WOMAN Up and Join the Struggle: A Response Article to “Feminists? Man Up!”

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The insidious spectre of sexism is haunting society, but what we’re all really scared of is the F-word. Feminism.

Now more than ever, the mere mention is enough to strike fear into the heart of misogynists and evoke criticism from all corners. However, it is now that feminism is more relevant and necessary than ever.

We all, whatever our gender, owe a lot to feminism. But there is so much more that needs to be done, and I passionately believe that feminism is the answer. The struggle is nowhere near complete; in the past, political objectives such as gender equality legislation have been a motivation for feminists, and this of course remains a goal where appropriate. However, I think that the battleground is different in the contemporary world, and a large part of the struggle for gender equality is now dependent upon changing attitudes and social norms, not just law. Sexism and misogyny are endemic; I hear sexist comments everyday and I find it awful enough when I’m not even on the receiving end.

Suffrage

 I don’t believe that sexism receives the stigma that other forms of discrimination do. Comments such as “man up” and “slut” go unchecked; the objectification and sexualisation of women is normalised through page 3 and “lad’s mags”; women can’t even walk the streets without being cat-called and verbally abused. “Little” things like gendered insults may seem insignificant, but it all contributes to the situation we find ourselves in, where women are still treated like second class citizens.

The battleground has changed, and the goal has shifted, but feminism remains the answer. Feminism is the tool we all need to show that not being male, is not and should not be, a disadvantage, and that the existing patriarchal system of male privilege has no moral basis. I do not accept the argument that feminism sets apart and segregates women, despite the fact that it is often portrayed as such; men and people of other genders all need feminism in my view.

I would argue that one of the reasons suicide rate amongst young men has spiked, is because the patriarchy (the patriarchal world that we feminists fight daily) creates a sense of hypermasculinity, in which men feel that they can’t seek help with mental feminismhealth problems. Feminism isn’t about getting special treatment for women, it’s about gender equality and breaking down unhelpful stereotypes around all genders. We all benefit from feminism, and “being a man hater” doesn’t come into the equation.

The double standards argument is one I hear lot. Maybe , when dressed “provocatively” (although how a woman dresses is totally irrelevant), women don’t get offended at being found attractive, but maybe the offence stems from the fact that men make degrading comments, inappropriate gestures and generally have a false sense of entitlement, which again stems from the patriarchy in which we live. That’s the real issue here. Feminists have double standards because they criticise men? Yes, I do criticise a privileged group who sexualise and humiliate women, so you’ll have to excuse me for not breaking out the violin every time I hear “but what about men!?”. Maybe we should focus on actual gender discrimination, instead of inventing cases of “reverse sexism” (which isn’t a thing) because white men are terrified of losing their monopoly on society?

patriarchy

The point is that we live in a society that is completely different to that faced by first and second wave feminists. Gender discrimination is sometimes more subtle and below the radar, but is by no means less salient. Feminism has had to adapt and will continue to do so, but in my view it still should be the primary tool in our arsenal when it comes to smashing the patriarchy. Feminism alone won’t solve all of society’s woes, but that’s where intersectionality comes in, highlighting the need for all disenfranchised groups to work together.

Gender discrimination is not just a problem for woman; inequality of one group affects us all. Sexism is damaging, not matter how covert, and no matter where it stems from. Feminism is what we need to overcome it.

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Discussion12 Comments

  1. avatar

    Ah yes, the patriarchy.
    A shadowy cabal consisting of all men on the planet, even the ones contributing to a ridiculous majority of workplace deaths in high-risk jobs that women, clamouring for equality, won’t attempt to go near.

    ALL not so secretly plotting to keep women out of power. Except when they’re not.

    Builder Bob
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    Spot on… until we have ALL men on the planet are being sexists… we should sit back and do nothing to reach equality. Finally someone gets it.

    Fix’d it!

    No
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    You want to talk about cat calls and being ogled inappropriately in the street?
    How about the dozens of women who automatically assume I am a rapist/predator waiting to happen, based on my sex? What is feminism doing to dispel a majority of decent men being tarnished with this brush?

