It is imperative to note that feminism, for a very long time, has been a social movement and ideology that is concerned by social, political as well as economic rights for women. It is important to echo the feminist's belief that men and women are equal in all fronts, and that women should be accorded the same rights just as men in their societies. It cannot be denied that this movement has been fighting for several causes, like the right for women to work, right to vote, and most importantly, the right to live in an environment free from any form of violence (Kreitler 2012). It should be noted that the first wave of feminism took place in the early 20th century. These first wave feminists were referred to as suffragettes and campaigned explicitly for the rights to vote by women. However, it is worth noting that in as much as feminists had put much effort fighting for different rights of women, unfortunately, this is yet to be achieved entirely in some countries as it remains a far-fetched idea in most developing countries.
During the second wave of feminism that took place around the 1960s to 1970s, the feminists considered several rights as opposed to the first wave of feminism. The scope of right that was campaigned for included rights to equal pay, reproductive rights, rights to live free from violence among others. It should be mentioned that in Australia, feminists are still fighting for these rights. In the last wave of feminism, which began in the 1990s up to date, is considered a more general form of feminism and considers aspects such as sexual identity, race, ethnicity among others s(Kreitler 2012). At this wave, it recognizes that every woman has a different experience but continues to fight for the same principles and rights that were observed in the second wave of feminism. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to come up with a clear meaning of feminism, as well as indicate the aspects of gender equality which is part of feminism and also show why feminism help men as well as study why men need feminism.
Gender equality as everyone's issue
In her words during the United Nations during her speech at the event dubbed HeForShe, Emma Watson, the Goodwill Ambassador on feminist, informed the congregation that she was reaching to everyone because she needed their help. The primary intention is to end gender inequality which requires a concerted effort of everyone (Watson 2014). The purpose for the speech was to try to convince all the men and boys to join and help to advocate for gender inequality because it is no longer women only who are affected, but men are equally beginning to feel the effects of gender-related problems.
In her definition. Watson defines feminism as "The belief that men and women should have equal opportunities and rights. It is the theory of the political, social and economic equality of both sexes." In her speech, Watson feels that she should be paid the same wages as male counterparts and that it would be for any woman to be left alone to make their own decisions. Gender equality would involve a scenario where women are included in the policy-making process of their respective countries to be able to achieve gender equality (Watson 2014). This has not been the case in many countries worldwide as most of them have not achieved gender equality.
Concerning the male gender, Watson echoed the fact that several young men are suffering from diseases like mental illness who are unable to ask for assistance because of fear that it would make them look less. As would be expounded later, this has been a problem with most men, and it is one of the many reasons as to why men need feminism. As a result, most of them commit suicide because of the fear and lack of self-esteem. It can be confirmed that men do not equally have the benefits of equality just like women (Watson 2014). By achieving gender equality, these problems can be forgotten about. There are cases where men are being imprisoned by gender stereotypes. Equally, women won't feel forced to submit themselves if men will abandon their aggressive nature to be accepted by women. In her thoughts, Watson feels that both men and women should feel free to be sensitive and strong. Gender should, therefore, be perceived as a spectrum and not as two opposing sets of ideas.
In this manner, both men and women will stop defining each other by what they are not and start defining each other by what they are. In this manner, both genders can be freer, and this is precisely what the HeForShe campaign is all about. By men taking this initiative, their mothers, sisters and even daughters can be eliminated from the prejudice and also their sons will have the chance to feel vulnerable and have a sense of humanity too.
It should be mentioned that, as pointed above, feminism is not a movement that indicates that women are better than men (Watson 2014). Also, feminism is also not concerned about gaining any revenge for the period that men were in power and therefore came up with laws and regulations that denied women from accessing education, could not vote, was owned as property among others. However, it is worth noting that feminism is not only concerned by gaining equality between genders.
Why men need feminism
Firstly, as much as it is about women, it should be understood that it is so much more than just women. It cannot be denied that feminism has shaped the almost everything that is taken for granted in this modern society and do not acknowledge and understand that is ignorant of exactly what it is, at a significant level. It is the term that is used to confront all gender inequality as well as other associated and interpersonal dysfunction (Kreitler 2012). It is believed that feminism is among the most prominent discourses in social sciences which has helped to transform and progress thinking as well as ideas across fields such as geography, history, anthropology, sociology, natural sciences, sustainability, and literature among others.
