After very long conversations with many of my male friends around campus, I had an inkling to write an article about my perspective on feminism.
I am sure that many, including myself, have felt agitated and unheard in these conversations. But in my opinion, it comes with the feminist territory. Given even amongst us how differently we view certain subjects, I would like to clarify that these are my opinions and my opinions only, and I don’t represent the variety of people this community holds. However, I am confident that our university falls short when it comes to educating and showcasing different perspectives on social-political issues.
Feminism for me represents the equality of sexes, as well as genders, in order to create an even playing field that benefits the individual rather than one specifically for their gender. Given this definition by me, or the original by Merriam-Webster dictionary “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests,” there is no way one should not advocate for it.
Yet, the reason the masses are so against the idea is what it brings: consequences. Many believe it would be the destruction of the traditional family concept, some are deep down scared of losing the privilege the system brings, and some just think it advocates for female supremacy. Even though none of this is encapsulated within the definition, these are, to some, valid concerns.
I read this wonderful short novel recently by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called Dear Ijeawele, A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, and it made me rethink my ways of carrying myself.
Such as what she calls “Feminism Lite” she expresses that feminism shouldn’t entail the idea of conditional female equality, it should question language that uses “allowing”. The author expresses this idea beautifully through an example “Theresa May is the British prime minister and here is how a progressive British newspaper described her husband: ‘Philip May is known in politics as a man who has taken a back seat and allowed his wife, Theresa, to shine.’ Allowed” ( Ngozi,11).
These intricacies may have always been evident, however, her all fifteen suggestions combined truly display how big scale the problem turns hidden in these small details of everyday life.
I realized that in the past I always explained my side to those that never cared to hear it. So, if you have a little bit of curiosity, this is my letter for you:
Dear males at IE University,
Understand that when we voice our concerns in regard to the patriarchy it is not against you personally. We just live in a society that doesn’t see us as your equals. For some time now I have tried to explain how that happens, but in no condition have I felt heard, so I would like to ask you to take my word for it, otherwise it feels like explaining swimming to a bird.
You have never lived in our shoes or seen the world from my eyes. So I am under no condition attacking you, it’s just my tired and angry concerns being voiced out.
I did a survey recently to inform myself about men’s views in our university when it comes to feminism. In this survey, the majority voted that they were feminists, however, this survey was not compulsory – thus almost more than half of the university students did not at all take part. At this point the first issue with the survey was people who just simply didn’t think they wanted to answer due to their lack of care for it – this being the first issue – thus, even though the majority said they were a feminist, the pool of responders were minuscule compared to the larger community.
Hence, I wanted to analyze the answers a little better. The second largest group’s answers were “maybe”- meaning they were an undecided crew. Overall, the survey’s answers in regards to what they think feminism means ranged from “Females are superior to males” to “Feminism is the attempt at setting a new standard of health, economic freedom, social and educational standards. It is oftentimes confused with creating equal opportunities for women as men have had for centuries, yet in reality, it is not about being set equal to how men are now, it is to strive to set a higher standard, a better one.”
It’s the reality of life that base collective mindset is not achievable. Your empathy and kindness alone, however, can lead you to the fundamentally right thing to do. It’s not about pointing fingers at an aggressor and a victim but understanding that to some degree we are all falling victim to a system that benefits one archetype of a person. Consequently, all the disagreements profit the actual aggressor that manipulates the system to exploit it.
Given these answers, my biggest sadness was those who perceived it as a sign of war, it made me wonder who sets this perception. Is it the media? Is it their upbringing, and inherited bias? Is it us?
Even though I don’t know all the answers to all questions, even after conducting a survey, I hope it will push you to reconsider your willingness to learn more and go on the search for the answers.
The restrictive codes that come with the patriarchy affect men as well, as the main beneficiary of this system you are also not immune to its effects. The people you care for and love get impacted by the set-stone discrimination that got so conformed. The overall systems of education, health, and economics would improve drastically if work and education were based on variety and levels of competency.
I believe we can all adopt a lifestyle that makes us all feel heard.
Class of 2025