. If you didn’t do these things you were a girl and/or gay (the two were considered the same thing). The strange thing was that these rules were enforced by other men, we built our own prison. Women were much less likely to subscribe to the stereotypes, which made them seem all the stranger to us, they just didn’t get why these things were important.

One of the biggest barrier was around emotion. Men don’t show emotion. It was like some unwritten rule that we were all sworn to. The only exception is anger, men are allowed get angry, it is even encouraged. But no man can ever cry, no matter what situation. Even at funerals, men hide their tears as if it was something to be ashamed of. Even friendship is supposed to be left unspoken. I have great friends I’ve known for years, without either one of us saying a nice thing about the other. Complimenting each other just isn’t something that men do. No man is allowed to be afraid. Even in relationships with people they care deeply about, be it friends, family or girlfriends, men feel deeply restricted in expressing how they feel. It is more socially acceptable for a man to deal with their problems by getting blind drunk than by talking about them.

The only emotion men are allowed express towards women is lust, as if that is the only thing we care about women. Caring about a woman’s feelings and personality is a sign that you are “whipped”, a “pussy”. Real men have sex with women, only losers have conversations with them. This inability to express emotion leaves lads unable to deal with rejection. I’ve seen many cases (both online and in real life) of lads who got rejected by women and became bitter and resentful as a result. They felt they couldn’t admit weakness so the problem was all the women’s fault. The women were sluts or bitches or heartless. The only way the lads felt comfortable publically expressing their emotion was through anger and you can find countless examples of this online.

There are jobs that are supposedly not for men, or at least not for “real” men. Men aren’t supposed to be hairdressers, nurses, dancers. Jobs that involve caring are dominated by women, as if men are unable to care for anyone. Instead they are supposed to want “manly” jobs like construction, manual and military jobs, jobs based on physical strength and killing people, those are the characteristics of men.

Some people known as Men’s Rights activists are strongly anti-feminist arguing that men are not as privileged as claimed and suffer from discrimination. For example, they point to the fact that men have a far higher suicide rate than women or that in custody disputes, the courts tend to side with the woman over the man. They point out that men are often portrayed as incapable of doing household chores or as violent animals. Discussions of rape often imply that men simply can’t help themselves. Men are also the victims of rape and domestic violence yet this is rarely reported and people are more likely to laugh at the men than offer support.

Yet the Men’s Rights activists don’t realise that this is exactly why we need Feminism. By breaking down gender stereotypes and removing the image of women as helpless victims and men as violent attackers, we can solve the gender problems that both Feminists and Men’s Rights activists oppose. Challenging the stereotype that men must always be tough will allow men to talk about their feelings and mental health and is the best way to tackle suicide. Ditching the stereotype of men as violent will help victims of rape and domestic violence get help. Women are favoured in custody battles because of the old fashioned view that raising children is a woman’s job while the man should be out working. Feminists are the main people challenging these stereotypes.

But don’t Feminists hate men? Aren’t they overly sensitive and complain that everything, no matter how trivial is sexism? Don’t they want to censor debate and get men to shut up? Don’t they claim that everything triggers them and want to hide in a safe space?

I could go on and on, and we all have heard outrageous and crazy stories. But every ideology has its extremists and its stereotypes that opponents love to use. If you create a movement of millions of people, you are bound to have a few extremists. For example, if I said I am left wing, someone might stereotype me as believing that capitalism is the root of all evil, we should line the rich up against a wall and the lazy will steal from the hard working. Now I’m sure you could find a tiny minority that actually agrees with this (just as I’m sure you could find Feminists who actually hate men if you look hard enough) but you shouldn’t judge a movement based on its most extreme part. Opponents love to do this as it makes them feel smug and superior, but it’s unfair and dishonest.

It’s easy to caricature an ideology and you can do it for any belief. You can stereotype conservatives as hating the poor and trigger happy racists. Irish nationalists are stereotyped as ignorant muck savages who want to murder all British people. Anti-nationalists are in turned stereotyped as cowardly boot lickers and “West Brit” servants of the Queen of England. Social liberals are immoral degenerates who want us all to have sex with men, women and dogs and will scream that you are a bigot if you don’t agree. Social conservatives are ignorant hicks living in the Stone Age who hate everyone different. Trade unions are corrupt and lazy who make a living from extorting the rest of society. Capitalists are greedy blood suckers who would sell their own mother if the price was right.

