Since coming to terms with the fact that I am a feminist, I have been spending quite some thought on the equality issue. More and more I am becoming aware that men deserve equality just as much as women do, and are equally negatively affected by the prevalent gender stereotypes.
Women Have Half a Brain
Women are often portrayed as silly, hormonal emotional wrecks that are really only good for household chores, having children and having sex with. I realise I am somewhat overstating here, but the amount of adds and sit coms that are based on (elements) of this stereotypical gender role are frightful. I hate that “like a girl” is a slant, and that women are being judged and ridiculed for choosing not to have children.
I think there are countless resources floating around the internet that discuss how women are hurt my inequality. I agree with many, and truly believe that there is a need for change. Our children need to live in a world where being a woman is not something negative, something to be regretted or pitied. They need to grow up in a world where women are not solely judged by their appearance. Oh, how I will my future children (whether boys or girls) how much more there is to being a woman.
Men Are Soulless Robots
What we talk about a whole lot less, is how the gender inequality is hurting men. And the fact that we don’t worries me. Sure men usually get paid more, have more career opportunities. But when a man is hurting, has emotional issues he faces a daunting amount of ridicule. Men are not supposed to have feelings and emotions, and so are not supposed to have either of them hurt. So how do we expect men to be healthy fully rounded human-being when we almost deny part of their make-up?
In my work for a support community for survivors of non-physical abuse, I realise that it is so much harder for men to acknowledge problems in their relationships or abuse from their childhoods, simply because they are not “allowed” to have emotional or mental problems. How many men are suffering in silence, because they are afraid to speak up about problems? Because their gender is not supposed to have these problems? It is a ridiculous assumption, and men deserve better.
Dump the Gender
In the midst of all my thinking, I too took a few minutes to watch Emma Watson give her speech at the UN.
I came across quite a few people criticising the speech. “Men cannot even contemplate how much more women suffer from gender inequality” was the general tone of those comments. But I don’t think Miss Watson is making a comparison of negative effects on either gender. What she says is that gender equality will be of benefit to everybody, and there she has a very valid point.
So let’s change the world. The endless emphasis on gender needs to be over. We need to look at people as people, not as an extension of their private parts!
Sure Feminist is a word with way too much stigma attached to it, which is such a shame. But you don’t have to use the F-word to support and promote gender equality. You can accept the people in your life for who they are regardless of their gender. You can start by not telling someone they should “stop acting like a girl” or joke that they should “grow a pair”. You can love your sons and daughters equally, you can see their talents, personalities and accomplishments as their personal attributes, not their gender roles.