- Mia Penner
Three Reasons Why All Men Should Be Feminists
Ever since the beginning of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, men have served as powerful allies of the female cause, using their male privilege to advance equal rights for all. However, a poll conducted by YouGov in 2018 found that only one in five men (22%) identify as feminists. This is no surprise; the Feminist Movement is often misrepresented in popular culture as a campaign to destroy powerful men rather than bring about gender equality. Despite this misconception, data unmistakably shows that feminism is beneficial for all members of society, including men. Here are three reasons why all men should be feminists:
1. Feminism does not seek to replace the patriarchy with a matriarchy.
While the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” many Americas liken feminism to misandry, which is defined as hatred of men. Although it is often misrepresented in popular culture, the Feminist Movement has never sought to reverse the power dynamic nor give women more authority than men. On the contrary, it seeks to balance the power dynamic in order to achieve equality of the sexes. Feminist initiatives often target women—who have historically received fewer rights and opportunities than their male counterparts—but they in no way seek to bring men down. Accordingly, men who support gender equality should not be reluctant to call themselves feminists.
2. Feminism is beneficial for the mental health of men.
Men’s Rights activists routinely bring up the fact that the male suicide rate is about 3.5 times higher than that of women, but they fail to realize that feminism can actually help lower the frequency of male suicides. Studies show that there is a strong link between traditional notions of masculinity and mental illness. Patriarchal society perpetuates the idea that men should be strong and independent, which discourages men from showing emotion or seeking help during stressful times. Men are also more prone to alcoholism and drug addiction, which may stem the pressure they feel to be leaders and providers. Dismantling the patriarchy, therefore, would have far-reaching benefits for both men and women, freeing all members of society from traditional gender constraints and improving mental health on the whole.
3. Feminism can improve family life by dismantling traditional gender roles.
Patriarchal society dictates that men belong in the workplace and women belong in the home. This time-honored yet narrow view of the family is not only damaging for women, but for men and children. Gender-neutral parental leave, in particular, has been shown to improve the relationship between fathers and children. A study found that men who take paternity leave are more likely to be involved in their children’s lives later on. Paternity leave can even improve childhood development; the same study found that children whose fathers took parental leave scored higher on cognitive tests and were more prepared for school. In short, all members of the family would reap tremendous benefits from the destruction of patriarchal society.