Feminism simply means you believe in equality

Men’s Rights Activists, A Feminist's Response To Men's Rights ActivistsThe 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

men’s rights activistsIn 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.


  1. Yawn. Let’s take this down point by point shall we?

    1. Most politicians and CEOs are men.

    True. But firstly, most of the electorate are women, and there’s nothing to prevent them for running for office or climbing the corporate ladder, however equality of opportunity is not the same as equality of outcome. Also, it’s perhaps worth pointing out that most of the homeless are men, as are most plumbers, most building labourers, most garbage collectors, most assembly-line workers etc. It’s mostly men at the top, but it’s also mostly men at the bottom.

    There are also very heavily female-dominated professions such as teaching; is that evidence of discrimination against men?

    Finally, is the fact that most of our political leaders evidence for the oppression of women? After all, I can’t think of a single law or policy passed in the last 50 years anywhere in the developed world which favours men over women, but I can think of several which do the opposite (unequal retirement ages, special legislation to fund services for women, programmes to encourage women in fields where they are under-represented, removal of protections for men accused of rape etc.)

    2. Women earn 77c for every $ a man earns.

    True, but not for the reasons you think. This is because women choose less lucrative (but more enjoyable) fields of work, they work fewer hours, commute fewer hours, and interrupt their peak career years by having children. Women who don’t have children earn the same as men, and ‘never-married’ women with children earn more. And before anyone says it’s unfair that the burden of having children causes women to earn less, just remember that most men are in relationships and as a result transfer their earnings into the household pot, and that they can also be divorced at the whim of their partner, expelled from their family, and still required to hand over money to support their partner, even if said partner doesn’t allow them to see their children. Doesn’t sound like such a good deal now does it?

    3. “Women still find decisions that directly affect them are out of their hands.”

    The ‘famous all-male panel’ passed funding for women’s health at a vastly increased proportion to the funding for men’s health issues. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter that most politicians are men – they’re so desperate to appeal to female voters they’re more chivalrous than Don Quixote. Feminist lobby groups are incredibly influential, and any politician who aroused their ire wouldn’t last long.

    4. Men in their 20s “have no first-hand knowledge of what feminism really means.”

    Au contraire. They have been raised in a predominantly female-run education system, they have experienced being demonised as sexist monsters, they have been told over and over that they are all potential rapists, they have repeatedly been lectured that men are defective. Many have been raised in fatherless homes where they’ve witnessed their mothers wielding the gatekeeper power to allow them to have a relationship with their father or, as is usual, not. I think they’re all-to familiar with feminism thanks. You should talk to one of them sometime.

    5. [he said] women receive the death penalty at a lower rate. A point that has no validity..’

    Not sure about the death penalty, but there’s no doubt that women get a much, much, MUCH easier ride overall in the criminal justice system. They are less likely to be arrested, less likely to be charged, less likely to be convicted (see the musical ‘Chicago’) if they are convicted they will serve lighter sentences etc. etc.

    Oh, and that’s not the result of ‘patriarchal attitudes’ which see women as being less responsible – remember, feminist organisations and activists campaign for women who kill (especially women who kill their children and partners).

    6. “Every revolutionist understands that to make an omelette you need not only broken eggs, but someone “oppressed” to break them.”

    If women are oppressed then I’m a banana. Women control >80% of all consumer spending, they are favoured by the criminal and family courts, they experience less life-time stress and as a result they live longer, they are – far – less likely than men to be victims of violent crime. They get away scot-free when they commit domestic abuse – in fact they’re usually rewarded for it. They account for <2% of all workplace deaths and serious injuries, they are not required to register for the draft, they experience less illness and commit suicide at 8x lower the rate that men do. They also have complete reproductive control – being in complete charge of the decision whether or not to have children, and if they decide they do, they can put the child's father on the line for 18+ years of financial support even if he never wanted to be a father. Women also account for the majority of college students and, at least in their 20s, earn more than their male peers.

    Your turn Wendy.

    • Setting aside the fact that you sourced a Broadway musical in an attempt to make a point about the death penalty—the latter being far too nuanced per statistical data and its interpretation to engage in a brief discussion such as this or to engage by footnoting, uh, “Chicago”—I find your overall argument to not only be dismissive in tone but even, to some degree, representative of the kind of dismissiveness that apparently permeates the MRA movement (seriously, “yawn?”).

      Furthermore, you don’t really take anything “down” with your “point-by-point” points.

      Your last “point” is, quite simply, laughable. And, in it, you make a couple of statements that are blatantly untrue and others for which you offer no factual validation; i.e., “They get away scot-free when they commit domestic abuse—in fact, they’re usually rewarded for it.” Huh? Would you be interested in sourcing that (and please stay away from theatre references)? That’s laughable enough, but it can’t even compete with “They also have complete reproductive control.” Have you been paying attention to what GOP legislators at the national/state/local levels are doing?

      I was/am a single parent, having raised my now 31 year-old son by myself since he was three. I discovered a lot of things as a male single-parent but two stand out: (1) Being a single-parent is hard, hard, hard and (2) being a male single-parent is a lot easier than being a female single-parent (for innumerable reasons).

      As to your fourth point, both you and the writer of the piece are equally guilty of painting an entire generation with far too wide a brush. Get back to me when you can provide some documentation beyond “I think”—in other words, get back to me when you can provide factual information that goes beyond your limited personal observation that leads you to say “I think.”

      Your third point is silly enough to make one want to stop reading any farther. Politicians are so desperate “to appeal to female voters they’re more chivalrous than Don Quixote”???? Huh???? You clearly have not been attentive to the fact that many of the gains made by women over the past forty years either have been nullified by legislative actions or are being nullified by the misogynistic comments made by GOP/Christian Right public figures that, incredibly, are applauded by far too many people. Were you asleep during the last election cycle?

      Again, your second point paints the issue with far too wide a brush. Even, however, were we to grant that your assumptions are valid across-the-board (which, in reality, we don’t and they aren’t), the CBO notes that women’s pay for like-work is still 7% lower than that of men. For you to even attempt to argue that societal roles make it either understandable or “okay” for women, as a group, to make 23% less on the dollar than men is incomprehensible—unless you seriously think that men are an oppressed group and harbor “the anger of the oppressed.”

      Your use of the phrase “equality of opportunity is not the same as equality of outcome” when talking about a group that has historically been oppressed and discriminated against by those who now claim to be oppressed and discriminated against is almost shameful. The very idea that women historically or presently enjoy “equality of opportunity” is on par with the idea that people of color historically and presently enjoy “equality of opportunity.” No American grouping has enjoyed the entitlements of a society/culture quite like white males. And no American grouping continues to enjoy such entitlements quite like white males. Which makes white males in America uniquely unqualified to pontificate about “equality of opportunity is not the same as equality of outcome.”

      Oh, and, yes, the fact that the vast majority of our political leaders are men absolutely does go to the historical oppression of women. If you disagree with that, I can’t wait to hear your reasoning for why men are so over-represented and women so un- in American governance—in historical and present terms.

    • AMEN! Wendy obviously has an incredibly biased view. Sadly she seems incapable of actually seeing the injustice that actually exists if it pertains to men being mistreated by society.

Leave a Comment