a message from a male feminist
People often ask me why, as a man, I am so passionate about women’s rights. The answer is that I got into women’s rights because I have seen so many women put through so many horrible things. There is so much that women go through that most men don’t have to worry about.
I have dated survivors of abuse and sexual violence. I have many friends who are survivors of assault. I have seen the way it destroys their lives. Almost every girl I know has been cat called and verbally harassed on the street. Almost every girl I know feels or has felt ugly because of the media and society setting impossible standards of beauty. It hurts me seeing such naturally beautiful women constantly feel fat and ugly. Some of my friends have even resorted to starving themselves. I have listened to my female friends talk about all the safety measures they take when they go out to make sure nothing bad happens to them: they walk in pairs, they don’t leave drinks out of sight in case something is slipped into it, etc. I don’t believe that society should be this way.
In Massachusetts, the government slashed funding to rape kits and rape crisis centers. Not all schools even have rape crisis centers. In Kansas, there was talk of decriminalizing domestic violence in order to save money. Women are told that if they have sex a lot or dress a certain way then they were asking for it and should somehow take the blame. I could repeat countless stories I have followed where women take blame for sexual violence. This shit has to stop.
It is up to all of us, men and women, to fight sexism where ever we see it, as well as fighting the system of capitalism which systematically oppresses women. I see it as my duty as a man to challenge this system of sexism. I see it as my duty to reach out to men and let them know that real men join in the fight against sexism and women’s oppression. Real men refuse to cat call, verbally harass, abuse or rape women. Real men challenge what society teaches us about manhood. We have to break free from the notions that manhood means being tough, insensitive, violent, and sexist. This combination inevitably leads to violence against women. We have to reach out to men and change this, as well as get rid of everything, such as the media, that teaches these notions.
I am a firm believer that if we all work together we can end oppression. I encourage every man to join in the struggle with me. I know it can be scary sometimes to call people out when they do something sexist. You might be afraid that it will cause a conflict, that maybe that person will beat you up. More often than not, though, that person will think twice about it, even if only a little bit. Don’t be afraid. Men and women must join hands in the fight. Together we can make a better world possible. Women’s rights issues are men’s issues too because the oppression of women doesn’t benefit men, it harms all of us. That is why I am a women’s rights activist.
Please join me in the fight to end sexism and misogyny.