How feminism attacks masculinity
The other day upon paying for a male friend of mine’s lunch, I caught myself saying “Yeah, fuck gender norms” to no one in particular, with a sense of pride in the fact that I had defied the rules of gender that currently plague our society. The cashier across the counter from me responded with furrowed brows and a look that unapologetically expressed that he had no idea what the hell I was talking about. In my small bubble that is liberal Los Angeles, anything that dismantles evil, socially constructed gender norms is a win. By undercutting his masculinity, I had won this game of gender warfare and therefore equalized the playing field.
However, it’s come to my attention that these petty attacks on our culture do not actually further a woman’s place in society. Media rhetoric has long suggested to me that I’m still struggling to achieve equality as a woman. But as far as I can tell, I’ve been viewed as an equal in this society since I was born. So here I am, taking hits at this guy's masculinity in the name of gender equality. And for what purpose? What am I fighting for? It’s not equality, but the dismantlement of gender itself.
Gender may be the biggest institution up for debate this year, second to big banks. And one can not begin to examine the role of gender in our society without simultaneously discussing the growing and ever changing social movement that is feminism.
Because we are such a progressive country we often find that any social movement, like civil rights or women's suffrage, is inherently right. However, unlike women’s suffrage, feminism does not have an objective such as achieving voting rights but it is a mobile sentiment that continues to evolve without objection, largely due to the desire to remain politically correct. Any critique of it is immediately labeled as irrational conservatism, misogyny and even male supremacy.
If you’re talking about the original concept of feminism, then this isn’t an unreasonable reaction. Feminism initially attempted to further women to a place in society where they could do everything that a man could do, such as voting, becoming president, being the lead role in an action film or being the sole breadwinner of a household. However, feminism no longer asks for opportunity, but for a change in how we personally conduct and view ourselves. It’s about identity and personality. Whats more, it’s about culture. It’s in our culture to have the man in a situation to pay for the meal or open the door, to be the breadwinners of a household or to be athletic.
Feminism today seeks to promote gender equality by eradicating these practices and doing away with traditional gender. In reality, there is little work to be done in terms of gender equality. However, with the angst of feminism still pulsing through society's bloodstream, and no further work to be done, feminism has set its sights on masculinity — a reminder of the past oppression of women in America. When feminists talk about eliminating societal gender roles, what they’re really talking about is eliminating the presence of masculinity.
This sentiment is clear when participating in a conversation about gender and consequently feminism. I, as a woman, can engage in these conversations freely. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed my male counterparts attempting to participate in these conversations countless times, only to have their point completely invalidated with the slick, P.C. phrase, “Says the straight male.” Notice how someone with an alternate sexuality would not face the same criticism. That’s because it’s not men that new age feminists oppose, it’s the masculinity.
It’s the very existence of masculinity that is perceived as a threat to gender equality. By keeping the masculine voice boxed out of the conversation surrounding gender, women control the gender narrative and maintain their place in society. The consequence of this is that there is really no other group that is marginalized and invalidated more acceptably than the straight (often white) male.
The idea that feminism is used to help men is total crap. Feminism today not only attempts to silence masculinity, but to eradicate it’s role in society. This is due to a sense of insecurity women feel in terms of their new place in the world. Historically, our country has been a patriarchy run by masculinity. That's an intimidating concept considering the fact that women have only recently reached a role equal with men in society. However, we can still have these traditional cultural practices and include the male perspective without inequality. The existence of masculinity is not an inherent threat to the advancement of women. We need to be able to appreciate the progress women have made and release insecurity of losing it.
Gender norms don’t hinder our ability to have societal equality between the sexes. Gender norms are just one thread in the fabric of American life. To attack masculinity is to attack our culture. To eliminate it would lead to real inequality, tipping the natural balance of masculinity and femininity. If feminists truly want to achieve “equality between the genders,” they’re clearly misinformed.
Gender is a cultural concept that provides different guidelines for behavior. Sex is how we identify the physical body you were born with. By diminishing the existence of masculinity, you may achieve equality of the sexes via the creation of a genderless society. However, the current equality between the genders would cease to exist.