At the beginning of my freshmen year,I was on a date with a guy I met from a different college in the area. It was going incredibly well until I started talking about feminism. He asked me, “So, what kind of feminist are you? Are you the kind who hates men?” Every time somebody asks me this, I have to stop myself for a second to wonder how they could be so misinformed about what feminism is. It’s quite frustrating having to explain to people the difference between misandry and feminism. Can’t people get their information about feminism from some place other than Tumblr and Facebook? Is that too much to ask?
Anyway, misandry is exactly what many people confuse feminism for. It’s prejudice by women toward the male sex and the belief that men are inferior. Misandry displays itself in the same ways misogyny does: sexual violence, sexual objectification and discrimination, and degradation of men. For example, a man is sexually assaulted, but when he tells people about it they claim he “should’ve enjoyed it” or “men can’t get raped.” Certainly misandrists do exist and their hatred of men manifests itself in a variety of ways, especially in the United States; however, it is not even close to what feminism represents. Women who claim to be feminists while supporting an antimale agenda are ruining feminism for everyone else. They are making people who truly want to see every person treated equally look like man-haters when that is simply not what feminism is about. Misandristic ideals push an anti-male agenda while feminism does the opposite.
Feminism is about equity and equality for all people. Yes, that is including men. If you’re skeptical of what I just said, go back and read those two sentences a few more times because that came from an actual feminist and hopefully you’ll begin to believe it.
Our patriarchal society is harmful for everyone. Men certainly benefit from this social system more than women do because it was put in place by men for men, but there are ways they’re also done a disservice. In the United States, men always have to be masculine. They’re told from a young age to “be a man” and stop showing emotions because that’s what girls are supposed to do. If they’re a slow runner they’re told “they run like a girl” as if running like a girl is such a bad thing. This toxic, narrow definition of masculinity that young men are constantly being fed is harmful to them. Modern feminism addresses these issues males face in today’s society because it’s intersectional; it includes men and women of color, the LGBT+ community, the disabled, the mentally ill, and people from all religions and social classes. That being said, feminism is not about hating men. If anything, it’s a movement that benefits men like it does women, but in different ways.
It’s quite ridiculous that feminists have to justify their beliefs because it should be common knowledge that feminism is not the same as misandry. It’s also absurd that we have to make feminism about men while explaining what the movement is so everyone may finally understand. Like all the feminists who have been treated rather poorly by people for identifying as such, I’m sick of having to explain these differences to people. I’m tired of justifying why I believe women deserve to be treated like people instead of things to those who don’t even have the first clue about feminism. If you want real information about feminism, then learn from an actual feminist instead of believing memes on the internet.
I’m Olivia Lepage (’19) from Westland, Michigan studying Communications and Film. I currently live in the F/M area year round and consider this tundra my second home. I sing Alto 2 and am President of Cantabile, I work at the Circulation Desk in the Carl B., and I do shows with Concordia Theatre as much as I can without spreading myself too thin. Chocolate chip cookies are my only weakness.