Feminism simply means you believe in equality
The women’s rights movement as I know it has been a slow, laborious process with many gains and many setbacks. I consider myself a feminist and I believe that women are still struggling to gain equality. So when I read last week’s column by Sean Everett titled “Has Feminism Left Men Behind?” my first thought was “Really?” Some men are fretting over their place in the World? My next thought was “this is too much.” What kind of “Man” finds himself threatened by a demand for equality for a class of people that make up 51% of the population? But Mr. Everett approached this subject with a seriousness that I will follow; maybe with just a bit of humor (because there is humor in this subject).
Do Women Need to “Shut Up Already” About Equality?
Mr. Everett cites many instances of how women are “favored by society” and that men as a result are in danger of becoming second-class citizens. The problem that I see in his argument is the “10 points” are not typically equality issues but societal ones. Splitting hairs? Maybe.
Despite Everett’s claims of “the visible success of feminism” women have not achieved equality. Of Fortune 500 companies, just 21 are led by women. This is not a glowing example of equality, but wait there’s more. Women make up just 22 of the 100 U.S. Senators. Only 79 women, or 18.2%, are part of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. I could move down to the state-level governments, but you get the idea. Remember, women make of 51% of the population.
Women have been fighting for pay equality for over 40 years. 40 years and there is still a 12 cent gap between men’s earnings and women’s. In 1960 women earned 60 cents on every dollar men earned. In 2009, women were earning 77 cents for every dollar (this year it is reported to be 88 cents). If you move into the figures for traditionally male-dominated fields, such as physicians and surgeons, the figure drops to 64 cents on every dollar earned by men.
Among other things, feminism is about women being treated the same as men in a world where men have dominated. Because men make up the majority of office holders in politics they legislate women’s issues. Women still find decisions that directly affect them are out of their hands. Remember the famous women’s health panel in Congress that didn’t have a single woman on it?
Half-Truths Repeated are Self-Authenticating
In the age of the Internet, emotional posts on politics and hot-button social issues go viral easily. The posts are just as easily accepted as truth without any authentication. Men’s Rights Activism (MRA) has done a great job of roping in young men (in their late teens and early 20s) and feeding them half-truths about feminism. Given that these young men have not been through a feminist movement like the one that began in 1970, and were raised by the beneficiaries of the movement, they have no first-hand knowledge of what feminism really means.
The result is Men’s Rights Activists create fear in the minds of these young men. They envision a wildebeest-like woman with a mad desire to rip their penis off and throw it in the trash. The “femi-nazi” only wants to turn all men into women that earn lots of money and kill the big bugs in the kitchen. And if you don’t submit to their will they will slap you around ‘til you do.
A good example of a falsity being spread without verification is Everett’s first point that women receive the death penalty at a lower rate. A point that has no validity. Men throughout history have committed more murders, been perpetrators of violent crimes, and been the aggressors in domestic violence cases. For example, known female serial killers make up just 15% of all known serial killers. The recent mass shootings were all committed by men and I am hard pressed to come up with any cases of a woman shooting up a public place. While women commit fewer murders, they receive the death penalty at higher rates. A recent study conducted over 31 years found women were sentenced to death 47.1% of the time and men 32.3% of the time.
Feminism Does Not Equal Hatred
I don’t know another feminist that hates men as a group. While a movement that has spanned many years is hard to quantify I feel confident it is not about turning men into impotent fools.
Feminism is a revolution. Every revolutionist understands that to make an omelette you need not only broken eggs, but someone “oppressed” to break them. In other words, to scramble the status-quo, you not only need the right ingredients and cooks, but you may need to damage a few eggshells to get there.
So, men relax. You are in no danger of being put in a corner. You just need learn to play nicely with others rather than take the ball and go home sulking when women don’t behave the way society tells you they should.