Photo by Brenda Lin

Many people falsely believe that feminism is specifically for women, but equal rights can benefit everyone. Men’s rights activists have risen to more prominence in the last few years and the thing that bothers me most about them is that they are fighting for the same equalities as women. Most men’s rights complaints can be completely resolved by feminism; specifically, societal expectations, parental rights, domestic violence and rape.

Gender roles in society often hurt men as much as women, especially emotionally. Female attributes are often considered negative and used as insults for men. This negativity prohibits men from being able to express emotion or show any form of weakness just because it is considered “feminine.”

We cannot allow one gender to grow up completely repressing their feelings. Phrases such as “you throw like a girl” and “don’t be a pussy” are detrimental to young girls and boys alike. These sayings teach boys that they always have to be strong and teach girls that they are not as valuable as boys. Men should be free to express their emotions as readily as women and make decisions in their life based on what they want rather than on others’ expectations of them.

Women have long fought the idea that they need to stay home and raise a family. But now men are beginning leave traditional jobs to be a stay at home parent. Because of the perception of parenthood as a woman’s job, men often face judgement for their choice. Fathers should have the option to be just as involved in their child’s life as the child’s mother.

Additionally, since parenting is thought of as a woman’s role, it is much harder for men to win custody of their children, even if the child’s mother is unfit. The court system in the United States is biased against fathers because child rearing is not their job. Men should be the breadwinner, while women should be focusing on cooking and cleaning.

By dissociating the burden of raising a child from the mother, we can allow both men and women to choose the life they want. The perception that men always want one thing and women always want another can be harmful in more than one way.

Domestic violence incidents and rapes committed against men are grossly under-reported. Because men are considered so much stronger than women, people believe that a woman cannot sexually or physically abuse a man. Not only is this idea untrue, but it prevents men from coming forward and speaking about the abuse they have suffered.

People sometimes laugh at and ridicule male survivors of domestic abuse rather than providing them with the support they need. This problem also applies strongly to rape. Rapes committed against men are not uncommon, but they are under-reported. The main reason for this is the idea that men always want sex and women don’t and the fact that men tend to be stronger than women.

If a man gets raped he could be told “he’s lucky” for getting laid or that it is not rape if he enjoyed it. No matter whether it’s a man or a woman in the particular scenario, consent is always necessary. As a society we need to allow and encourage men who have survived domestic abuse or sexual assault to come forward and tell their stories because it does not make them any less of a man.

The equality of men and women does not solely benefit women. By dissociating negativity from being feminine we can allow both men and women to progress. Men’s rights are about allowing me to live the way they want contrary to perceptions that it makes them any less human to be feminine.

  • Nic

    If word have meaning (hits like a girl, dont be a pussy), then why is a movement that says it is for equal rights for all called “Feminism”

  • Abigail Blaire

    Perhaps the Reason that Men’s rights activists feel the need to have a movement of their own is because the feminist movement largely ignores men’s issues. Yes, there are feminists such as yourself who promote “feminism for all”, but the majority of the momentum behind 3rd wave feminism concerns itself with things like the wage gap (which is based on the misuse of an average earnings statistic), microagressions, and marching against Donald Trump. Sure, Emma Watson spoke about men during her UN address, but the grassroots energy in support of men’s issues in the broader feminist movement just doesn’t seem to be there. Appearances matter.

  • Michael McVey

    That’s like saying white supremacism can benefit blacks.

    • PO

      Are you equating feminism with white supremacism?

      • Nuclearfusion42

        He is because feminism is essentially that, a supremacy movement for females. Feminism specifically advocates for female rights without the responsibility that come with those rights. Basically feminism is giving females a better deal for women while not equalising the responsibility of women. For instance you see feminists advocate for more female CEOs etc, but where are all the feminists prompting women to take more dangerous and dirty jobs like in the construction and waste management industries. Look at workplace deaths.

  • Nuclearfusion42

    Feminism has a strict gynocentric bias. Take a look at the language. The main antagonist in feminism is patriarchy, but when we referred to policemen and firemen it was problematic because those are gendered terms. Is patriarchy not a gendered term?

    I don’t particularly care about gendered job titles, gender doesn’t matter to me like it does feminists –
    if changing them to non gendered redresses the balance of workers in high risk jobs, I’m all for it. But this is blatant hypocrisy that promotes blaming men for supposed unequal rights fir women.

    If feminism is for men’s rights then it’s failing. Young men are becoming disenfranchised with our society hence the rise of the MRM.