Recently, the term feminism has taken the indication of man-hating. The pure and innocent intention to equalize women’s economic, political, and social rights has degenerated into a too-aggressive, too-isolating word that targets active feminists. However, in truth, the purpose of feminism has never been altered: to provide equal rights as men for women. In response, there are true feminists out in public, despite not having openly identified themselves as feminists. Their views clearly associate with the dictionary definition of feminism, which is the doctrine advocating social, political, economical and all other rights of women equal to those of men. In that sense, feminism is a concept or campaign that should be looked upon by both males and females.
First of all, it does not make sense for men to opt out of restoring female rights when they were the ones who put those rights out of service. Even before feminism first made its appearance at the end of the 19th century, men had been confining women to the little frame they had created and forced them to stay in that frame for men’s own good. As it can be seen from many historic contexts, women were often viewed as inferior to men, and in many cases were even objectified. The most renowned example would be the acquiring of trophy wives of men. The fact that women were only valued as much as a possession of men proves that women’s rights, compared to that of their male counterparts, were severely lacking, and even nonexistent in some cases. Historically, the “first wave of feminism” began when women realized they possess the very right to vote for the representatives who will directly influence their daily lives. The Suffrage Movement aroused the sleeping spirit of many strong-willed women at that time to rebel against the gender discrimination they were facing at that time. Some examples that are commonly introduced as discrimination against women include: maternity leave, less pay for equal work, glass ceilings in professional settings, sexual harassment and its aftereffect, domestic violence, female objectification such as pornography, etc. One of the most shocking statistics from UN Women shows that 30% of women have experienced sexual harassment in their lives according to 2013 global review of available data, and other sources further display the statistic of up to 70%. All of these factors play into the popularization of feminism and gender equality. In addition, the victims of patriarchy, who have existed as long as the human race has existed, are mostly women and girls. Oppression of professional development, actions, speech, and even behavior may be a result of patriarchy. Especially in Asian cultures, due to Chinese Confucianism, females were extremely socially suppressed compared to western women. Whatever the examples and numbers may be, female discrimination and the struggles to escape have been prevalent in every culture in every era. In the end, no matter how hard women struggle, if men are unwilling to change the way they are behaving and treating women, no improvements will be made. It is now time to step up the effort and actually make something happen.
Men should also take part in feminism because they are also the main characters of the scene. The modern definition of feminism represents not only the equality of women’s rights, but also men’s rights as well. The term may be deceptive; however, the intention behind it is what truly matters the most. Emma Watson famously stated in her speech at the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign launching event last September that, “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.” Men can solve women’s problems, but they are perfectly capable of resolving their own issues. In the same speech, Watson asserted that “I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.” Although concealed under society’s expectations, men are as often discriminated as women are. Phrases such as “Man up!” or “Be a man!” imposes the social stereotypes on men, just as fragile and submissive nature is being expected of women. For instance, men are educated to not show their emotions fully, which then turns internal to cause emotional weakness, resulting in them not seeking help for mental health issues such as depression. Men may also lose the chance of an accurate diagnosis, increasing their suffering. This psychological factor might be the cause of more male suicides than female suicides. Furthermore, from those stereotypes men learn, masculinity shows confidence and bravery, commonly known as “toughness”, which ignore emotion and pain and promote risky activities and unnecessary suffering. In extreme cases, actions derived from “toughness” might even go as far as death. Now, men, after these examples of discrimination of you, are you still backing off from the word “feminist”?
Finally, as much as men would like to admit it or not, women are vitally needed for the society in professional roles. It definitely is a relief that people are recognizing this most important reason for males and females to support feminism, since worldwide, females started dominating more percentages of the economy, politics, and various science fields. Regardless of the fact that professional equalization has long been present, complete equalization of men and women’s rights needs a great deal of time before it is even close to completion. This can be seen from the number of female CEOs of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, which only accumulates up to 23 out of 500. A mere 4.6% of females are CEOs in charge of a sizable company. Among these places is the internet search engine Yahoo led by Marissa Mayer since 2012. In 2014, she ranked 6th on America’s 40 under 40 list on the Fortune magazine. While Mayer represents the economic empowerment of women, Hilary Clinton does the same for the political sector. Particularly with her declaration to run for office after President Obama’s term ends, she is the role model of female politicians and an icon of female empowerment in America. Even the ever-worshipped Marie Curie, who discovered radium and polonium to revolutionize the sciences, was subject to gender discrimination, which debased her career. Despite these amazing, inspiring women profoundly affected the economy, society, and community, to accomplish what we intend to accomplish, we need more of them. We need more Marissa Mayer, Hillary Clinton, and Marie Curie. It has been proven that when men and women work together, different aspect of a single issue are more commonly addressed as compared to a single-gender group. The diversity of thoughts and opinions is essential for growth in any field of study, so why not bring the women in and enhance our economy as a whole?
It has been five months since the UN Women launched HeForShe, the campaign to bring men into the struggle for women. In that time, more than 27.8 thousand men have committed themselves to HeForShe. The Facebook page has more than 33 thousand likes, and its Twitter profile has more than 188 followers. Men have invented a hashtag named #AllMenCan, commonly used to declare men are capable of halting gender-discriminating behavior. As much as the opposition would like to deny it, the new feminism for men is changing the world, and eventually, with the help of men, equal rights will be provided for men and women and feminism will no longer have to be an active movement.