Oh yes, it's another article about that dreaded F-word. It is something that the world is very conflicted about but is in the back of everyone's mind, whether male or female. Many women are passionate about feminism, and here I will explain why, as well as explaining what it can offer to men as well.
What is feminism?
Feminism has had many definitions over the years. For some, it simply means the equality of the sexes. Many modern feminists also define it as a continued fight against the patriarchy. Patriarchy here meaning the idea that women have less power than men, against the unwavering power of masculinity and all that is associated with being male at the detriment of females and all things feminine. This means that many ‘feminist issues' can also affect men for reasons I will elaborate.
As a man, why should I care?
Well, it affects you. A lot of men complain that feminism ignores the issues that men face and focuses on women's experiences of them. One example that comes up in this debate is the experience of men who have been sexually abused/assaulted. Many feminists see this issue as an example of the idea of the masculine and feminine roles in sexual assault crimes. Many men have their experiences downplayed or discounted because being the victim of rape is seen as a feminine thing and being a perpetrator is seen as masculine, and in a patriarchal society, the perceived shift in these gender roles is, unfortunately, easier to dismiss. There are many people out there fighting for that to change. It's the same with male or female domestic abuse and society's attitude towards it. It all comes from this idea of power in masculinity.
But what about women outside the Western world?
In many lower-income countries, the education of women is not as valued as male education, so families who can send a limited number of children to school prioritise boys over girls. Many feminist charities have then been set up help these girls to receive a well-deserved education. The Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF) is a fund set up to do just that: "The CGEF helps girls to complete their secondary or high school education in their own Commonwealth country in cases where, for economic reasons, this might not otherwise be possible."
Well, what can I do about it?
You can support and contribute to feminist conversations around you, as well as researching different opinions on various topics. Even your seemingly small contribution to these discussions is valuable and will make for more significant changes. The more you learn, the better equipped you will be to understand the issues and talk about them.