Another reason as to why men need feminism is because it is an exceedingly essential aspect which provides a lens through which people can easily view and clearly understand the world as a whole. In this relation, it is undoubtedly true that feminism is also a powerful social movement which has a rich history that is actively reshaping the world in which human beings live in. As had been stated earlier, feminism as a social agenda lacks homogeneity (Kreitler 2012). This is because feminism has been observed to be quite complex and multifaceted hence full of factions. As a result of its complexity, it does not feel accessible to many people. However, it should be understood that through all these, the movement and the feminists who expose themselves into such movements, are trying to make the world a better place, and not only for women but for everyone else.
Men need feminism because the world has with it, complex and many intersecting challenges such that if we are unable to notice that unequal gender power dynamics are excluded from this, then we might not be paying the attention needed. Besides, men need feminism because too many boys are brought up through the idea that they should be manly, and therefore not show any form of vulnerability or weakness and only to remain tough and to complete hide their emotions and feelings (Kreitler 2012). As a result, most men turn to be an emotionally distorted lot; thereby they struggle to form a meaningful relationship as well as suffer from depression. Because of frustrations, most of the men take their own lives on inflict pain on others. Through feminism, this can be scrapped out and let men understand how they should live as opposed to how it was initially viewed.
Feminism is needed because many girls have too, been exposed to ideas of body language at a young age which is very unrealistic. This enables them to go through their teens with aspects of insecurity concerning their bodies. As a result, it leads to too many young girls having the problem of eating disorders. Also, they buy into the objectification by their male counterparts thereby making negative gender dynamics to appear normal while they are still in the school going age.
Another reason as to why feminism is needed is to help prevent problems that arise as a result of girls growing into women who continue to be bombarded with some unrealistic body imagery from various angles. The reason also couples this that a culture of objectification requires that women should perform against this standard that sounds unrealistic so that they can get ahead in life (Kreitler 2012). This is confirmed by the fact that the sexual objectification of women starts with teenage boys where the language and attitude are always normalized. With feminism, men will appreciate the women and never at once again, observe them as just objects for sex.
Undeniably, men need feminism because virtually every adult man has a friend, partner, or even a family member who had been sexually assaulted at one moment (Katz 2012). For most of them, it sounds like a fact in life, something regular and normal. However, with the full knowledge of feminism, these primitive acts can easily be curtailed as men will have the reason to appreciate women and respect them. Women too will have the confidence to face such awkward situations in their lives.
Lastly, it is imperative to note that men need feminism to restrain them from violent acts such as beating up their partners and sons which lead to a psychological mess which is as a result of a widespread culture of dysfunctional as well as bad masculinity (Rogers et al. p 555-578). Understandably, feminism is the only sensible thing and body of knowledge that people can apply usefully and meaningfully to help the situation.
A man's perspective
It is true that men need feminism owing to the role that these women played to be able to shape the man of today. However, it should not be understood as a scheme in whatever way to discredit the main who have equally helped to shape my life, but it is merely an effort to acknowledge the women in our lives and society and history are one of the steps towards achieving gender equality (Kreitler 2012). Women have heard more significant impacts on the lives of their male counterparts. It is disgusting and makes no single sense to treat those people you value as just others. It becomes sometimes challenging to observe inequalities when not looking for one. This vice is seen in micro issues like different and unequal pay in the workplace as well as under-representation in various bodies and institutions worldwide. It is equally disgusting to realize how the media portray women. Much attention is given to their outfits instead of talking about their ideas and policies. People are fed up seeing young girls struggle with different disorders and various forms of depression just because they are constantly informed that their value is in their bodies and not in their mind and soul as well as heart and work.
If it is assumed that there is one who doesn't believe in the normal and common myths concerning feminism, such a person may think that feminism is all about issues concerning women, celebrating women, and reproductive rights among others as had earlier been stated (Rogers et al. p 555-578). It should be noted that in as much as women are highly oppressed in many ways, the traditional system of gender roles that people live in is a threat to all human beings. This is one of the core reasons as to why men also need to focus more on feminism because they are also affected in equal measure by the issues affecting women gender.
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