The more I think about men’s issues, the more I want to promote feminism

Patriarchy sucks for a lot of people.  Some of those people are men.  After all, patriarchy seeks to establish some sort of code on what it means to be a man and enforce it.  That means that if some man — I’ll use myself as an example — don’t meet that code, we are deemed “not man enough” and are often ridiculed and mistreated by the patriarchy’s many enforcers.

According to the patriarchy, my “manhood” is open for debate because:

  • I am terrible at sports.
  • I tend to be very sensitive an emotional.
  • I like various “girly” things.
  • I like kissing other men, not to mention doing other things with them.

Being teased or having my “manhood” questioned isn’t fun.  Like I said, not being a sufficiently sanctioned “real man” in the patriarchy sucks.

But you know what sucks even more in the patriarchy?  Being a woman.  This is because women are the real targets of the patriarchy.[1]  The whole reason that the patriarchy wants to define what it means to be a “real man” is to set men apart from women, demonstrate that they’re extra-special, and thereby justify and maintain male superiority, male privilege, and male dominance.

Patriarchy’s mistreatment of me is a side effect of its real objectives, which is to wage war on women.  To put it more bluntly, I’m nothing more than collateral damage.[2]  Furthermore, while I may be hurt by patriarchy, I also benefit from it and the privileges being male grants me:

  • It’s highly unlikely that my accomplishments will be overlooked or diminished by men who are more interested in how big my breasts are or how good I am in bed.
  • I don’t have to be nearly as worried about whether the man who strikes up a conversation with me at the coffee shop will rape me because he thinks he’s entitle to any man he decides to be friendly toward.
  • Not many people will be inclined to assume that I can’t possibly be an engineer, a firefighter, a doctor, or a soldier simply because I’m a man.[3]

I don’t bring this up to diminish the fact that I and other men are hurt by the patriarchy.  I do, however, want to put the harm done to us into the proper context, because I feel that context recommends the best response I and other men can make.

If we are collateral damage in the patriarchy’s war on women, then I think it’s time to start allying ourselves with the women in that war.  After all, if we’re all being hurt by the patriarchy, it’s time we all start fighting against that same patriarchy.  And that’s why I’m for promoting feminism and feminists.

This is where I think it’s important to understand that as men hurt by the patriarchy, we’re collateral damage rather than the actual targets, our role in this fight is also secondary.  I strongly believe we need to follow the women’s lead in this fight.  As I said in my previous entry, we can’t make this all about us, even though we will benefit in the process.[4]  But we need to be willing to set aside our egos and our desire to take the center stage — reasserting that same male privilege that the patriarchy already grants us[5] — and work as supporters and allies.

[1] Actually, I suspect that trans* people of all types also qualify as real targets as well.  After all, whereas I might question the gender policing that the patriarchy uses to enforce male superiority and dominance, trans* people reject it thoroughly and completely by having the “gall” to refuse to “stick with their rightly assigned gender.”

[2] Not that this makes me or other man any less injured.

[3] People might assume that I can’t do some of those things because I personally am lacking in some way as an individual.  They’d be right.  But there’s a difference between that and assuming women can’t do those same things because they’re the same.  I’m a man, so I get to be an individual.

[4] And despite what some may think or claim, many feminists want us men to benefit from feminism.  I’ve heard far more women talk about how patriarchy hurts men than I’ve heard men talk about it.

[5] And that’s the thing.  It seems like a lot of men who are hurt by the patriarchy aren’t ready to give up the ways in which the patriarchy still serves them.  They want to be able to “like girly things” — to pick an example — yet still maintain some sort of special status over women.  Fighting the patriarchy doesn’t work like that though.  You fight it all or you ca’t really fight it at all.

One thought on “The more I think about men’s issues, the more I want to promote feminism”

  1. Great post. I enjoy the way your footnotes continue the conversation as well.

    Im a guy myself and often have to laugh because my ethnicity and country have conflicting masculinities. I’m usually in breach of one or the other.

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