Feminism has become something of a dirty word over the past few years. Men, and even some women, have railede against the term, seeing feminists as aggressive, men-hating, women-supremacists. Many men have adopted the term “meninist” for themselves, and advocate for what they call “men’s rights.” Many others have used the term equalist, saying that they believe everyone is equal, and deserves equal rights.
I really, really do not like those people, “meninists” especially.
Feminism is ultimately the belief that women are equal to men, and should be afforded the same rights, social status and opportunities as men. For men, like me, this means that traditional gendered roles are thrown out the window. For example, in a world where feminism is the norm men would be able to go on paternity leave and not face any social or professional stigma. Feminism benefits everybody, regardless of gender.
Despite this, a lot of men still rail against feminists. The twitter hashtag #MeninistTwitter, which started as a series of joke tweets and memes by male feminists, has been used by people to point to problems they have with feminism. Many use it to actively mock anti-rape ads and promote and joke about violence against women.
My biggest issue with “meninists” and so-called “men’s rights activists” is that what they are supposedly fighting for already exists. The reason feminism exists is because men have dominated every single facet of society. Men already occupy the most privileged positions in government. One hundred percent of the presidents have been men. Only 19 percent of the House of Representatives are women, despite the population of the U.S. being over 50 percent women.
Men are overwhelmingly portrayed in significant roles in all forms of media, while women are marginalized and overly-sexualized in every form of media. Women are harassed and under-represented in nearly every professional occupation and both statistically, and in many cases, literally make less money than men in the same jobs.
Feminism is about bringing women up, and making people of every gender equal.
Being an equalist, by definition, means you believe that everyone is equal and should be afforded equal rights, regardless of race or gender. This is exactly what feminism is. The problem with equalism is that it ignores, or marginalizes, the present inequality and discrimination against women. It attempts to discredit feminism and feminists by making them the oppressors along with the anti-feminists who oppose them.
These are some of the same people who attempt to hijack the “Black Lives Matter” movement by saying that all lives matter. Equalists entirely miss the point of why “Black Lives Matter” and feminism both focus on the Black community and women, respectively. It is because both groups are systematically oppressed and marginalized within our society, and these movements are a response by these oppressed communities to that oppression.
If you consider yourself an equalist, that is great, but please, just say you support feminism! Recognize why many feminists are vehemently opposed to the currently status quo, and why some appear to be “anti-men.” These positions do not exist because of some inherent bigotry in feminists.
And if you consider yourself a “meninist,” please, just stop.