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Male Feminism by Dana Williams

 

The first and foremost important thing to notice about our world-- at least in the West-- is that the majority of all things are run primarily or predominantly by males. The ways that this relationship has been perpetuated are diverse, yet fairly easy to see.

The first reason should be obvious: men have always been able to muscle women around. I'm not implying that there aren't lots of women physically stronger than men, but on average most women are usually at men's "whim" for this disparity in muscle mass (which is not to ignore that they can more than make up for it in mental strength). Another reason is that women are often raised with feelings of inferiority, that often stay with them their entire lives. This has nothing to do with them personally, it usually is the climate and environment they are born into-- they learn their "limits" early on.

In addition to being force-fed the idea of inferiority from society, women are also typically cornered at many turns from taking more active roles controlling their lives or affecting decisions or society in general. They are sometimes told that it isn't "lady-like" or "appropriate", or that such actions are "men's work" or "not what women were intended to do". Is this sexism? Yes. So guys, if you agree that this is an inappropriate attitude, you're probably a male feminist.

I can't speak too strongly for most places in the world outside the US, but I know from what I've read that there are places in the world where there exists more than just a "simple" glass-ceiling: places for example in Africa, Muslim nations, and Pacific Rim countries. Well, basically every where in the world that hasn't had a feminist movement, probably has some form of female oppression

In Africa there is the common practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which I know little about, except the general idea and the basic premise for oppression; it is to allow the men of the society (especially a husband or husband-to-be) to have total control over the woman's sexuality. Sometimes the clitoris is cut to remove pleasure from sex, sometimes a woman is "sewed" shut (in an effort to "save" the woman's privates for a certain person's "usage"-- the man will often ceremonially rip her open before sex), and any other technique which limits a woman's control and enjoyment of her body.

In many Muslim countries (yet not all), the religion is integrated into the government, and thus the practices of the religion are overlayed onto and protected within society through the government. Women will often have subjugated roles to play in the house, not being allowed to work outside the house, cover their face and bodies up while outside the house, etc. In some countries this norm is changing slowly through progress and loosening of religious importance. This is not to say, however, that other religions haven't been insanely guilty of the same things: Christianity and Judaism also come to mind, as does Hinduism. Many times, this is a cultural norm which the religions have adopted, and thus can't be held completely accountable for. No matter who started it, its perpetuation is wrong.

There are many other places which practice the same sorts of things that some countries of the Pacific Rim do, but I don't have good references for them, so I only point out what I am aware of. Prostitution is running rampant through the so-called Asian Tigers (a.k.a. Economic Miracles-- which are really sweatshops and mines for the West), the selling of women into slavery (for sex or labor purposes) is commonly occurring, as is the inability of women to be judged capable of anything outside of domestic positions in society.

In China there are many more men living there than women because of the country's One Child Per Family rule. This causes the women to be looked upon as less desirable children, since they can't work as easily in society, support their parents later in life, etc. Thus, often many times when a girl is born, the child is abandoned or exposed to the elements. Before birth, the parents may abort the fetus as well. What this is doing is creating an overabundance of men in a country, that is lacking in female mates-- something no society needs is too many men running around without partners!

Even in the West, the "civilized world": recently in Italy there was a court ruling, from the highest court, that said that a woman wearing jeans could not be raped-- because "we all know how difficult jeans are to get off and she must have given consent in order to remove them", therefore No Rape!! As long as there are retarded males in the West making declarations that are just as retarded as everywhere else, I see no reason to assume that we in the West have the moral authority on treating "our" women correctly. As Fugazi has said, "We are all guilty!"

To me, the general premise for male feminism is that women have been oppressed, are still oppressed, and are not at a satisfactory status in society. This is wrong and needs to be changed. I authorize nearly any means necessary to achieve the ends of equality. Yet, I think some methods will work better than others.

The best method (as always) is education. Raising a baby boy and a baby girl in a way that does not treat one as superior to the other is the best way to ensure they do not grow up to oppress or be oppressed. Teaching boys that words like "slut", "whore", "bitch", "cunt", etc. are not respectful ways of referring to women is of primary importance. The language of people often adequately reflects the norms of that society. And judging by the imbalance of derogatory words leveled at women, the disparity is easy to see.

In a culture where a male who commonly engages in sex is called a "stud" (compliment) and a woman is called a "slut" (insult), we have a problem. When a difficult man is called a "jerk", and a difficult woman is called a "bitch", we have a problem. But these words only portray how we deal with the ideas of sexuality and gender roles: if women have lots of sex they are "bad" and if they complain and don't remain submissive and quiet they are "bad". A man who enjoys sex is considered normal or is complimented, and when they are assertive they are being independent and thoughtful.

In a country (the US) which lacks many women in positions of leadership in business and government, it is understandable as to why things haven't really changed too much. Have we had a woman president yet? No. There are (in 1999) only nine women Senators out of a hundred. There are only 54 female Representatives out of 383 Representatives. For those of us who need our calculators to figure this all out: 0% female presidents, 9% female Senators, and 14% female Representatives. That's out of a national population that is 51% female. Whoa, you say... where's the democracy in that? That's the thing: the US isn't a democracy and one of the reasons it isn't is because of this obscene gender disparity in political representation.

Women are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our lovers, our wives, our friends, our neighbors. Men have nearly as crucial stakes in women as they themselves. Take care of the women you care about. Treat them right. Give them the same rights as men. Don't abuse them. A better integration into society, will only enhance society itself.