The Two-Way Street of Sexism – or, The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend

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Masculinism – it’s apparently a movement. Clearly the term was coined as a parallel to feminism. This may lead to the assumption that they are in opposition.

“Feminism” was given that term because it was focused on women’s rights, and “women’s rights” was given that term because (most) men already had them. But it’s foolish to think that feminism is strictly about the advancement of women without regard to inequalities that appear to go the other way.

Reading this article from the BBC Magazine, many of the issues that “masculinist” movements are seeking to address are very real. But rather than ignoring these issues as “not a feminist problem” or getting offended thinking that men are trying to take things away from women we should be joining and supporting these issues. Equality-minded men have supported feminism and equality-minded women should support masculinism.

There is a caveat, of course. Heavily politicized terms like this are often blanketly applied to self-serving interests, and men may use this to claw back at things won in battles towards gender equality. But there are clearly issues that unfairly benefit women, and we need to openly talk about them: child custody, granted disproportionately to mothers blind of merits; lack of awareness or open discussion of men’s health; sexualization of women used to their advantage (this is sexist in both directions); and the disbelief or ignoring of women’s violence towards men, to name a few. There’s a stigma against men choosing home and family over money and work. Close friendships more quickly lead to suspicion of homosexuality in men. And all of this is just wrong.

And all this time, men bringing up the discussion of discrimination (instead of shouting out reactionary bullshit when women’s inequality issues were brought up) has been discouraged by these masculine ideals and expectations – that men are to be stoic, to fight through hardships without complaining, and that they are completely void of emotion. It wasn’t feminism that shushed men’s concerns like this. And good on men for taking something as gender-distinct as their facial hair to get the ball rolling on something as previously “unmasculine” as talking about their health. And good on men for finding an excuse not to shave without their partners complaining.

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