Feminism - it is defined by Merriam Webster as "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities" (Dastagir, 2018). However, many people see feminists as women who only support women - therefore insinuating that they believe women are better than men. And, yes, while there may be women and feminists out there who do believe this to be true, this is not the essence of feminism.
Those who call themselves “feminists” are most often in favor of reaching equality of the sexes socially, politically, and economically (Dastagir, 2018). Basically, women just want to have the same wage opportunities, to be respected as worthy, valuable members of society, and to end hostile sexism (degrading and objectifying women) (Dastagir, 2018).
Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right? But, there seems to be a fine line here, as many men in particular see feminists as dramatic, and discredit their negative personal experiences. Some men even believe movements like the #MeToo movement “is usually a plea for attention with the motive of saving a career, to cover up adultery, or to seek revenge” (Bakar, 2019). They see these women as using the victim narrative and resent the fact that men could never get away with this (Bakar, 2019). Here is an example of men delegitimizing women’s experience and going against this fight towards equality.
There seems to be a disconnect, as there is resentment on both sides. Instead of making things equal, women and men are battling against each other, as if one another is the enemy. Men may think feminists are threatening their “power” and are illegitimate about their experiences, while women may think men are continuing to degrade, devalue, and make attempts to silence their stories.
Another reason many men aren’t jumping for joy is that some feminists won’t address male issues - they solely focus on women. Some of you may ask, in a male-dominated world, what issues do men really face? Some of these issues may include rights for transgender and gay men (Killerman). The reason many feminists are hesitant to fight for men’s rights is because some feel that this would pivot the conversation directly towards men, and women’s rights would flounder even more.
In this day in age, where “girl power” has become such a strong and prevalent message, it can be said that feminism is making progress in its attempt towards equality, however there are still ways to go. While there are men who still go against this idea, there are also men who consider themselves feminists and are along for the fight. The hope is that one day men and women can unite as one and gender roles, stereotypes, and inequalities will dissipate.