A common misconception associated with the feminist theory is the idea of being “anti-men”. Feminism is not anti-men, it is anti-patriarchy, inequality and systems of oppression. It is important to always keep in mind that the theory is rooted in the principle of equality. Being “anti-men” cannot be regarded as feminist, because “killing all men” does not coincide with equality.
It is critical to understand that social theories are established within context, they are not birthed on a blank canvas. Indeed, feminism prioritises women (Callaghan & Clark 2006), because it exists in a context in which women have been — and continue to be — marginalised. However, the aim is not to reverse the problem. If we were to propel feminism into the direction of “anti-men”, equality would not be reached. We would constantly be going in circles and arrive to the inverse side of the same problem.
“I do not wish women to have power over men, but rather over themselves” – Mary Wollstonecraft
Men, we are not against you; we are against the aversive acts you perpetrate on us. We encourage you to detach yourselves from toxic masculinity and find uplifting ways to define manhood. To regard us as equals, as opposed to being superior and having entitlement over us. We ask that you assist in promoting a society that reinforces our autonomy. We request that you strive to flatten power imbalances (Connell 1987).
In order for the movement to thrive, it requires radical action. It needs people in their masses. It necessitates drive, persistence and courage. It calls for all sexes and genders to stand in solidarity to defeat sexism and patriarchy. Men cannot be socially excluded from the movement, because it demands them to confront themselves. Thus, we cannot continue to perpetuate the idea that feminism is hostile towards men.
Social theories are complex. We need to be informed about them and understand their meaning, before launching them. I find it disheartening that people have done feminism such a disservice and interpreted it in a contradictory manner. Truthfully, those who want to be “anti-men” should start their own misandry movement, because it does not, in anyway, unite with feminism.
Callaghan, J. & Clark, J. (2006) Feminist theory and conflict. In: Ratele, K. (ed.) Ratele, K. Inter-group Relations: South African Perspectives. Cape Town: Juta. pp. 87-110.
Connell, R. W. (1987). Gender and power. Sydney, Australia: Allen and Unwin.
TP Apparel LLC. 2019. Pro Women Isn’t Anti Men. Retrieved September 20, 2019 from TeePublic.com: https://www.teepublic.com/en-gb/sticker/3589623-pro-women-isnt-anti-men-feminist-feminism
Wollstonecraft, M. 1792. “Mary Wollstonecraft ‘A vindication of the Rights of Woman’ ” in Schneider, Miriam (ed.). Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings. New York: Vintage Books (1994)