Feminism from a man’s perspective


Gender roles have played a significant role in society since the beginning of mankind. Men have been viewed as the superior sex: the group that works, provides and succeeds. This philosophy was rarely questioned, disputed or altered for thousands of years. A lady’s purpose in the world was substantially limited until the end of the 1800s, when the suppressed women of the United States finally fought to be recognized as equal to their male counterparts. The feminist movement was ready to change the traditions of the world. However, the message has not been completely translated. While women enjoy basic rights and liberties, they still face discrimination and misogyny. The men who fear losing their dominance silence the struggles of women. Feminism is a movement enforced by few but needed by many. I am a feminist, and, as a man, I urge others to open their eyes to reform because no man should ever underestimate the power and potential of a woman. This world indeed needs feminism.

The feminist movement is commonly misunderstood. Many often mistake feminism for misandry, or the hatred and inferiority of men. In reality, a feminist is simply someone who believes both genders should have equal roles and rights in society. Our Constitution states that “all men are created equal.” But in addition to restricting black men from voting, our founding fathers neglected to incorporate rights for nearly 51 percent of today’s population: women. A study conducted by the Huffington Post found that only 20 percent of U.S. citizens identify themselves as feminists, but the majority of Americans claim they believe in the equality of the sexes. If more people understood the literal definition of feminism, more people would potentially support the movement. While millions of women are fighting for their voices to be heard, little will be accomplished if men are not influenced as well.

“The lack of respect some societies have for females is something I have always found unnerving,” said junior vice-president Milton Zerman. “Many African, Asian and even some European cultures still have a medieval kind of mindset when it comes to the treatment and value of women.”

A majority of men do not understand the pain that women endure. Males should not necessarily be expected to comprehend womens’ day-to-day problems, but they should be held accountable for assuaging larger issues and for respecting their rights. Sexual harassment, rape, verbal abuse, domestic abuse and economic struggles traumatize millions of women regularly. One in six women have been exposed to rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The U.S. Department of Justice states that 90 percent of rape victims are females. Men have to be enlightened; their inherent problems are often microscopic when compared to what these women are exposed to. Issues are even worse for women on an international scale. Treatment of women in Middle Eastern countries is utterly appalling. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Egypt is the most hostile territory for women. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen follow close behind. In a 2013 study conducted by the United Nations, 99.3 percent of Egyptian girls had been victims of sexual harassment. In Middle Eastern countries, women are traded into slavery and no one seems to be taking action.

“There are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women and forced marriages,” said Zahra Radwan of the Global Fund for Women to BBC News.

Women contribute to society in immeasurable ways. Girls are being accepted to prestigious universities at high rates, and yet the issue of gender inequality continues despite that. The national median income for males is still $12,000 greater than that of females, according to www.worldbank.com. However, there is no evidence to suggest that men work more efficiently than women. In the U.S. Congress, only 20 percent of the total 535 representatives are women, but the repeated tradition of electing males to dominate the three branches of government can possibly be broken in the near future. Hilary Clinton may very well be the Democratic front-runner for the next U.S. president. Despite her contributions, thousands of non-supporters scrutinize Clinton’s qualifications for the job, for her gender more than anything. Male candidates are rarely the focal point of such a large amount of criticism. She is said to be too old, but no one criticized presidential candidate George Bush Senior at age 64, or Ronald Regan when he was elected at age 69. The focus should not be on Clinton’s age but on her resume. Women are often assumed too soft and sensitive to hold a position of leadership. This is a misconception, and a new and opportunistic view of politics would change the country’s policies for the better.

The nearly 3.5 billion women on this planet are still often viewed as a minority and are treated accordingly. The goal must be to defend the rights and lives of women and to promote global equality, safety and individuality. The mistreatment of women across the globe is being silenced by today’s ‘manly’ and ‘rough’ world. But now is the chance to make a change in society. The time has come for women to have a fair share in politics and to feel safe while out in public, at work and at home. I urge women to fight harder now than ever before because women have the potential to improve not only their lives but also to better the world around them. Without a doubt, this world needs feminism.