The word “feminism” has a connotation that seems to suggest that it’s exclusively a women’s club. The truth is, men need feminism as well. Like women, men too are affected by the strict set of gender roles pressed upon us.
Nurseries are painted pink when girls are born, blue when boys are born. Girls are conditioned to play with cooking sets and Barbies, while boys play with Hot Wheels and ride Tonka trucks. It’s still borderline derogatory for men to indulge in stereotypically girlish ventures, such as fashion and cooking.
Unisex clothing is traditionally masculine clothing. It’s okay for girls to wear their boyfriend’s t-shirts. It’s even a cute look for them. But just imagine a boy walking down the street in peep-toe stilettos and a mini-skirt. An odd sight, isn’t it?
There’s this standard of manliness that is meant to be upheld. We are told from a young age that men are supposed to wear the suits, be the breadwinners and pay for our dates. I’m sure a few men are tired of trying to stick to that status quo but they still feel obligated to. Feminism fights that. We want to get rid of that “tough guy/good girl” dichotomy.
Those are not huge problems, but they are at the root of every conflict with sexism. The main premise of feminism is to get rid of these standards, because they allow people to assume women have no purpose outside of maternal roles or that all the things that women are interested in are vapid.
They also, unfortunately, do not accommodate anyone who is born different from the established norm. Feminism is bigger than just us girls, so please don’t cringe when you hear a girl claim she is a feminist; not many do in the first place because it’s a term that has such a negative, seemingly radical connotation. There will always be a few people who call the cops on the party, but they don’t speak for all the guests.
There is a double standard between the sexuality of men and women in this country. The masculine sexuality is empowered and celebrated, while girls are always taught to be chaste. We grow up teaching girls not to go out alone at night instead of telling boys not to make girls feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
It makes sense, because parents assume that their children know better so they don’t really see the need to drop a casual reminder like, “Hey son, make sure you don’t murder or rape someone today.” It even sounds kind of weird to type that out.
In the end, boys will always be excused for their inappropriate sexual advances because we’ve grown up with the notion that “boys will be boys,” and victims will still be blamed for sexual assaults because of what they chose to wear, what time of night they chose to be out at or how much alcohol they chose to drink.
This is part of a phenomenon known as rape culture, which is the idea that rape-like behavior has become normalized and trivialized and embedded subtly into our daily lives and daily vernacular. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Man, I raped that test!”?
Another product of rape culture is homophobia. The largest stereotype about homosexual men is that they’re girly men — our society’s misogyny extends towards them because the worst thing you could be is a girl. Think about this: the worst thing you can call a man is a pussy.
Racism, homophobia and transphobia are all issues battled by feminism. It’s a legitimate social cause that strives to make the world a more open-minded place and solve a number of problems that occur for people of all kinds.
Men have legitimate problems concerning rape and custody battles, and are more likely to go into life-threatening industries, but that all stems from outdated gender stereotypes where men need to maintain their machismo and women need to maintain their prowess as a homemaker.
Basically if you believe that everyone has an equal chance to take full advantage of their human rights, you’re already a member of the feminism club. Welcome.
If any guys want to try on MONA SUNDARA’s lipstick, they can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.