Men in feminism

Few men seem interested in feminism. Lizzie Garcha asks how we can encourage more of them to realise that feminism benefits everyone.

, 18 May 2003

There can be no doubt that feminism has made many advances over its time.

However, all too often it seems as though achievements made are only through

the concessions of men. If this is the case, then how are we to ensure that

the next generation of men have a full knowledge of feminism, and that they

want to work towards its aims for full equality?

it seems as though feminism has only been seriously thought

about by far too few men.

At the moment, it seems as though feminism has only been seriously thought

about by far too few men. Too often it is stereotyped as a group or

complaining women, seen as unnecessary, as women are thought to have gained

equality, and to the members of the UK men’s movement, it appears as though

they feel that women are now the ones with the power in the world. This is a dangerous view to take, as clearly, women still do not have equality. The majority of those in power are still men, and women are still

subject to the ‘glass ceiling’ at work.

For feminism to carry on successfully, I feel that there needs to be a far

great inclusion of men. Women need to help change the way many men think,

particularly those in power in order that women can gain equality with men

the world over. But how is a task as great as this to be accomplished? Many of those in

power will have been indoctrinated with the views they hold for many years,

their opinions will be among the most difficult to change. However, the next

generation of men who do not have a full knowledge, or any kind of support

of the movement as yet are the ones who need to have feminism’s focus.

As a young person, I see far too many men with little or no respect for

women, with attitudes that can be of no benefit to women. These are the

attitudes that I feel need to change, these are the next generation of men

who are going to take over the controls, and despite females becoming more

involved, the world is still very much in the hands on men.

It is impressive that there seem to be many feminist websites, but we still need action.

So, what can feminist women actually do to work towards change? I feel that

the most important change that there needs to be is more action, more public

action. It is impressive that there seem to be many feminist websites, and

women can discuss what needs to happen, but we still need action. There

needs to be far more information about the inequalities that exist today,

and they need to be shown up to the world.

The white ribbon campaign was a good example of this, however, it seemed to

be publicised so little, and the ribbons were available in so few places

that it did not have the impact that it could have done. Likewise, the

Guerrilla Girls movement in the US shows directly the inequalities that

exist, but there seems to be no similar movement, at least not one so

popularly known as that to get the same message across in other parts of the

world. However, Guerrilla Girls have most of their focus in the art world,

there are few groups who seem to be willing to be as public with their

message. All too often events like International Women’s Day pass us by far

too quietly. Women should be making the most of these events to explain what feminism

really is to men, many of whom have a total misconception of what feminism

really is, those men who feel that women have come far enough and who should

stop now.

The attitudes of many men also need to change towards male feminists, all

too often there are men who feel that male feminists are ‘betraying’ men as

a gender, not being true to who they really are. With this view from many

men towards male feminists, and without feminism making a more dedicated

effort to include men, it is clear why there is a lack of male feminists,

especially among young men who retain the ‘macho’ attitude.

Even men who do agree with a lot of feminist ideologies find that they do

not regard themselves as feminists, because they are not fully involved with

the movement, and I feel that that is partially because there seem to be

very few places publicised where men can get involved. There is an apathy

surrounding feminism. Too many people feel as though it has accomplished

enough, that one person will not make the difference, but with a movement

such as this, every contributor counts.

The level of knowledge desperately needs to

grow – feminism has to become more prominent

Our society in general seems to have a very limited view of what feminism

is, there is a great ignorance. The level of knowledge desperately needs to

grow. To do that, I feel that feminism has to become more prominent in

society. However, I don’t think that directly promoting feminist views is

going to be useful, as they can often be manipulated.

More important is the need for more comprehensive sex education, and more

education for young people about the extent of violence against women. Young

people need more information about gender inequality, and what they can do

about it, because while half of society is being limited in what they can

do, then society as a whole is limited in what it can do. These issues need

to be shown to affect all people, not just women.

Schools have to involve classes such as citizenship, which would be the

perfect time for school students to learn more about the state of society,

and what they can do. By starting this kind of education at a young age, we

should be able to show the future generations the problems that they can

help to solve.

As for those men at the moment, who have past the stage where they can be

called young, the need for them to be more informed is just as great.

However, there can be no lessons on a regular basis telling them about

violence towards women. Instead, there needs to be more open and frank

discussion of such issues, their eyes often need to be opened to the

situation that surrounds them.

So everyone who reads this, I urge you to go and talk to at least one person

who you know doesn’t have a full knowledge of why feminism is still

necessary, and the problems still facing women, and discuss it with them. By

spreading an informed view of feminism outwards, maybe we can help improve

the situation for women worldwide, and gain some increased respect for the

importance of the feminist movement in the 21st century.

Lizzie Garcha is a 6th form student, who’s supposedly studying hard for her A2 levels. She adores puppies, and still thinks that Britney is better than Christina…

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