The Other Half of the Fight

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Feminism affects men too. Some people might argue that that statement is true because feminism takes power away from men: thus the movement has retroactive consequences for men. Some might try to disprove that statement all together. But what if I told you that men could benefit just as much (and in some cases more) than females by gaining equal rights for the sexes? Would you believe me?

Men are taught to be hard in both American stereotypes and global culture. They must divorce themselves from their fragility. Social stigmas say men should want to go see action movies rather dramas. They are to prefer blood and gore war movies over a sappy love stories. Over a lifetime of being hard, men can grow a cold, authoritative personality that has no moral qualms against disrespecting women.

Author and Yale graduate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls for change. In a Ted Talk last year, she told her story of discrimination in her homeland of Nigeria as well as her experiences in America and how anti-feminists not only affected her life but the lives of her male counter parts. Adichie shares her life in hopes that one day we will all be feminists. I agree with her message whole-heartly. If we want to better the world, the ideals of feminism should be shared by all.adichie_sheehan

The story that affected me the most was the one Adichie tells is of her struggles in her primary school days when she was told she could not be the class monitor. She describes the class monitor as a student who got to “write down the names of noise-makers” and carried “a cane.” For nine year olds, this is a tremendous amount of power. In order to receive this high honor, one had to get the highest grade on the test. Adichie worked hard and won the right to the title. But her teacher decided to give it to the student who had the second highest scores because “the monitor had to be a boy.”

While this type of discrimination would make any proper feminist upset for the little girl, not many might realize what effects this might have on the boy. Adichie describes the boy chosen as “sweet gentle soul who had no interest in patrolling the class with a cane.” I would imagine this experience would be one of many where this young man had to learn to toughen up and take charge. This experience also taught him that even though he was second-best, he is always better than his female-counterparts.

This is a horrible tragedy. I know in my personal experience, I have watched my brother go through the same process. When he was younger, my mom described him as a little angel. He was sweet and docile and, in many cases, better behaved than me. He was a little boy who got sad in movies where animals died and cried when our family dog had to be put to sleep. Fast-forward to today, my brother is still very much a nice guy, but he constantly makes fun of me for watching films that don’t have explosions every two seconds. I haven’t seen him cry in years and he’s become addicted to war-based video games like “Call of Duty” (games he used to hate when he was just starting out in middle school) and loves to watch plot-less action films like The Expendables . Society has put its hooks in him and molded a completely different person. It makes me sad some days when I walk by his room and I hear him on his headset calling his gaming bros “bitch” and other derogatory terms against women.

1379336Society as a whole needs to stop pressuring young men to conform to this vicious mold. Adichie makes the point that we not only need raise our daughters differently but our sons as well. She says “Masculinity becomes this hard small cage and we put boys inside the cage”, and by taking away boys right to fear, they become vulnerable; they become a “hard man.”

This speech opened my eyes. There are two sides to feminism. Throughout my blog, I have really only focused on how the word and movement effect women. Now I realize that this fight is for men too, and not as a service to women or a show of respect, but to liberate themselves s well. One of the best points Adichie makes is that humankind makes culture, not the other way around. If we want to let go off the restrictions of our current society, we must come together and push for change. If a man wants to see a movie that doesn’t have blood, bombs, and boobs for a change, let’s (as a society) not emasculate him (both theoretically and physically).

 

 

 

Uneducated Antifeminists

 

Feminism has received a lot of criticisms over the years, but one author goes as far as to call the movement outright “evil”. With such negative hate towards the movement that intends to better the lives of both genders, it’s no one wonder many people stray away from a cause that is now considered “radical.” One group in particular shying away from the label of “feminist” is the young actresses of Hollywood. These women are growing up in a society where feminism holds a lot of negativity.

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The author of the article “Why Modern Feminism Is Illogical, Unnecessary, and Evil” ,Satoshi Kanazawa, adds to the criticism. He not only calls the movement evil but states that “modern feminism is unnecessary” and rests on the idea that “Women don’t control these resources [money, power, and prestige], because they don’t have to.  What do women control?  Men.” He makes the argument that women of both past and present have had more physical and political power then men. He assumes that even men oversee these resources, they are in fact only doing so to impress women. I think this theory is absolutely crazy based no factual, scientifically-gathered evidence.

So basically every housewife not allowed to work, every abused girlfriend, every woman who has ever had to hide her face in order to not tempt a man, were women unofficially in control of humankind. This idea is just down right ignorant. In a world where some women still cannot receive a proper education or drive a car, male oppression can be witnessed in all corners of the globe.

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This article could not be a better depiction of how untaught feminism is right here in America. Kanazawa makes the statement “any political movement based on such a spectacularly incorrect assumption about human nature – that men and women are and should be identical – is doomed to failure”. Why can’t men and women be equal? The author does a poor job to explain his support to the argument. This type of stereotypical reasoning is no different than the logic of white supremacists half a century earlier who thought that Caucasians should stand above all other races. It was not by giving up the Civil Rights movement that schools were desegregated and racial discrimination in employment was outlawed. The same is true about feminism.

The fact that Kanazawa calls the feminist movement evil with no supporting evidence shows just how many holes his assumption has in it. The word “evil” as defined by Dictionary.com means “morally wrong” or “wicked.” The article never calls into question the morality of the movement, but rather, the author’s view on the impracticality of it. With the constant misuse of the word, it’s no wonder Kanazawa’s article lacks support and credibility.

 

This misuse of words is, in fact, no different than Shaliene Woodley rejecting the label “feminist” because she does really understand the word she is defining. In her interview with Time Magazine, Woodley says that she is not a feminist because she “loves men.” In order to be a feminist, one does not have to hate the other sex. This comment just shows how oblivious Hollywood has become. Now she shares her published interview with the next generation of girls. Woodley, who makes her money by playing strong, independent women, has taught young females that bettering the lives of women detracts from that of men. For someone pretending on screen to hold an admirable amount of independence, one might wonder if Woodley even understands the strength in her unscripted words.

 

holly2This article is pertinent to the topic of film because this type of antifeminist sentiment has hit the red carpets. Actresses throughout Hollywood are rejecting the label “feminist”. Many of these young women are uneducated on the term and feel they will alienate male demographics by becoming “man-haters”. What this article and Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand is that by being a feminist one is not rejecting men. In fact, the cause for feminism is to unite the genders and bring power to all of mankind. In order to better society, people must realize this. The article by Kanazawa shows how uneducated the masses are about the rights of women. The world must stop shaming women for fighting for equal rights. If the movement continues to be undertaught in future generations, the motion for change might just cease all together.