Is Feminism Pro-Women? Or is it Anti-Men? Is Feminism against Men having any rights? Is Feminism only about Women wanting to become better than Men?
True feminism is bringing women up, it’s not about putting men down! True feminism cares about both men and women equally and asks society to treat them the same.
Feminism simply asks society to give women the same rights, respect and privileges which men have always had.
Feminism has nothing to do with trash-talking Men or claiming Women are better than Men, there are plenty of men out there who proudly wear the badge of being a Feminist(John Legend, Harry Styles and Chris Martin being some famous examples!) Yet there exists a huge movement which has always been critical of Feminism, historically those opposed to Feminism were quite scared of Women voting or stepping out of their houses to work (or Women having more freedom in general!) but in the 21st century skeptics of feminism aren’t just concerned about women moving away from their traditional roles but many argue feminism would alienate men and deny men the respect they deserve.
Many argue that women have already been given rights and privileges and there isn’t any need for feminism anymore. A contrary and diametrically opposite movement has arisen which demands for men to be given more rights and respect instead of their female counterparts. Many Anti-Feminist Movements have caught on asking for women to ‘obey’ men and start becoming more ‘feminine’ ( Yes, I’m talking about the 21st century here!)
Let’s now ask a few simple questions and try to understand why Feminism isn’t Anti-Men:
Can Women vote?
A feminist would say yes, women should be able to vote, if men can be given the right to choose their leaders then why not women? A feminist however wouldn’t say men should be denied the right to vote and women alone should get the right to suffrage!
Should women be paid the same wage as men for the same work?
A feminist would say yes, simply because both en and women would have put equal effort into their work and they deserved to be paid the same, a feminist however wouldn’t say men should be paid lesser than women to reverse a historical wrong!
Should Women have the same freedom as men?
A feminist would say yes, women should have the freedom to do what they choose to do– what they wear, where they go and so forth. A feminist however wouldn’t say men shouldn’t have freedom and women alone should be free to choose what they want.
Should women be allowed to have careers?
A feminist would say yes to this. Women too have the ability to develop skills and should be allowed to put these to use, a Feminist however wouldn’t say men shouldn’t be allowed to work and women alone should be allowed to work or that Women work better than men and therefore women should work while men stay at home!
Should Women alone do all the housework?
A feminist would say no to this, men and women should be free to share the household work, a feminist however wouldn’t say men should do all the housework and men alone should be responsible for cleaning, washing, cooking and so on.
To sum the above five questions we raised, it’s quite clear that feminism stands for equality and empowering women to spread their wings, it’s a far cry from the meaning many of us have envisioned. Feminism doesn’t try clipping the wings of men nor is it a systematic campaign against men.
I often get asked the question “Why are you a feminist, you’re a guy aren’t you?” While answering this I always try highlight the atrocities Women have faced over the years at the hands of society (many of these still happen unfortunately) and I can’t help mention that while these atrocities were going on,what if a few more Men stood up and raised their voices, wouldn’t society have woken up a little earlier? In the 21st century a time where casual sexism is on a high, it has become very important for me to always mention that I’m a feminist. I do this in solidarity with the millions of little girls who see their brothers go to school while they learn how to cook, I do this in solidarity with the thousands of Women who face discrimination at workplaces, I do this in solidarity with the women who aren’t given any respect, I do this in solidarity with the beautiful girl baby who was born happy, but she didn’t realize her birth was frowned upon.
There has always been a trend over the years (which has caught fire in recent times) where any issue concerning Women is always rebutted by an issue faced by a man. Don’t get me wrong here, men do face a large platter of issues including sexual assaults which require urgent attention as well, however to say that simply because men face issues as well, the issues women face isn’t serious enough is quite wrong. Let’s be honest here, if someone is trying to bring out these issues only when we discuss about women and feminism, they don’t really care about men and the issues they face, they care more about putting an end to feminism. One cannot override issues women face by using the phrase ‘what about’. If someone genuinely cared about men’s issues, these issues would have been raised by them at all forums and at all times, not particularly only when issues faced by women are being discussed.
Women deserve the same respect, rights and freedoms which men have always had, it’s about time we started treating them as equals and it’s about time we all identified ourselves as feminists. It’s about time we started raising our boys to respect Women and treat them with dignity, it’s about time we empowered our young girls to spread their wings and reach new places. It’s about time we stopped blaming Women for the length of their skirts and it’s about time we started making our cities safer for our Women. It’s about time we break the ‘traditional’ role of women and start giving them the right to explore the world and while we are at it, it’s about time we paid Women the same as men. It’s about time we all stood up for gender equality, it’s about time we make workplaces safe for women. But most of all it’s about time we raised our sons and our daughters to be proud feminists, because feminism has never been nor will it ever be anti-men.
This post has been written in honour of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian feminist and author. Her writings have deeply influenced my idea of feminism. She has taught me to become a fighter for women and the issues they face and has made me realize it’s not just women who have to be feminists but rather we should all be feminists. I will end this post with a small quote of hers:
“We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be Women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be Women who silence themselves. They grow up to be Women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be Women who have turned pretense into an art form”.