Feminism, by definition, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. In no way, form or means does that imply that feminists hate men. Misandry is the counterpart of misogyny and means prejudice against men. Many a time, in life and on the internet, we meet people who equate being a feminist to someone who hates men. Undeniably, there are feminists who practice misandry. However, the takeaway point here is that you cannot be a feminist if you don’t believe that every gender, including men, deserves equal rights.
What does a feminist want?
As a feminist, I believe that we need to dismantle patriarchy for women to truly achieve equality. However, this does not mean that we topple the current system to bring a new order like matriarchy. The goal is simply to have no one living a privileged life at the expense of a subservient gender. This is the difference between a feminist and a misandrist. Patriarchy affects both men and women. It tells women that they need a husband to survive, men that they should be strong and authoritative and queer people to not exist. It is a structure that weakens each one of its members and yet, we uphold it.
Recently, I read a comment on an Instagram post about how all that feminists want is equality. The comment equated gender roles to roles in a company where the CEO and employees are not equal. It went on to point out that our roles made us unique. First of all, in a country like ours, dignity of labour does not exist. We tend to not give people with blue-collar jobs or anyone below our own ranks, the respect they deserve. That is on us. Second, the comment, I believe, is a view that is shared across all classes by a huge majority of our population. Who will stay at home and watch the kids? The answer to that is whichever parent is free. Wanting that is not an attack on men.
This simple video explains what feminists really want:
Misandry and misogyny
Misandry cannot be equated to misogyny even though they both have similar meanings. Until men, as a gender are subjected to structural inequality that discriminates against them, it is not the same. Some women may hate men but that is where it ends most of the time. We are not ignoring atrocities faced by men but on a whole, women are the ones clutching their lives when they are out alone in the night.
Just by calling yourself a feminist, you are subjected to infinite eye rolls which makes a huge number of people steer clear of the term. You have to deal with accusations that you care only about women when the fact is that every day, you hear a story which is inherently grotesque of how women are treated that inevitably becomes what you raise your voice for.
Misandry has always existed. An anti-male bias has developed in some people as a reaction to the atrocities faced by women. This is represented by only a handful of people. Pseudofeminism is the callous rebranding of women who speak up in a way that’s distasteful for the majority. Again, this is not to ignore the misconstrued understanding of feminism by many. We are not here to pass judgement but to work towards a change in societal structure where women aren’t made to feel guilty about being ambitious and not taking care of a family, and men aren’t shamed if they want to do exactly that.
Aparna Mammen is an intern with Shethepeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.