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Feminism IS for Everybody

pialamode314's picture

Near the end of class today when Anne asked us to discuss whether feminism was for everybody, my immediate response was, "YES. ABSOLUTELY." Sexism and patriarchy affects everyone of all different genders in our society, and sometimes people who are unaware of the issues don't realize that. I remember in high school when I was still a budding feminist without much background, I often would get into arguments with classmates about feminism, but when people began to talk about issues men faced and how sexism against men exists, I really didn't know how to intelligently counter the argument, though I knew it was wrong. Unfortunately, the way I felt then is probably the way most people in today's society feel because they are not exposed to the idea that patriarchy affects everyone, including men. That's why I loved bell hooks' definition of feminism: "feminism is the movement to end sexism." Plain and simple. Sexism can rear its ugly head in so many different ways, and it's often not recognized as such. The idea that only men must sign up for the U.S. military draft? Patriarchy teaches us that women are weak and fragile and must be protected. Sexism. The fact that men are more likely to lose custody of children in divorce cases? Patriarchy teaches us that women are better nurturers and care-givers than men and child-rearing is women's work. Sexism. The idea that men cannot show emotions or dress in feminine styles? Patriarchy teaches us that feelings and feminine clothing are women's things, and god forbid men degrade themselves by expressing feminine qualities. Sexism. A lot of this relates to the idea of "benevolent sexism" - I found an interesting blog post on Scientific American about this notion (I'll post the link below), if anyone is interested in reading it. It talks about how studies show that women exposed to benevolent sexism, though they know something is wrong, cannot pinpoint it, and often are led to believe that because there are certain instances in which sexism hurts men, that sexism does not exist anymore and patriarchy is a myth. In reality, yes, patriarchy priveleges men in our society, but sexism affects and can hurt everyone - men, women, and all other genders. EVERYONE needs feminism.


ari_hall's picture

Yes i totally agree. Often

Yes i totally agree. Often times many people do not see that sexism affects men too, and that men can be included in the feminist movement. So therefore feminism is for anyone who wants it, but better yet, as stated by Sam in class today "feminism should be accessible to everyone". And today I reaized that feminism has to have a unified definition to achieve gains, but that does not mean that it should not be inclusive of all intersectionalities.