    But when a woman acts out under the banner of feminism, others are quick to say “oh she’s not acting for REAL feminism” and dismiss the issue.
    When a man does it, it’s apparently all our faults.

    Sorry, if we’re expected to own and deal with our waste, you can sure as hell do the same with yours.

    Laura
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    “You want to talk about cat calls and being ogled inappropriately in the street?
    How about the dozens of women who automatically assume I am a rapist/predator waiting to happen, based on my sex?”

    …but aren’t these both consequences of the same problem? And what is that problem? (HINT: it’s not feminism…)

    When I walk down the street and have men shout inappropriate things at me, sit on a bus and have male strangers physically grope me, open the newspaper and read that there has been another rape/sexual assault on a road I walk along regularly, then yes, I will cross the road away from a man I feel uncertain about when I’m walking home alone on a dark evening. He might be perfectly lovely, but I don’t know that. Am I tarnishing a decent man with the same brush, or taking into consideration the various factors in that situation and deciding to put my own personal safety first? I have two brothers and it upsets me to think that a woman might cross the road away from them on a dark night, but it upsets me more that I would understand her reasoning perfectly. Because, really, there are too many incidences (that I read about, hear about from friends, and have experienced in my own life) day-to-day to pretend that it’s not an issue. I’d much rather walk down the street and not have to worry about that sort of thing, but I have to. Can you not see how both things are related and the common factor is misogyny?

    If you don’t want to be ‘tarnished with the same brush’ as men who shout inappropriate things at women in the street, assault women, or rape women, then you should be joining the feminist cause, not fighting against it…

    Mmm cookies
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    Or you could just put on a couple of stone and you wouldn’t have these issues anymore…

    No2sexism
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    Oh fuck off

    Yes
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    Actually I’ve yet to hear a gender equalitist make that cringeworthy exaggerated claim about the patriarchy you’re transparently wheeling out there to discredit feminists, whom you no doubt consider politically unsavoury or have had petty ego clashes with, as a cult of bell-ringing conspiracy theorists on the street, which I childishly and naively used to think they were until I had more and more genuine dialogue with their ideas. You should try the same. You might learn something.

    If you’re going to challenge feminism, at least get a basic grip on its theoretical analyses and take it from there rather than relying on hyperbole.

  2. avatar

    The best resources for this kind of debate are based in America but give a somewhat accurate depiction of the Western world.
    Let us not forget that in the UK, by law, a woman cannot be convicted of rape by envelopment.

    BJS stats on murder, where men are 77% of murder victims, women are only 23%. Men are three times more likely to get murdered, especially if they are black.

    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2221

    There are also other violent crime stats on that site, and once again the only crime that women are more at risk for is rape. Here’s the link to the Criminal Victimization survey. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2217

    Here are Census murder stats: Ignore the forcible rape numbers, sex crimes against males were not even tracked by the FBI: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0313.pdf

    An easy chart for stupid people. Violent crime against women has declined by half, and against men has only declined a third. http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/833/the-rate-of-violent-crime-victimization-has-declined

    Another chart, notice how it includes rape, but men are still overall more victimized by violent crime.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/zanran_storage/www.ncjrs.gov/ContentPages/4088039.pdf#page=40

  3. avatar

    Hey, first of all really interesting article and well written, but I’m curious to know what your definition of sexism is, and how you can claim reverse sexism ‘isn’t a thing’. If Feminism is the fight for the equality of both genders, how can we believe that only men make faults against women. Also, just a side note that many of women’s mags also have features showing sexualised ‘buff’ men, as well as count downs of the sexiest men- surely similar to page three in essence?

    The Author
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    Men may be disadvantaged in certain areas- child custody for example- but I would not say reverse sexism is a thing, because it is not institutionalised, its not on the same scale, and it’s not an everyday occurence. Same argument for objectifcation, although of course the objectification of all genders is wrong

    James
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    Sorry, this basically reads as “discrimination is always bad unless another person has it worse than you” which effectively means feminists should drop everything to help women outside of the Western world exclusively…
    But we’re not likely to see that happen.

    The suffragettes were concerned with one thing: more rights for rich, privileged women.
    The majority of modern feminists are the same, and it’s exactly this “fuck you, got mine” attitude that makes it such a joke.

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