I have watched quite a few of GirlWritesWhat’s videos, most I have issues with, and this one is no different, but I thought the angle on history was interesting. Alas, I still have some bones to pick, particularly in regards to the seriously negative picture that is painted of feminism here, as if it is an inherently bad movement…
I believe that both men and women are oppressed by patriarchy in society. I think it is bad that the 1 in 10 men that are raped , few are taken seriously, if at all; I think it’s bad that when a man is injured or killed it is seen as a lesser loss than that of a woman; I think it’s bad that there is a higher suicide rate amongst men; that boys are doing worse than girls in school; that when a young boy has trouble we tell them to “get a grip” and deal with it themselves, and yet we’ll rush to a little girl’s help no question, and I think that men should get equal paternity leave. That said, I also think it’s bad that 1 in 4 women have been raped and/or experienced domestic abuse; that so many women are still paid less, for doing the exact same job; that women are judged so much by how they look, and that what they choose to wear apparently justifies their rape; that still, 41 years on, we have to argue our case for our right to contraception; that some women don’t even have access to contraception, abortion, or even tampons; that 1 in 100 girls suffer from anorexia; that women’s bodies are seen as commodities; and that a man is judged for being feminine, because society thinks being to act womanly is degrading.
Quite frankly it’s all pretty darn shit, but on the man’s side of the shitness, none of this is feminism’s fault. At the end of the day, men and women are needed for the human species, and we need to work together to eventually achieve equality. Feminism is helping men as it seeks break down gender stereotypes about femininity: If we realise that masculinity isn’t all that and it’s okay for a baby boy to cry too, then boys will grow up feeling cared for; then less men may be driven to suicide because they felt they couldn’t ask for help; then men may live a little longer, because we cared to make their workplace safer, and because they weren’t so hostile to seeing a doctor when they needed to. On the flip side, some of what MRA’s are specifically fighting for can help women out too: if we challenge traditional gender roles in the family then there will be a more equal distribution of childcare between parents; if equal Paternity leave is granted to men, then the more choice both parents have in their careers, lessening the burden of biology on women, and lessening the burden on men to be the providers all the time. It just makes sense!
Another issue I have with GirlWritesWhat is her constant comparison to what life would have been like when humans lived in caves. The fact is, we don’t live in caves any more, and human civilisation has come so far that traditional gender roles are no longer totally necessary for our survival. The world is overpopulated, there is less pressure on us to procreate, and we have rubber socks and magic pills to stop instinct getting in the way of that too. Reflection on the past is always useful, but we’ve developed as a species and as a society since then!
All too often I see even the most liberal-minded feminists shrug off male concerns with the added “LOLZ What about teh menz?” caption. Yes, teh menz problems may just be yet another defect of patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean you should tell a man to quit his whining. In regards to Paternity leave, custody battles, and male rape victims, I think their case is most certainly just. If they are more cracks in the foundation of the patriarchy, doesn’t it make sense to point them out too? Regardless of their size or whether or not they directly effect the woman’s side of the building, a crack is a crack and you’re going to bring the building crashing down a whole lot faster if you pick-axe them all, rather than a select group.
Unfortunately, however, currently MRA’s are misogyny ridden and I can totally sympathise with people when they find it hard to want to help them. They spend their time hating on women and feminists, solely blaming them rather than society for all their woes. And at the end of the day, liberation and equality cannot be achieved through these hateful means. We need to work together, not against each other! If we respect one another and value equally both masculinity and femininity (something I don’t think has ever been achieved to date) then we are bound to progress a down sight quicker than we have been doing. It just makes sense!