Feminism is not the enemy

It never has been.

A while ago, my friend Adam wrote this post about anti-feminism backlash, and I couldn’t help but be prompted to write about feminism not being the enemy.

Our ongoing quest for social, political, and economic equality of the sexes does not mean we want men to have less. Raising the bar for women does not mean lowering the bar for men. As I’ve written here before (which I borrowed from an meme making the rounds on the internet), in the quest for equal rights, more rights for me doesn’t mean fewer rights for you. It’s not pie.

Feminism is not the enemy. Feminism has never been the enemy. Feminism has not only made the lives of girls and women better (and continues to do so), it’s also made the lives of boys and men better.

Patriarchy is the enemy.

A system of society which was developed and continues to be ruled primarily by men is the enemy. It’s a system that largely excludes women.

Patriarchy is the cause of so much of the grief in our lives; not getting what we expected; men not achieving or receiving what they’ve been led to believe they would.

Now, as this blog has picked up a few people who seem to thrive on demonstrating how feminism is the enemy or that feminism is a waste of time or, yes, that feminism should be destroyed, allow me for a moment to cater to your oh-so-important feelings and acknowledge that we know that you, as an individual man, are not the creator of patriarchy. You, as an individual man, like women just fine. You, as an individual man, probably know a woman or three who hold a position of power. You, as an individual man, are having a rough time finding work, finding a partner, enjoying your life. We get it. (Also, read Adam’s post.)

Patriarchy is a system. It is not a thing that one individual can change. As feminists, we know that, otherwise we wouldn’t still be fighting for that social, economic, and political equality.

But listen up for just a second.

Patriarchy is what tells you that you have to be the breadwinner in your family. Patriarchy is what tells you that you shouldn’t be the one to stay home and raise your children. Patriarchy is what tells you that if you’re both working, you better be making more money or she’s emasculating you. Patriarchy is what tells you to “man up.” Patriarchy is what tells you that you’re strong enough to push through that illness without seeking medical attention. Patriarchy is what tells you that you can’t seek help for those feelings of constant sadness. Patriarchy is what tells you that men shouldn’t cry. Patriarchy is what tells you that “boys will be boys” when your daughter has been raped. Patriarchy is what tells you that you shouldn’t believe victims of sexual violence because there’s something to be gained in making false accusations. Patriarchy is what tells you that you don’t deserve equal custody of your children because the mother is the ‘natural’ caregiver. Patriarchy is what tells you that you shouldn’t seek a career in a ‘caring profession’ unless you have plans for management, because what kind of man does that? Patriarchy is what tells you that she belongs in the kitchen; that she’s intimidating if she’s smarter or more highly educated that you; that you are less than if she beats you in any sort of athletic competition. Patriarchy is what tells you that your daughter will never be worth as much to the world as your son.

Feminism understands that we are all emotional beings who deserve respect. Feminism understands that no one should be abused at any age by anyone for any reason. Feminism believes that women should have as many opportunities to work outside of the home as their male counterparts, and get paid an equal amount for that equivalent work. Feminism believes that men are more than their urges and can control themselves around women no matter what they’re wearing or drinking. Feminism believes that good fathers deserve as much access to their children as good mothers.

Feminism works to improve the lives of everyone – girls, women, boys, and men.

Patriarchy works to keep people ‘in their place;’ to keep people down; to serve up expectations of men that cause mental, emotional and, sometimes, physical injury.

Patriarchy is the enemy.

12 thoughts on “Feminism is not the enemy

  1. If you really want feminism to become socially accepted, you have to be even-handed. If you really look, you’ll find that feminist rhetoric is completely absent of any mention of socially damaging behaviors more common to women than men.

    I wonder if we could call that collection of behaviors, and their effects, the “Matriarchy”. And if “feminists” would allow the usage of the term to denote socially destructive behaviors more common to females than males – or if they’d call that blatantly, obviously, laughably sexist. And any attempts to portray the term in a nonsexist form as pathetic.

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    1. You’ve entirely missed the point of the post.

      First of all, we can’t call those behaviours and their effects (which are you even talking about? I have my suspicions, but I’ll let you spell it out) the matriarchy, as it is not a system of power. (I defined patriarchy in the blog entry.)

      Second, I don’t know any feminist personally, through social media, or one who’s written anything that advocates for the abuse of men. Again, as I noted in my post and as is also discussed at length by Jackson Katz, feminism has made the lives of boys and men better as well as the lives of girls and women.

      Third, you’ll also note that I made a special point of saying that the faults of the patriarchy (again, a system of power) is not the fault of individual men, whereas you seem to be speaking about individual women.

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      1. So, we’ll gloss over my main point, which is feminism’s consistent avoidance, and censorship, of any discussions addressing socially destructive behavior that primarily originates from females. Instead, I’ll request you educate me on the definition of “system of power”.

        Seemly, you define it as a series of social norms. Given the moniker you assign it, you believe those norms originate primarily from male influence on society. That, or you genuinely do not comprehend the nature of vocabulary, inwhich meaning is assigned to words. Utilizing that definition of “system of power”, or that unbelievably liberal manipulation of vocabulary, “Matriarchy” fits perfectly.