Even among anti-feminists there are plenty of people I could use to smear the whole movement. There are people who think women shouldn’t vote, that their brains are not as rational as men’s or that they are little more than dogs. If you don’t believe me, check out “The Red Pill“. I’m sure there will be people who respond to this article by saying “but the Feminists really are that crazy, they really do want to treat men as inferiors, the extremists are the majority” yet would be offended if I suggested that anti-feminists hate women or wanted to keep them as inferiors. Some people want to judge their side based on the best examples and their opponents based on the worst examples.

And on and on it goes. For any ideology I could find someone, somewhere who actually holds that view. After all, the Western English speaking world is huge with a population of a couple hundred million or so. Even if only a tiny fraction of 1% of people actually hold this view, that’s still thousands and thousands of people. In fact there are plenty of websites devoted solely to recording every crazy statement that someone with a different ideology has, even if that person has absolutely no influence or power. A lot of the time the statement is taken out of context or sensationalised to give it a meaning it never had.

When I was younger, I thought Feminism was an ideology that at best offered nothing to men like me and at worst was outright hostile. It’s only recently that I’ve realised how much us men can gain from Feminism.

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24 thoughts on “How Feminism Can Help Men Too”

  1. “Yet the Men’s Rights activists don’t realise that this is exactly why we need Feminism. By breaking down gender stereotypes and removing the image of women as helpless victims and men as violent attackers, we can solve the gender problems that both Feminists and Men’s Rights activists oppose. Challenging the stereotype that men must always be tough will allow men to talk about their feelings and mental health and is the best way to tackle suicide. Ditching the stereotype of men as violent will help victims of rape and domestic violence get help. Women are favoured in custody battles because of the old fashioned view that raising children is a woman’s job while the man should be out working. Feminists are the main people challenging these stereotypes.”

    Don’t read this as angry, I just speak bluntly 😛

    Your above quote is really out of touch with empiricism. It sounds good in theory, but when you look at the actions of feminists and feminist groups on a legislative stage, they are among the largest lobbies reinforcing traditional status quos in IPV services, rape law, and custody law. For instance, the National Organization for Women, the largest feminist org in the U.S., has repeatedly and successfully lobbied against shared parenting legislation under the premise that abusers (men) would use the egalitarian arrangement to harm victims (women and children). This lobby has a 20+ year history of doing such, and an example can be found as recently as February of this year (see Florida).

    Now if you’re familiar with Murray Strauss and the accompanying literature on gender symmetry in intimate partner violence, don’t be afraid to check and see what lobby has fought the collection and dissemination of this data every step of the way.

    Did you know feminist groups in India actually petitioned the government to not make rape laws gender neutral; again, under the premise of abusers (men) using an egalitarian standard to harm victims (women)?

    It’s almost like for every single well meaning blog post discussing feminist theory, I can find a feminist lobby with more power doing the exact opposite, often to the detriment of men and reinforcement of traditional gender stereotypes. And then when I point this out to well meaning bloggers, they tend to concern themselves more with worldview preservation than in-group maintenance, all while insisting on their deterministic definition of the label. Not that I can presume this to be your reaction, it’s just an interesting dynamic I’ve experienced over and over throughout my time in the discussion.

    What do you think?

    And for the record, I’m am anti-feminist, MRA, and pro-equality. But I’ll find common ground with anyone irrespective of their label.

    Best,

    RP

  2. Thank you for writing this. You made my day. 🙂
    I agree with all that you said. People need to stop pulling extreme, ridiculous examples of feminism out of a hat and look at what feminism really is. I went on a date with a guy who literally thought that feminists think “all sex is rape”. I was concerned for this young man, because even the most unreasonable people can usually see to some degree that feminism fights for equality. But there are men who believe that feminists think all men are evil. I really don’t understand how they can take one extreme example of a woman who thinks this way about men and assume that every single feminist operates the same way. There are so many examples of level-headed, compassionate feminists. You included! 🙂

      1. This is quite true. It bothers me equally when I hear some women say, “That’s just men!” Or when I hear a guy being made fun of for doing something he enjoys but it isn’t considered masculine enough. You’re right, that the caricatures about feminism have stuck on so strongly. I find myself so confused when I hear people joke about feminists, and they never joke about super chauvinistic attitudes.

  3. “Feminism doesn’t have the best of reputations, especially among men.”

    -For good reason.

    “Obviously, women stand to gain the most as they are worse off.”

    -No, they’re not.

    “At its heart, Feminism is about treating people equally regardless of gender and removing gender stereotypes and double standards. Essentially, it wants for people to feel free to do as they wish and express themselves without fear of gender barriers.”

    -This is not true. It is precisely the opposite of the truth.

    “The women were sluts or bitches or heartless.”

