The word feminism in recent times has gained somewhat of a negative connotation owing to the misconception that the movement aims to create a world where present-day gender roles are reserved. In other words, some people think that feminism means the domination of women over men. But is it really what feminism is?
Famous British author Laura Bates, when talking about the movement in her book Everyday Feminism, writes, “This is not a men vs women issue. It’s about people vs prejudice.” If we go by textbooks, feminism is the belief in “social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.” The core value that feminism practices and preaches, equality, is not only for women but men too. It aims to get rid of patriarchy, which is a widely toxic disease that is present in society, sometimes obvious and other times in hidden forms.
Patriarchy creates a toxic culture that expects people to behave in a certain way just because of the gender they are born in and although it might look like women are the only ones that suffer, a deeper understanding will reveal how men are also its victims. But with increasing conversations around feminism, more and more women are understanding the injustices that they have to face due to their gender. But to completely eradicate practices like patriarchy, which is hundreds of years old and is deeply rooted in our society, just resistance from women is not enough.
Debates on Feminism: Why men need to participate
Men make up for 51 percent of the population in the world and to make any movement successful without the participation of half of the population is neither practical nor possible. But this isn’t the only reason why men need to be part of debates on feminism. By the virtue of prevalent social norms, men have been granted more privileges than women can even dream of and thus they have more power to ensure that social dynamics change.
Suggested Reading: Feminism Is About Freedom To Choose, Not Enforcing New Norms
The first step to solving any problem is admitting that there is a problem. Similarly, men, for them to become a part of feminism, have to first acknowledge the injustices that women face, be it in their family, their classroom, their office etc. When they do so, fighting oppression will become a lot easier. Removing misogyny from the society will make it a safe place to live in not only for women but for men too. For women it will be freedom biases and prejudices among other things. For men it will be freedom from the culture of toxic masculinity.
Views expressed are the author’s own.