        If “patriarchy” defines social norms generated by males, Matriarchy has no issue doing the reverse. An example of social norms generated by the Matriarchy, of social norms enforced and generated by females more often than males, is manipulating the opposite gender into catering to them, using sex as motivation. This, of course, is blatantly immoral.

        Another example of Matriarchy’s damaging influence is females using their menstrual cycle as an excuse to get away with immoral behavior. As a male, I have urges to violently compete and reproduce, every second of the day – that is not an exaggeration. Yet, the second I give into those urges, I’m negatively portrayed. But I’m expected to simply give a pass to irrational behavior generated by the menstrual cycle, which genuinely influences women all the time.

        Add these two simply examples together, and you get something that’s pretty much exactly like the “patriarchy”. Its a gender-biased system of social norms which dictate one gender ruling over the other.

        Keep in mind: I’m not saying feminism doesn’t have some legitimate complaints about society. I’m saying those complaints are seen through the lens of vehement and unconscious misandry, and are thus distorted. Your movement will continue to be ignored, and infact generate misogyny, until you simply accept where you’re wrong, and change.

        And there’s nothing “patriarchal” about that expectation. That’s called being an adult.

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      2. Whilst you’re continuing to miss the point and comprehending neither what I’ve written nor the basic definition of specific words, Imma leave your comment here if only so others can marvel at it.

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    2. “Another example of Matriarchy’s damaging influence is females using their menstrual cycle as an excuse to get away with immoral behavior. As a male, I have urges to violently compete and reproduce, every second of the day – that is not an exaggeration. Yet, the second I give into those urges, I’m negatively portrayed. But I’m expected to simply give a pass to irrational behavior generated by the menstrual cycle, which genuinely influences women all the time.”

      There is soooo much to unpack here, just in that one paragraph. But let’s see what we can do.

      First of all, I am particularly amused by your use of the terms “females” and “males” which, while not incorrect, makes it appear as though you are trying to be Jane Goodall, studying primate mating habits. (Or would “John” Goodall make you feel better?)

      Secondly, you have “urges to violently compete and reproduce” and you have these violent urges EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY? Really? Every second of every day, you have some nigh overwhelming urge to grab the nearest female in order to try and spawn your impulse control issue laden DNA onto the next generation? What is it like inside of that skull of yours?

      And, for some reason – likely because of the malevolent matriarchy and it’s repressive tendency to reject sexual violence – you are baffled that “the second” you act on these violent sexual urges you are negatively portrayed.

      I mean, why oh why would anyone negatively portray someone who gives into their constantly present violent urges? That it just crazy. It’s like if someone spews overtly misogynistic and baseless rhetoric on a blog’s comment section, I have an urge to feed them to a cage full of hungry, rabid wolverines. Every second I read every word of that rhetoric, I want to go get my wolverine cage. That is not an exaggeration. But then, the second I do throw some internet troll into a cage of hungry wolverines, I get portrayed negatively. It’s so unfair, right? Damn women and their anti-wolverine cage feminism.

      I am not a medical expert, but it seems to me that if you are possessed of violent urges “every second of every day” to reproduce you might want to see a mental health professional. You see, whilst we all carry what Darwin called “the lowly stamp of our origin”, the fact is that most human “males” do not wander around barely containing an urge to violently achieve reproduction. Like today, I have had several conversations with women and I have not had an urge to reproduce with any of them.

      Most men actually manage to go through their days without fighting your obviously titanic struggle to keep your inner, albeit rapey, Incredible Hulk at bay. The fact that you have to fight this battle every day suggests to me that you need immediate and direct medical intervention.

      So while you are booking an appointment to visit your nearest physiatrist, lets also address your weird claim that “feminism” is somehow a cover for the horrible and immoral behaviour of women on their menstrual cycle. Whilst it is true that some women, thanks to the lovely fluctuations in their hormone levels and some physical pain, do fall into a distemper, you’ll have to look far and wide to find any feminist who is says “I am on my cycle today. I have permission to get all stabby with this here kitchen knife, and you primate males can’t say anything about it because it is my urge.” I don’t read a lot of current feminist literature, but I would be willing to bet that kind of thing is never written, condoned or advocated by any thinking woman.

      I really shouldn’t have to point this out – but seeing as your rather Klingonesque urges have the better of you I suppose I should – a woman being grumpy now and again is not that same as having your self-described omnipresent violent urges to reproduce.

      Your choice, it seems to me, is to get some help, or walk about pretending your desire to act on psychopathic impulses is somehow akin to a woman being in a bad mood. One of those choices is being an adult. The other probably should require you to wear a warning label when you personally interact with other primates.

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      1. I have no idea who John or Jane Goodall is, though I suspect this paragraph is sloppy virtue signaling. I’m confused as to whether the ineffectivity is a good or bad thing, given that the action itself is a bad thing. Hm.

        Well, I was imprecise. An accurate statement would be that, unless I’m focused on an activity, my mind regularly –focuses– on subjects of sex and social order. The social order being where the literally “violent” urges come in, as most people need their freedoms removed before they begin thinking about the ramifications of their actions. As for the sex: I see a woman, I think of sex. I don’t control it, it just happens.

