Ever since Obama came into office in 2008, it appeared that our country was moving in a more progressive direction. This felt especially true, in terms of acceptance of gender expression, feminism, and different kinds of sexual orientation. It reminds me of a similar renaissance that occurred in the seventies, when artists such as David Bowie could flaunt their queerness. But just like the toxic masculinity that popped up and took over music scenes later in the 70’s and 80’s, one can notice a similar movement today in our culture. Even though we have witnessed the popularity of entertainment like RuPaul’s Drag race, and have a great variety of gender challenging musicians, the regressive movement known as “meninism” seems to currently resonate with many young men. That’s what this whole article is about. It’s about many men in our society, from all demographic groups, who try to blame feminism for the struggles they experience in life. We all know someone who adheres to this bullshit philosophy, and we saw it on parade when Donald Trump won the presidency last November.
Growing up, I was raised by a strong and independent woman. My mother didn’t allow my father to dominate her, and she instilled in me the notion that women deserve to be respected. She taught me that a woman is just as physically/mentally capable as a man and to call out sexism when I saw it. You could say that I took these things to heart; which helped form me into the active feminist I am today. For that reason, I always feel a little appalled when individuals of both sexes tell me they don’t believe in Feminism. I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard, “Well women shouldn’t be able to _________ because they aren’t as strong as a man.” There was a time I called out a female coworker, when she used that generic line to say women shouldn’t be fire fighters. I politely told her that I would rather be dragged out of a burning building, on my ass by a female firefighter, than not to be saved at all. Americans seem to get so fixated on this mega masculine mind set; which divides us by what we can do physically. Is that all that we really care about? I, for one, know several women who could bench me, and probably tear me in half; which seems to negate the argument that men are physically superior.
But focusing just on that would be shortsighted of me, since we know that women are often treated as unequal when it comes to knowledge as well. From my personal experience talking to anti-feminists and meninists, if there is a distinction between the two, there is a belief that men are better at some things than women. The belief seems to be rooted in the train of thought that men and women are wired differently. Maybe it’s just the sociologists in me, but I’d rather adhere to the explanation that is socialization. If we tell boys and girls that they should act certain ways and pursue gender appropriate careers, common sense tells that they will likely internalize it as they grow. This probably explains why people who are taught from an early age that women are somehow inferior, or that feminism is destroying our country, will grow up to resent women and their progress. Tearing down women and their achievements will not make our country stronger. Treating women as equals, and not as enemies of male prospects, we can continue to progress past being a society of outdated gender norms.