Your #1 Question About “Men & Feminism” Answered!
Let’s bust some myths about feminism, shall we?? In our latest episode, we sat down to discuss feminism, and why men need it, too. You, the listener, responded to a poll, and submitted questions about feminism and its accessibility or lack of accessibility to men. Here’s a little taste of the conversation as we answer the question: How do you balance women's rights while also honoring and valuing what men have to bring?
Kelly Anne: I would say women's rights are not dishonoring men - it's more holding men accountable. For example, Kelley earlier mentioned the sexual assault rate. Right now, a lot of those sexual assault cases never go to court or the man isn't convicted. Or, if he is convicted, he serves very limited jail time. It is not me dishonoring a man to say you have to pay an adequate sentence for your crime that you committed against another human being. I think of it that way. I don't think of it as dishonoring, I think of it as accountability, which really in the long run, is honoring.
Kelley: Mm hmm. No, that's true. Because if we don't call men out, they can't change. They can't grow. The reason that sexual assault rates are so high is that men can get away with it.
Kelly Anne: Absolutely.
Kelley: And so there's no need for them to understand consent or no need for them to be concerned about whether or not something that they're doing is lawful, or okay, or wanted by the other person because they have a lot of power to just do whatever they want in that realm. And that's not healthy for men. That does not create good, life-giving, society-building men. It creates power-hungry, dangerous, toxic-masculine men. And so, if feminism is about evening out the playing field, it's also about dismantling some of those things that have allowed “evil” into our society, if you want to call it that.
Kelly Anne: I think saying something is unacceptable doesn't mean that we're dishonoring you or being disrespectful. It's saying, hey, you're out of line. Hopefully you can come get in line and participate.
Emma: I think that feminism actually very much so honors men in that it honors their humanity in the same way that honors women's humanity. But also I feel like I hear the argument of, “Why are you so focused on women? Why does gender matter here? We should just be focused on equality for all, you know, not just focusing on equality for women.” And the thing is, gender matters here because that's what we're focusing on in this moment as we talk about feminism. Yeah, men do have hardships. Men do have things that are rough. Men do have ways that they are hurt or ways that they have been disadvantaged. Sure. But it's like saying, well, “Why are you researching a cure for cancer when there are heart attacks happening every day?” Well, the thing is, we're looking for a cure for cancer because cancer's a problem and cancer is a big issue and we are not invalidating that heart attacks happen. But, hopefully, as we as a medical society work towards a cure for cancer, it's actually going to lead to medical advancements that will help all people, that will help possibly also lead to a cure for heart attacks. These medical advances are actually good for everyone. And just because we're focusing on a cure for cancer doesn't mean that we don't acknowledge that heart attacks happen. It doesn't mean that we don't care about heart attacks. It means that that's our focus here and that's the issue that we're honing in on and that actually these issues intersect and that a solution for one is a benefit to all.
Kelley: Well, and I think one of the number one complaints that we hear about from men about the feminist movement is “I'm not going to have an opportunity, or an unqualified person is going to be put in a position that I was qualified for because they're a woman or they're a minority”. This drives me crazy because I literally see unqualified men put into positions of power every day. Literally every day, right? Guys, left and right. I literally sit here with my qualified self and my career experience, and I shut my mouth and I wait, because it doesn't matter what kind of education that I have, it doesn't matter how much experience I have. Men are going to get first dibs. They just are. They have friendships with the people who are making the decisions. They're in the boys club. And so the whole argument that, “Oh no, what if we put a black person in a position but they're not actually qualified and there was a perfectly qualified white man that could have taken it?” And I'm like, calm down. There's unqualified white men everywhere in all sorts of positions of power all over the place.
Emma: Also, it is either a sexist or racist assumption. To think that someone who is not what you've typically seen in power is automatically someone who's unqualified. I heard people argue this when President Biden came into the presidency. They said that he was being racist or sexist towards white men because he was promoting and elevating people of color and women in his cabinet. And those people who he put into his cabinet were 100% qualified for the positions, he was just taking initiative to bring them into that position that they hadn't formerly been allowed the opportunity to. And the opportunity was not provided for them because they were disqualified or because they didn't have enough experience. It wasn't afforded to them because they weren't part of the club, because they weren't the image of what people expect to see in power. People in our current Western society expect white men, and that is patriarchal at its core. Those are the people that they expect to see in power, and those are the people that they automatically assume have qualification. And then the people who don't look like them, people assume they don't have qualifications despite credits that they do have.
Kelley: Yeah, it's a really unfortunate automatic assumption and very racist and sexist at its roots. So, to clarify, does that mean we hate white men? No, no. But yes, I am jealous of the white men next to me with X amount of experience that is minute to mine who are put in positions of power ahead of me. I'm angry about that. And that's okay.
Kelly Anne: Yeah.
Kelley: That's why we do what we do.
Kelly Anne: So I guess the short answer is men are honored every single day.
Kelley: Every day is men's day.
Kelly Anne: Every day is men's day. So, moving right along!
To hear more from the Woman Beings about feminism, listen to our episode on feminism myths here.