        So, basically, I just go about my business. Then, I run into some problem produced by worthless people, then obsess about creating a utopian society wherein social responsibility is promoted over vanity signaling, cultism, drug abuse, and general stupidity. Eventually, I accept there’s nothing I can do because people are so stupid and insane, then I focus on my work again. Sometimes I see a woman, and am distracted by thoughts of sex for a bit, then get back to work.

        So, while these thoughts and urges aren’t constantly at the forethought of my consciousness, they’re always close, and can always and immediately be brought forward and occupy my mind. They also have the capacity to cause me to become unreasonable, and act accordingly, if I don’t take responsibility for myself. Oh, and I masturbate like.. I don’t know, twice a day if I’m not really busy with work.

        My point overarching point is: this is a biologic process, which can lead me to act immorally, that I had no choice in inheriting. Much like the menstrual cycle. Yet I don’t make excuses for my behavior, I don’t expect people to treat me special. I just control myself. And when has a feminist pitied a male for genuinely being overwhelmed by violent urges? And I don’t count the murderer, that they featured at the recent rally, as pity toward violent females – I’m sure that woman’s presence was a mere oversight.

        Oh, and good job trying to shame me for inherited biological processes more specific to my gender; way to uphold feminist doctrine. Oh right, and for crossing the line into physical threats. Good news for you though: once I make those points, everything usually gets deleted. Horay for censorship.

        An excellent way to twist my meaning to suit your argument, bravo. Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were female. That’s a joke, calm down; take a class in improv or something. My point was that first-world feminism’s measurements for what is acceptable and unacceptable are given little-to-no critical analysis, and are instead designed to give women social leverage. Yes, rape is bad; good call on that one. And bravo for acknowledging that violent urges can be controlled.

        It’s a bit disappointing that this is what you choose to focus on, but I’m not surprised [aren’t males the worst?]. Since you’ve been kind enough to quote Darwin, I’ll share something with you. Estimates suggest 110 billion homo-sapiens have existed over 200,000 years. Within that timeframe, behavioral modernity has occurred for approximately 50,000 years. All those people’s work has resulted in the current state of the world. Give this information, one would should immediately realize that the overwhelming majority of people are imbeciles. Now, in that environment, what are the chances of –any– major social group/movement being remotely accurate in their opinions? And what are the chances, within these gargantuan numbers, that you’re the chosen one AND you promote popular opinions?

        Yes, because if someone is irrationally manipulative, their opening argument is: “do whatever I say, whenever I say it, for an absurd reason.” Get it together, Smalls. The point here, which I should have known better than to leave unfinished, is that the menstrual cycle is, scientifically provably, a psychologically destabilizing biological process. It does that. Yet I’m not supposed to acknowledge that, because it would somehow be sexist. On the reverse, the biologic processes which can make me unreasonable are the problem for all of society’s ills, and must constantly be discussed.

        Also, you’re reading in again.

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  2. So your great injustices are that some women complain about their period and some say no to sex? I’m sure there are some who do these in nefarious ways but where is the evidence that there’s systems of power in place that encourage such behaviors? If anything there is the opposite push in our society: to sexualize women’s bodies as something for men to consume, which in turn leads to frustration when a real woman actually says no.

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    1. Ya, that’s what I always hear everyone saying. Not what I’ve personally witnessed though. I understand the concept of circumstantial evidence, but I also understand the majority of humanity still believes in magic, and validate their opinions entirely based on how comforting and widely shared those opinions are. Therefore, a large percentage of humanity misunderstanding basic sociologic patterns would in no-way be unlikely given these conditions.

      But, you’ll notice I didn’t refute all the claims of feminism, merely pointed out that they are often highly sensationalized and delusional. Of course, that claim only applies within civilized countries, not third-world countries. But, even in those chaotic areas, I still have complaints with feminism: while women are certainly, disgustingly, abused in unique ways, one should question the rates of mortality. That is so say: how much more often do males kill each other, as opposed to killing women? Would you, personally, choose death over abuse? And if the rates of male-on-male crimes are higher, do you therefore have any choice but to admit you’re blatantly sexist? Did you even bother looking this up? Did it even occur to you?

      Anyway, the whole sexualizing thing. That’s just an action of entertainment media, advertising, and fashion. Their job is to entertain, to fill people with comforting thoughts, to temporarily remove them from reality. If a young woman takes any of that seriously, that’s not “the patriarchy’s” fault; that’s the fault of the parent. Let me ask you.. which gender tends to be the primary care-giver, and therefore most molds the thoughts and actions of the child? Either way I hate this argument, as feminism often encourages slutty behavior, rather than the formation of healthy, permanent relationships.

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  3. Let me just point out that if your defense of having violent sexual urges all the time is to tell the world how many times a day you jerk it, well, your problems run so deep you need a psychological mining team to dig them out. At the very least, no one is ever going to take you seriously.

    Also, not knowing who Jane Goodall is not a badge of honour. It’s ignorance. Read a book.

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