Student Name: Bella Yang
Instructor’s Name: Trevor L. Hoag
Course Name: ENG 123
Due Date：20 November 2015
Arrangement: Classical (But not so strictly)
He And She For Us
“Feminism” must be a familiar word to us. To begin with, I want to ask a question, do you agree that the idea and movement of feminism is only benefiting woman? What about the impact feminism is posing on men? Is feminism discriminating against men? Or is it possible that feminism is benefiting men as well?
I mainly want to argue today that feminism is not discriminating against men. On the contrary, it is benefiting them as well. But before that, I feel obliged to say why we should care about feminism. The reason is that it is affecting everyone. Everyone, male, female, consciously or unconsciously.
In developing countries or poor region, there is still a bias that female are inferior than male. There is still discrimination against female that they are less useful than men. There are still people who would be unsatisfied with and glare at their daughters-in-law because they gave birth to girls. There are still a majority of people who think that girls shouldn’t expect same opportunity and education as boys. There are still a lot of girls who were compelled to marry at a very young age.
People may say that those cases are too distant. People in developed countries could say they are around female people every day and they didn’t see any discrimination like education against them. But this is not right. Take the prevalent cases that happen in workplace for example.
Globally, women can “hold top political offices, lead major companies, wield considerable economic power as entrepreneurs and consumers, and are even, as a group, better educated than their male peers,” reads A Wake-Up Call for Female Leadership in Europe, a study by McKinsey and Company. “Yet in most European countries, women are employed at rates far lower than men are. They are also underrepresented in positions of leadership: women continue to be conspicuously absent in Europe’s parliaments and board rooms”(Bystrova).
The fact above shows that even if women are as capable as or even more capable than their male peers, they still can’t expect the same salary or treatment. Besides the statistics which are obvious, there is also unconscious discrimination against women.
“Journalist and radio talk show host Rebecca Juro told The Huffington Post that she knew her transition from male to female was finally visible when men began looking down on her.
“I know I’m being accepted as a woman when the average men’s estimation of my intelligence drops by 50 per cent,” said Juro. “When I was living as male, I didn’t have a problem with acceptance. I would go in and say, ‘Okay, here’s how we’re gonna do this’, and there was never a question. There was never a problem, I didn’t have a problem being respected on the job or any of those kinds of things. And then when I transitioned, I lost what people call ‘male privilege’. When I started working as a woman people were likely to question, ‘Well, wait a minute – what about this and what about that?’
Okay. So the conscious and unconscious discrimination of women are obvious. But this is not what I want to argue. We already know that we should advocate feminism for women, but why should we do it for men as well? How can feminism benefit men at the same time?
It is not the feminism that is going to benefit men, but the equality behind it. And feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.
All those discrimination is based on the thinking that men are stronger and more powerful than women. Let’s first see what “the gender stereotype of men” is. Tony Porter, founder of violence prevention organisation A Call to Men, said this,
“I grew up in New York City, between Harlem and the Bronx. Growing up as a boy, we were taught that men had to be tough, had to be strong, had to be courageous, dominating – no pain, no emotions, with the exception of anger – and definitely no fear; that men are in charge, which means women are not; that men lead, and you should just follow and do what we say; that men are superior; women are inferior; that men are strong; women are weak; that women are of less value, property of men, and objects, particularly sexual objects(Porter).
Though it would seem unfair for women, but for men, is this bad? Powerful, in control these all seem like positive words. But it is because of these positive words, that imprison men of responsibility, bravery. Even if at times they are vulnerable, they don’t open up and talk for fear that it would make them less of a man, which doesn’t make sense to me at all. The gender stereotype is encouraging all men to play tough. At present the ordinary man has the choice between being a slave and a scoundrel (Dell).
Dell made a good point. A free man is a man who is ready to throw up his job whenever he feels like it. Whether he is a bricklayer who wants to go out on a sympathetic strike, or a poet who wants to quit writing drivel for the magazines, if he doesn’t do what he wants to do, he is not free. . . .
And this will be true so long as women as a sex are dependent on men for support. It is too much to ask of a man to be brave, when his bravery means taking the food out of the mouth of a woman who cannot get food except from him. The bravest things will not be done in the world until women do not have to look to men for support.
Many of you may have watched or at least heard of the “HeForShe” campaign and the speech that Emma Watson gave in UN about feminism. And in it, she said, “We rarely talk about men being imprison of gender stereotype, but I can see that they are. And that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
I know maybe opponents to this will argue that men and women are different. I have seen this opinion while doing research online.
“ Men don’t want the freedom that women are thrusting upon them. They don’t want a chance to be brave. They want a chance to be generous. They want to give food and clothes and a little home with lace curtains to some woman.
Men want the sense of power more than they want the sense of freedom. They want the feeling that comes to them as providers for women more than they want the feeling that comes to them as free men.—-They want someone dependent on them more than they want a comrade. As long as they can be lords in a thirty-dollar flat, they are willing to be slaves in the great world outside. . .”
Even if I agree that men sometimes may have the desire of controlling. I don’t think that is fair. The last sentence is especially absurd. Why does a man have to be a lord or a slave? Why can’t he just be a person? I still deem that if men want to be generous and give protection, it is their freedom. But they shouldn’t be imprisoned by the responsibility and can’t be themselves anymore. They should be able to kiss their job goodbye when they want to, without being a hero and a scoundrel at the same time. And this won’t happen unless women are treated equally in economic and political aspects.
Let me end this with quote from Emma Watson’s speech, “I want men to take up this mantle so that their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.”
When you have got a woman in a box, and you pay rent on the box, her relationship to you insensibly changes character. It loses the fine excitement of democracy. It ceases to be companionship, for companionship is only possible in a democracy. It is no longer a sharing of life together—it is a breaking of life apart. Half a life—cooking, clothes, and children; half a life—business, politics, and baseball. It doesn’t make much difference which is the poorer half. Any half, when it comes to life, is very near to none at all.
Bystrova,Kate. “Feminism Is For Men Too.” The global-briefing.org
Dell, Floyd. “Feminism For Men.” TheBuffler.com No.24,2014. http://thebaffler.com/ancestors/feminism-for-men
Emma Watson Speech in UN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-iFl4qhBsE