Have you ever noticed that in the comments sections of any column, blog vlog etc. about women’s rights or female stereotypes or feminism there will be a number of comments from people insisting that there is not sexism or if there is it is towards men because of [insert serious male issue here].
Now I would like to say right now that I don’t hate men and I recognise that there are a number of damaging tropes and stereotypes about men as well as women; however women are the most common victim of sexism or of damaging tropes and stereotypes and I think it is time we all recognised that. Doing away with these issues can only help people of all genders.
For example something that comes up often in the comments section of articles about women’s issues is the fact that men are often treated unfairly when it comes to custody of their children; this is used to back up the argument that feminists do not think something is sexist unless it is against women and all this male sexism goes unnoticed. What people fail to understand is that discrimination against men in this fashion is an extension of sexism against women. In this example one of the main reasons why women are more likely to get custody of children is because of the stereotype that women are the carers in the relationship and are therefore the best people to raise children. If this stereotype was done away with both men and women would be treated fairly in their quest for custody of their children and joint custody would be the norm instead of the exception.
Caring about women and women’s issues doesn’t by extension mean that I or other feminists don’t care about men and their issues it is however very frustrating to try and post an opinion or start a discussion on women’s issues; only to have it hijacked by people shouting (or typing in caps) about how we are actually the sexists ones because we are either ignoring men’s issues or because we are seeing sexism where there is none.
Being accused of seeing sexism where there is none is something else that is constantly frustrating me but that will be a topic for another blog.
Many people believe that wanting to shake off these tropes and stereotypes means that feminists want women to take over male roles and push them into traditionally female roles basically a genderswap of what we have now. This is a misconception,mostly spread by the same people that talk about “reverse racism”What most feminists want; what we really want is the freedom for both men and women to choose their roles in life and not have to fit into the so called traditional roles for their gender. When an opposite sex couple decide to have a child and a decision is made that one person will stay at home to raise the child for the first few years, I don’t want the woman to feel like it has to be her that stays at home, I want both people to be able to have an open discussion on who would be the best suited to stay at home with no expectation that it needs to be her. When a man wants to become a Nurse (a traditionally female job) I want him to be able to pursue this career choice with about fear of being bullied or ridiculed by men or women.
I and most feminists want people to have the choice to pursue their dreams; their goals in life without being tied down by traditional gender roles and that can only be a good thing for both men and women.
Summary (for those of you who are too lazy to read my whole blog)
Feminism = wanting women to have options outside of traditional gender roles = men having options outside of traditional gender roles = more equality for everyone!