    -This is a classic example of futility. Sometimes, one must simply accept the nature of women as a fact of life and go on with it. The clearest way to deal with sluts and bitches is to learn to avoid them. There are millions of other women in the world.

    “Men are also the victims of rape and domestic violence yet this is rarely reported and people are more likely to laugh at the men than offer support.”

    -Because smart men should be able to avoid such situations!

    “Yet the Men’s Rights activists don’t realise that this is exactly why we need Feminism. By breaking down gender stereotypes and removing the image of women as helpless victims and men as violent attackers, we can solve the gender problems that both Feminists and Men’s Rights activists oppose. Challenging the stereotype that men must always be tough will allow men to talk about their feelings and mental health and is the best way to tackle suicide. Ditching the stereotype of men as violent will help victims of rape and domestic violence get help. Women are favoured in custody battles because of the old fashioned view that raising children is a woman’s job while the man should be out working. Feminists are the main people challenging these stereotypes.”

    -All this is either [citation needed] or clearly false except “Women are favoured in custody battles because of the old fashioned view that raising children is a woman’s job while the man should be out working”.

  4. Firstly, it’s kind of hard to say women are worse off when they have a longer life expectancy, are more likely to graduate from college, and are far less likely to end up in prison.

    Secondly, I see no studies cited here. Empirical claims of questionable value like “Challenging the stereotype that men must always be tough will allow men to talk about their feelings and mental health and is the best way to tackle suicide. Ditching the stereotype of men as violent will help victims of rape and domestic violence get help.” deserve citations to back them up.

    And I just don’t see feminists challenging stereotypes all that much. They don’t seem to understand that most of the “disadvantages” (really, trade-offs) of being female (e.g., lower median income, less representation in business) come from their ability to bear children, which men can’t do, or from their natural weakness. One of the corollaries of the “wage gap” is the “workplace deaths gap”. When men and women are equally represented among foresters, fishers, oil drillers, and construction workers, I doubt the “wage gap” will be any sort of issue. I would not like to be a woman purely because of the menstruation issue.

    “There are people who think women shouldn’t vote, that their brains are not as rational as men’s”

    -Both of these are arguable. Donald Trump (a great guy) was liked by women much less than Jeb Bush (Jeb Bush) before the primaries started. That’s a big piece of evidence in favor of the “women shouldn’t vote” argument, although this and previous election cycles have suggested to me that old people shouldn’t vote (more likely to support Hillary, Romney, over Sanders, Paul) and educated people (more likely to support Rubio over Trump) shouldn’t vote, either. The last especially makes a lot of sense. Most of politics isn’t actually evaluating positions, but status-signaling. There is no prima facie reason the right to vote shouldn’t be restricted to just the few capable of exercising it.

    1. “Firstly, it’s kind of hard to say women are worse off when they have a longer life expectancy, are more likely to graduate from college, and are far less likely to end up in prison.”

      It’s strange that you deny women are worse off here, yet later in your comment you admit that they are paid less and run less businesses. It’s obvious how women are worse off, they have less power then men in society.

      “Secondly, I see no studies cited here.”

      You don’t need to cite a study when discussing social norms.

      “come from their ability to bear children, which men can’t do, or from their natural weakness.”

      Please explain women’s “natural weakness” that prevents them from running a business.

      “One of the corollaries of the “wage gap” is the “workplace deaths gap”. When men and women are equally represented among foresters, fishers, oil drillers, and construction workers, I doubt the “wage gap” will be any sort of issue.”

      Except manual labour is not the best paid employment. The best paying jobs are in offices and particularly finance which do not carry a risk of workplace death.

      “I would not like to be a woman purely because of the menstruation issue.”

      I have no idea what this has got to do with anything.

      “Donald Trump (a great guy) was liked by women much less than Jeb Bush (Jeb Bush) before the primaries started. That’s a big piece of evidence in favor of the “women shouldn’t vote” argument”

      I can’t tell if you are a troll or just an idiot. Trump is a bigoted moron and so is anyone who thinks women are too stupid to vote.

      1. “It’s obvious how women are worse off, they have less power then men in society.”

        -I do not see how the Caliphs of the Islamic State (Obama/Erdogan/Baghdadi) are better off than I am, even though I have much less power in society. I would not want to be them.

        “You don’t need to cite a study when discussing social norms.”

        -Those were claims of empirical fact, which were quite dubious and required citations to have any credibility.

        “I can’t tell if you are a troll or just an idiot. Trump is a bigoted moron and so is anyone who thinks women are too stupid to vote.”

