It’s fitting that I use this title, as I am currently reading about communism in my poly sci class. And lately, the term “feminism” has appeared in many conversations I’ve had as well. There was an article posted on Facebook called “How Feminism Hurts Men” that stirred up a lot of debates. The author was clearly sarcastic as he pinpointed all the issues women have tried to fix over the years through feminism, but have seriously failed at. Women still don’t make as much as men, they aren’t elevated into higher positions in the workplace as quickly as men are, they are still harassed, raped, beaten, and made insignificant in the media. And if you are a woman of color? Forget it. You are 10x worse off than any other woman.
A lot of women feel that feminism, in essence, has actually set women back. The fight for equality essentially turned into the fight to rid the world of men period. Feminism does not focus on how to make women achieve as much as men, but to surpass the level men have achieved, and go farther beyond any attainable realm. The idea that “I don’t need a man” or that the “world is better off without men” has turned the phrase “feminism” into a negative concept, not one that was started to fight for equal rights.
Take relationships, for instance. I have noticed two types of women in the world of dating. The first type has been influenced by the feminist movement, thereby asserting her authority in the relationship, often refusing gifts and insisting on paying when the couple goes out. In her eyes, this woman is “independent,” “successful,” and can handle the monetary part of the relationship since she makes a good living. Any offer from her partner to pay, and she feels insulted, going off on a tirade of how men use money to control the women they date, and the fact that she can stand on her own must threaten him.
The second type of woman has refused the idea of feminism so severely that she has actually reverted to what I like to think of as the “1800s woman.” She feels the man must pay all the time, for everything, and that it is his job to take care of her. She will buy him gifts, but she will never pay for dinner, offer a surprise trip on the weekend, or buy him anything “just because.” She thinks feminists are idiots for giving up the comfort and security that a man can provide them. The only time she will regret the decision is when, one day, the man will use his control of the money and the relationship to force her to do something she does not want to do.
Comparing these two women, you can see that they are both extremes. There is, however, a median, where men and women can be equal with neither reigning over the other. It is true that women are afforded more opportunities than in the past; although there is no need to flaunt them, nor to dismiss the idea of chivalry. Men will always be the protectors of women; it’s a psychological fact. There is a way that a woman can be comfortable with that if she finds herself a man who respects her for her own abilities while providing support. The same goes for the men. Women need to realize that allowing man to take care of them does not necessarily make them weak; in fact, it allows both parties to be stronger, together.
A man who is threatened by a successful woman is no man. Yet women need to understand that to always diminish the role of men in our society will not lead to the rise of the feminist movement. It will, in fact, continue to hold us back, and when in 100 years we are still working for less wages than men, represent a small percentage of CEOs, and continue to fight the battles of rape and domestic abuse, only then will we realize how futile our fight has been.