an essay by Wajd Ashira
Patriarchy is the precursor of gender inequality where it pulls the ventilator off both men and women; however, feminism strives to put that life-saving ventilator back on. For a long time, feminism has been misinterpreted as extremism where people claim that “it is an irrational ideology that believes in misandry and women superiority". True feminists are activists who demand equality of the sexes and challenge the sexist attitudes and stereotypes that are prevalent in our modern society. Many people have looked down on the ideology of feminism, for they believe that true equality cannot be established within our society. People have this obnoxious perception of feminism which led to the stigmatization of the label “feminist” impinging on the true feminists. As a male feminist, I have been ridiculed for being a feminist since the term has the prefix “fem- “which refers to femininity and women in general. I have consistently heard many people make erroneous assumptions about feminism completely tarnishing the inclusivity of feminism and associating many negative connotations with that terminology. Many people have said that “if feminists call for gender equality, then why don’t they call themselves equalists?” My response to that arrogant question is to compare the Black Lives Matter movement rhetoric with the feminist rhetoric. The BLM movement strives to eradicate the racism embedded in the system, especially the police system, and it also calls for an egalitarian society where white supremacy is not present. Similarly, feminism strives to terminate the monstrosities of the patriarchy. The BLM movement targets an egalitarian society; however, it is a requisite for them to make racism come to an end in order to progress to that state hence the reason it is called Black Lives Matter and not all lives matter. Likewise, feminism wants an equalist society; however, the initial step to attaining that equality is to establish gender equality within the society. BLM is not anti-white neither is feminism anti-men. I, as a feminist, barely see any male feminists advocating for gender equality on the media which is an impediment to the cause of feminism since men must acknowledge the detrimental impact of the patriarchy too. The gender norms play a vital role in how men perceive women. Till this day, I know many men who believe that they are hegemonic figures with absolute power. This is conducive to many men belittling the male feminist who advocate for change like me. As of my experience, I have seen many misinformed men that mocked feminism and called it “stupid”, “r*tarded” and “dumb”. It utterly disappoints me to see many men loathing gender equality, to see many men disregarding the traumatic experiences of many women and to see men not fighting for change. All in all, men, are you “manly” enough to be a feminist?