This is a question I’ve seen twice yesterday, so I thought it necessary to talk about it here.
It seems to be popular opinion that feminism is men versus women. This is true for some feminists, but usually they are just starting out as feminists or just have this opinion, but it’s not all feminism is.
I of course can’t speak for feminism as a whole because there are so many different types of feminism and people have different views of how to solve the gender inequality problem. I’m just going to discuss my ideas here, but they definitely do not apply to every person who considers themselves a feminist. Assume “my version” or something of the like is before anything that’s an opinion or a statement. I just can’t write my version over and over or it can get crazy.
An important point of feminism is gender equality. Some think of it as women getting up to the point of men.
“But us white men are oppressed too!”
Exactly. I don’t want to get up to the point of men because they have their own stereotypes and archetypes (though many more than what women have) and if they’re the working class, they’re still oppressed! OPPRESSION COMES FROM EVERYWHERE. Seriously, you can’t get away from it whether you’re poor, a person of color, LGBTQ, a woman, a person of a different religion, and so many other problems! I never say that men don’t have problems too because I see this and I have some wonderful arguments for it too. I get excited.
Just a small (favorite) example is maternity leave. So women get maternity leave and maternity leave that’s offered does suck as it’s too short and some jobs won’t pay for the whole thing. It really does suck. So what about the man? The man doesn’t get to stay home with baby. I dislike it when people say “well men have it hard to because they don’t get to sit around all day with the baby.” It’s an awful opinion and I’m sorry to say that, but it means that a person isn’t acknowledging what the mother does during the day. They’re not acknowledging the isolation the mother is feeling because the only person she has to interact with is something that cries and feeds all of the time and can’t actually say I love you or even show it besides the way of loving because of necessity. It’s actually terrifying and it makes it possible to understand postpartum depression a lot more. Men suffer from this too though it’s not studies as well.
They say that when the baby is born, it typically looks more like a father, so the father can bond to this baby they don’t know. Can you imagine what would happen if men had a version of leave after the baby was born? Maybe it would be more possible to accept the affection a father has for a child! WHAT?! AFFECTION?! People seem to think that affection for children is a feminine quality, but it may just be that men don’t get enough time with their children and don’t have this bonding period that’s necessary. My mom was very awkward around me when I was teenager. She lost her mom when she was teenager, so she didn’t have much to base it off from. A father may be awkward around their kid because their father didn’t know how to show affection and the cycle continues.
That’s a long example that I could just keep writing about, but since it gets jumbled and semi-contradictory (as life is), I’ll reply to any comments or questions and try to give as clear of an answer as I can.
Another point since I said “white men” earlier. There are all kinds of oppression and people can be oppressed more than one way. A black woman has more types of oppression than the typical white woman. Once again, this could go on, but I wanted to make that small point.
A longer example that really ticks me off: Women are oppressed here, why do we have to look at women there?
Working as a collective. When we do this, we accept that there are different types of oppression, that are experiences are different, and yet we find similarities and common ground and realize that to fight, we have to fight as a collective group. There shouldn’t be this idea of “us” and “them” or “first world” and “third world.” It’s surprising how much we have in common and how easy it is to see these commonalities and accept each others cultural difference and where we come from. It shouldn’t be even working as a country, but also working as a world.
So back to feminism. It’s not men versus women, it’s more the patriarchy versus women/oppression of gender and so on. It’s so abstract and it’s hard to be concrete. What’s important to understand is that men can help feminism because they see it necessary for all genders (more than two! That sliding scale) just like women can be a part of the patriarchy.
SO MUCH FEMINISM.