Let me speak plainly for a minute, feminism is not about hating men and its not explicitly for women. The title, yes, may seem like its an exclusive club for women only but more and more men are becoming proud to call themselves feminists, and rightly so.
Feminism is literally defined as the “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. Simply defined it is people fighting for equality between men and women. However, some people believe feminism to be a group of women who radically hate the existence of men and thus the term ‘feminazi’ was coined.
The term ‘Feminazi’ irritates me, mainly because ‘Feminazi’s’ gain majority of attention on social media, and also because the term is used to dismiss and silence women who speak up. Some completely disregard the concept of inter-sectional feminism and loudly proclaim their hatred of men, but like I mentioned before feminism isn’t about hating men. They take the attention away from important parts of the movement and make it difficult to see that feminism works to better the lives of men too.
You can’t deny that the society we live in now suppresses men alongside women, in terms of their behaviour, emotionally and physically. Men don’t cry, or at least they’re not supposed to, because for some reason men grow up with the belief that if they do cry it leads to the damaging of their masculinity. Men are considered to be less of a man if they cry. This lesson that boys are taught at a young age leads to men developing more issues emotionally later on in life.
When it comes to issues regarding mental health, body image and sexual assault few men find the courage to speak out on it. Women are more commonly diagnosed with depression, yet in the UK one of the main killers of men under the age of 45 is suicide and in America men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide in comparison to women. I can’t help but think one of the reasons for this is that men feel they can’t come forward about it.
There is also the expectation of men to take on the role of the strong male lead of the family and the pressure of not wanting to disappoint weighs heavy. Men are given the belief that appearing weak is worst possible option and thus they’re further forced into a silence which in severe circumstances can be life threatening. But what more people are beginning to realise is that with feminism we can destroy these toxic and sometimes fatal gender stereotypes.
Men also have the ability to use their privilege to strengthen the movement. They can help to provide added force to it, the reality is that in a patriarchal society if men start taking more responsibility and acknowledge the need for feminism bigger changes can be made. Iconic figures such as Harry Styles and John Legend for example, both choose to be Feminists and use their platforms to advocate for it in different ways.
To conclude Feminism is not just a women’s issue, it works to liberate men too and destroy the harsh realities of toxic masculinity. Not only is there no specific way to be a Feminist, there is also no specific gender and I urge people to truly understand that.