I'll come up with something in a minute.

We may need to change the name…

So just lately, I’ve been seeing some interesting statements on Twitter. Seems some young feminists are worrying that men aren’t on board with feminism as a whole. There have been quite a few conversations about how isolating the conversation can be. It seems that some of them have a solution, but it will require some work. The problem, as they see it can be boiled down to a single sentence.

“We need to make it clear to men that the goal behind feminism is for their benefit as well.”

This is a good idea, but it needs help for implementation. First off, there needs to be obvious and not so obvious signs that it is, in fact, for the benefit of everyone. This is hard when people will continue to be people. It can be very frustrating to hear how women shouldn’t be judged on the basis of physical appearances and then be told that any guy she dates has to be at least an inch taller than her. Or that while it’s important to fight stereotypical gender roles, it’s the man’s job to propose. Those are minor issues though, vague complaints that are easily answered. They are important points to raise, but they’re also You Statements and as such as less useful in a discussion like this than some I Statements might be.

So what are some things that might bring more men on board? I have some ideas.

#1. Change Feminism to a Gender Neutral Term.

In many ways, Feminism is as out dated a terms as Women’s Lib. The problem with the term is that men will always know that they are not the focus of the discussion, so long as it’s geared towards one gender. As a term, from the starting point, Feminism becomes a series of You Statements for men. We often feel like we’re being cast as the bad guy, even when current theory is painting us as just another victim of a greater problem with society. Being cast as a victim is a problem for most men as well, for a whole raft of reasons. So much of the movement has become about gender identity lately. The other half has become trying to examine how to deal with male backlash, so maybe something that doesn’t divide from the word go would be helpful.

We need a new, more inclusive name. I would like to suggest something along the lines of Gender Neutrality. This would free the whole movement from of some of its initial divisiveness. It’s not about subjugating men, or raising women at the expense of men, it’s about raising everyone so that we can all be who we’re supposed to be. Yes, this is purely a cosmetic change, but you need to get people in on the ground floor and quite frankly just saying Feminism stops some people from even walking through the door. Too many men look at the term and decide that it has nothing to do with them, despite the fact that it would really help them personally if they joined in the discussion.

#2. Everyone Needs to Stop Talking About The Patriarchy

The Patriarchy is just saying The Man with more syllables. It continues the idea that men are The Problem, and as long as things are cast in those terms, many men will not join the discussion. Besides, The Patriarchy is ill defined and sounds like a Batman TV show villain, played by Peter Lorre. Just call it Society’s Problem, we can all own it equally. It belongs to all of us anyway.

Along with that, phrases like “You need to own your privilege” do nothing to help the conversation. If anything, they derail any conversation you might have been trying to have. The whole idea of talking about privilege is to show off that the privilege enjoyed by some is not universal and in fact is really enjoyed only by a genetically lucky few. It needs to go from “You’ve got that privilege” to “That’s not universal, that’s a privilege that other people lack.” which is a subtle variation, but no one feels like tuning into a conversation where they’re exclusively cast as the Bad Guy. Particularly when they themselves didn’t do anything, and extremely when they’ve got the privilege of not tuning in.

This is part of a larger problem of You Statements that need to be turned into I Statements or really, We Statements. I would rather see We Statements on that, quite frankly. One of the big issues here is that any man who doesn’t feel like playing along can point out how many women do all these things that “Men need to stop doing” and gives them an out if they don’t want to own any of this. We need to work towards making rape jokes inappropriate. We need put a stop to slut shaming. We need to stop expecting men to be sole or at least chief breadwinners. We need to stop acting like a wife is her husband’s property. We need to stop forcing gender stereotypes on children. We all of us need to stop using gay as an insult. We need to stop acting like there is a black and a white to human sexuality. We need to stop equating softness as weakness. And of course, we need to stop wearing Crocs… cause SRSLY!

And my final suggestion for today…

#3. Men Need to Step Up to the Plate, Like Now.

It’s time gentlemen. Allow us to admit, there are some things that only guys can talk about when it comes to talking to other guys. There are situations where only a guy can tell another guy “That’s not cool” or, conversely “Ain’t no problem with that.” Things that have nothing to do with gender relations, beyond the thin veneer of social expectations. There are time when only a guy can say to another guy “Because because I like to feel the wind on my balls, that’s why I’m wearing this skirt!” We, as guys, need to allow ourselves to drop some of this He-Man Woman Hater’s Club bullshit and admit that we like watching The Expendables AND My Little Pony, and making delicately frosted cupcakes with pictures of Rainbow Dash… holding Barney’s Knife. Someone make that fan art a reality. GO! GO! GO!

We need to step up and start talking seriously about gender issues, and the problems and difficulties behind them. Granted, some have started, the ball is rolling but the rest of us need to join in. We need to really get on board and have a long talk about this shit, probably over some Jameson’s 18. We need to take away some stigmas that have been building up, we need to express some emotions that aren’t anger and we need to be okay with those expressions. We need to make it okay to talk about male depression, fear, desire, and do so without shaming the person admitting these things. There is still a great deal of comedy geared towards men putting on high heels, and that’s got to stop. Some guys wanna wear high heels and stockings because it makes them feel something they can’t feel any other way. I get my kicks in a different manner, but I can see where the attraction lies.

Even if we find it weird, we have to stop leaping towards questioning someone’s sexual identity for having a brief fling outside of gender norms. We need to break down the idea of gender norms, but I think that’s a subject for another time. Right now, we need to not leap to homophobia, because that helps exactly no one. Softness isn’t weak, weakness isn’t gay, gay isn’t bad, and it’s okay to be a Brony. Once we, as guys, can start to accept that even our own sexual identity need not be black or white, once we stop being distracted by all these gender expectations, we can start to relax and get to working on important things like building that robot gladiator we’ve been talking about.

Yeah, almost everything I’ve mentioned has been done or is being done to some degree, but we maybe need to step it up a tad. I’m kind of tired of still talking about Equal Pay for Equal Work in 2013. That shit should have been over a long time ago and we should just pay everyone the same. I’m tired of still having to tell people that joking about putting roofies in some one’s drink isn’t goddamn funny. I don’t want to have to still be mired in an argument about rape culture, I want someone to help me build Spinestro, The Mechanical Blade so I can go back in time and get on Battle Bots.

January 26, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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