        -Is this a claim of fact or opinion? I’m a pretty smart guy. And of course I support Donald Trump. I voted for him. I can understand why the educated might support a Democrat for policy-related reasons, but not Rubio.

        “Please explain women’s “natural weakness” that prevents them from running a business.”

        -Pregnancy and risk of it, as well as childcare, increases the cost of managing long-term projects. Maybe women’s brain structure is different, but that’s more speculative.

        “The best paying jobs are in offices and particularly finance which do not carry a risk of workplace death.”

        -90%+ of Tetlock’s best superforecasters were men. Not sure why that is. Might be mostly something biological, might not be. Forecasting is very important in finance.

        “I have no idea what this has got to do with anything.”

        -If I looked like a woman, but had all the same natural abilities as a man (including no need for menstruation), I see no way in which I would be disadvantaged from my present station.

    2. The Educated shouldn’t be allowed to vote? Why? That makes absolutely no sense.

      I’m not surprised to see a Trump supporter who wants to deny anyone else the right to vote. Their getting more blatantly fascist by the minute.

      1. Marco Rubio was by far more dangerous to world peace than is Donald Trump. Yet, for some reason, educated Republicans strongly tended to support him. Shows what education is worth.

        What’s so good about everyone getting the right to vote, anyway? After all, you’re getting only one candidate elected, so the votes of a substantial minority (and sometimes, the majority) are meaningless. Why not have some people’s votes made meaningless all the time, via not allowing them to vote? Nobody thinks twice of nullifying the people’s will via the decisions of a single Supreme Court justice if it favors their pet causes.

        And America in the 1790s was “blatantly fascist”? lol

  5. Feminism is a movement which is pro equality. Equality is always bad for the people in power, as it takes power away from them to distribute it among a greater number of people. Traditionally it’s been men who have had their hold on basically all the power in society, and that was precisely the reason why feminism was founded in the first place. Ergo Feminism is bad for men.

    Doesn’t mean that anyone should be AGAINST equality, as equality is simply ethically better than unilateral possession of power; but to think that feminism does NOT take away something from men just to give it to women, that is just delusional. It’s like saying “Abolition of slavery can help slavers too!” or “The introduction of democracy can help for monarchs and aristocrats too!” – No, it simply doesn’t.

    That being said, I’m still looking for a real life, actual feminist legislation (i.e. that has been lobbied for by feminist organizations and has actually come to pass), which benefits men more than it hurts them. If anyone could provide an example, that’d be great.

    1. “Feminism is a movement which is pro equality.”

      -In workplace deaths? Life expectancy? University attendance? Ability to get pregnant? Physical strength? I have my doubts.

  6. To be very honest this article makes no sense to me whatsoever. I abhor feminism. Virtually every aspect of feminism I’ve seen since the early 1970’s has been predicated on a sense of victim-hood, envy, and a n ingrained dislike of men.

    Your depiction of a typical male also appears to be a caricature of men as well.

    Speaking for myself I have never been interested in sports in fact I have no idea how to even play any team sport. I wear exactly what I like whenever I like. I am not aggressive nor am I defensive either in public or private.

    Tough… maybe, I’ve studied karate for many years and can easily hold my own in a fight. However so has my wife so I cannot necessarily consider that to be a “manly” pursuit.

    As far as expressing emotion or conversing with women goes I think you are almost entirely wrong. Fact is I’ve spent a lifetime having conversations with women with no interest or intent of having sex with them. And caring about my wife’s feelings, interests, values, and personality has been number one on my list for almost forty years.

    Fact is I see your caricature of “manliness” as not only wrong but grossly immature and utterly imbecilic.

    Real men care about their wives and children. They listen to their concerns, respect their opinions, and share their pain when they are hurting.

    Real men are also considerate of other people’s feelings and respect their boundaries. They respect others opinions even when they don’t agree with them.

    Men like these are “Real Men” they are not “Feminists.”

    1. I hope that by reinforcing your opinion with your own nonsensical ideas of what ‘real men’ are you realise that it’s you who is ‘grossly immature and utterly imbecilic’. You just read an article about the dangers of hyper-masculinity and as you try to debunk everything said, you just contradict yourself. Just because you, allegedly, have never been a victim of gender stereotypes, doesn’t mean it isn’t a very prominent problem in our society? Shockingly, shoving your beliefs of how men ‘should’ behave down our throats is not the right approach

  7. Feminism is man hating movement. It does not benefit men in anyway. In fact it does not even benefit women. Most feminists have mental disorders and all they do is hate men and everything around them and you are a fool. Keep kissing butts you whiteknight☺☺

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