Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Feminists: A Step-by-Step Guide for the men who think we hate them

With International Women’s Day at the forefront of our minds this month, I thought it pertinent to discuss an issue that’s been bothering me and my friends for a while now; the confusion some people (often men) seem to have about what a being a feminist actually entails. Rather than reel out a 1000 word opinion piece on the topic, I thought a handy and concise step-by-step guide could be of service here, especially for those not well-read on gender equality. Prepare to rethink everything you thought you knew about feminism, and hopefully be inspired to learn more about it.

Step One: Understand what being a feminist actually means

First, let’s get one thing straight – there will always be people who find something to disagree with. However, for every person who’s reading this and deciding that I’m wrong – deaf from their chant of ‘feminists hate men’ – I’m hoping that there will be more people who are open to what I believe feminism is really about. There will always be factions of society that are extreme. I won’t deny it, some feminists do hate men. It doesn’t make their hatred justified simply because they slap a label on it. Ask yourself this: do Christian extremists render every other Christian a homophobe? No, they don’t, and the same thing is true for feminists. Aside from the fact that the idea of man-hating feminists is a hideously out-dated trope, the feminists that do hate men DO NOT REPRESENT THE REST OF US. We’re striving for equality of the sexes and that does not mean furthering the female agenda at the expense of the male. This isn’t about shaming men for no reason. Misandrists we are not.

Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project.

Step Two: Recognise why we need feminists

Both genders are guilty of sexism and that is precisely why feminism should not, and must not, be a dirty word. As sexism is ingrained in society, it’s therefore inevitable that we sometimes may even take part in its perpetuation unconsciously (Google Everyday Sexism and I challenge you to find someone who’s not ever witnessed or participated in sexism of this kind). I am indeed a feminist, yet there are multiple occasions where I’ve a) assumed the nurse I’m seeing will be a woman; b) wondered how a woman will be able to balance her career with her family; c) watched a comedy show and not immediately found it odd that there’s not a single woman on the panel. Try replacing the word ‘woman’ with ‘man’ in these examples. You’ll see how ridiculous, yet pervasive, Everyday Sexism is. However, all is not lost! It’s in our awareness of these issues that we can most powerfully create change – keeping the discussion going by making it a regular and normal topic of conversation.  Wanting equality for all humans, irrespective of their gender, is nothing to feel embarrassed about. You should be proud! Spread your message far and wide!

Emma Watson showing us that #ThisIsWhatAFeministLooksLike.

Step Three: Realise that you’re a feminist after all

Think about what Step Three is really saying before you get annoyed that I’m telling you what to think. If you have read and understood the merit behind Steps One and Two of this guide, I hate to break it to you, BUT YOU ARE A FEMINIST. Being male and being a feminist are not mutually exclusive. The loudest and proudest feminist I know is my dad, whose pride makes me realise that there’s absolutely nothing embarrassing about men wanting equality for their female counterparts in the world (#HeForShe).

 My dad showing us that #ThisIsALSOWhatAFeministLooksLike.

 I’m not going to force this on you – but before you staunchly declare your non-feminist status to society, think about what that actually means. If you say you aren’t a feminist, that means you’re identifying with people who are against equal treatment of the sexes, against equal pay for the sexes and most importantly, against equal rights of all kinds for the sexes. That is what you consequently admit in the denial of your feminism. By that logic, if you disagree with any of the above statements, you have just become a shiny new member of the all-conquering and all-loving feminist club. Welcome! Now, since we’ve got that cleared up, how about we all go change the world?

Image sources:

1. http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/39/590x/Untitled-2-472521.jpg

2. http://cdn.honestyforbreakfast.com/media/Default/Kerrie%20-%20Personal%2…

3. Author’s own.

 

Hi there, My name's Lydia and I'm a 23 year old Classics student in my Fourth Year at the University of Leeds. I've just come back from a year of studying abroad in Italy; it was a year of the least studying, accompanied by the most pizza-eating, I've ever experienced. I love all things travel, music and dog-based, with a keen interest in the ever-changing world of current cultural affairs. I hope you enjoy my writing!
Similar Reads👯‍♀️