On men and feminism

on men and feminism

What does feminism look like to men?

woman below the gaze
woman below the gaze

I have been genuinely curious about this question lately. What does feminism look like to men? In my opinion, equality between men and women is synonymous with racial equality – on the surface, we have the same rights, opportunities, and responsibilities as white people. However, the world as we know it has been designed to systemically favour the white person over the non-white. And to correct for this, movements have been started to disrupt and dismantle this system (cue Affirmative Action, Inclusivity and Diversity laws, etc).

Why feminism

I believe the same can be said for men and the system of patriarchy. Enter feminism – a movement initiated to correct for the systemic privilege of maleness at the expense of womanhood. Makes enough sense, right?

However, as I have come to realize, people aren’t as quick to equate the two. I, being curious, had to ask. So, I did. I asked a number of men what comes to mind when they think of feminism.

Men, what is feminism?

I asked, not to debate or argue, but to temporarily exit my very fixed feminist bubble and enter the minds of those not as emotionally invested in the movement.
Many of the comments (not unlike those usually found within discussions about race relations) were centred around respectability politics.

“It is women fighting to be able to express themselves the way they want to. [Initially] it seemed to be centred around men, being better than man, or not needing men. And that bothered me because, you cannot push a movement that is supposed to make a certain group feel good about itself by putting down another group.
“Being feminist didn’t mean you didn’t need a man. It just meant you want to be who you are, the way you choose. And that could’ve been a wrong perception but there’s been a lot of clarity around the topic lately. And it has long deviated from being a campaign shading men”

Ndina Lithole

“Brilliant, absolutely necessary, well intention-ed at its foundation…misrepresented by those who’ve used its power to bring change, to push their own agendas (in the same way [religious folk] have twisted the Bible to suit their personal needs”

Sechaba Motseki

“Women’s equality. I don’t have actual statistics, {translated} but there are talks, and we can see, that key strategic positions in corporate are still dominated by men (this is also evident in clinical work).
“Secondly, it’s still a bit relevant in rural areas, where there are still gender roles and stereotypes.”

Mmakwata Lesudi

“Honestly, whenever that word [feminism] comes up, I see a woman who primarily has good intentions and fights for a good cause but got carried away and is rudely vocal about feminism.
“Similar to LGBTQ movements, *ba lwa, a ba boleli* [they fight, they don’t communicate].
“We just need to talk. I really understand where the feminism and LGBTQ angry community is coming from. But not everyone should be paying for the hate – we are not all against them. So we need to be mature about it.”

Lesetja Malatji

“It’s a movement aimed at empowering women, to enable society to view them as equals.
“It is still important [in our generation]. Equality has not yet been reached.
“Personally, I feel it is really important, especially for black women. But there’s also a bit of conflict between ‘traditional’ vs ‘modern’ when it comes to perceived gender roles. There would be issues with modern women trying to do both. As a man, I want to see my future partner as an equal. But the idea my mom has is that she [wife] sort of has to assume the traditional role too. That may be confusing.”

Thuto Kalipa

“It is a movement against toxic masculinity and support for women and their basic rights.
“It tends to go overboard sometimes with dislike towards men. Most feminists actually don’t like men.
“But in my opinion, it is a movement where women’s rights are advocated, which is a good thing, but perhaps some women take it a bit too far.”

Frank Achampong

I asked 7 men (very small cohort obviously) and above are the responses from 6. The seventh response was so all-encompassing (and 2 pages long) that I have decided to make a part two, all on this seventh response. Watch for this second post, coming soon. Thank you to all these men, who were honest in their answers and have brought me a few steps closer to understanding the other side of the coin. Lots of love to you guys.

Friends, what is the first thing that comes to mind when the word “feminism” comes up? And do you agree with the above statements? Let me know below.

Published by blaqandgoldblog

Life seen through a black girl's lens

3 thoughts on “On men and feminism

  1. I have done a blog about this, I made sure I wrote with another female blogger.

    We have to figure out how to make different types of feminism to reconcile

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is true. I have to believe that the true nature of feminism has been drowned out by all the negativity surrounding the term. People are not aware that there are different types of feminism, and they muddle them together in a way that makes it lose its real meaning

      Liked by 1 person

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