From a Feminist Man to his Brothers
By Sherein Bansal (Written by a woman on behalf of feminist men)
I am a feminist man.
I know some men who get offended just because the word feminism has ‘fem’ in it. Get over it. It’s just a word that propagates equality between genders. If we want to win this battle of equality, we need to have both men and women on board. Don’t ignore the beauty behind the concept just because you don’t like the word. Everyone has a feminine and masculine side to them, anyway. Don’t you know?
I am a feminist man who is a proud witness and enabler of women speaking up, shaking off the dust from centuries of suppression, and fighting for their individualities, freedom, and their right to equal voice and their very right to be. But I don’t see men talking about their rights and freedoms. You good men are silent and choose not to join in the conversations where everyone is trying to figure out our rightful place in the Feminist movement. Could it be that the reason behind men’s aggression toward the word ‘Feminism’ has something to do with the fact that they are clueless about their own rights?
Here’s what I believe. Here’s how I think. I am an individual and a representative. I speak for those who have been silent.
I am a feminist man who loves spending time with my kids and takes care of them like a parent should. Not a mother or a father. A parent. I want them to grow up with two nurturing parents not just one.
I am a feminist man who values his teammates’ opinions, requests and work on the merit of the quality of these things, not their gender.
I am a feminist man who doesn’t ‘expect’ his wife to cook for him and his family after she just got back from her job. We take turns to cook dinner.
I am a feminist man who stands up for women when he sees them physically, verbally or emotionally abused the SAME way I stand up for a man when I see Him getting abused by another person, be it a man or a woman.
I am a feminist man who does not differentiate between colors… literally. Pink and blue could appeal anyone. Colors are not markers of gender or sexual identity. I would love my kids to choose their favorite color according to their moods and wishes, not what society expects them to.
I am a feminist man who can recognize and be offended when a man with the same experience and skills as a woman gets promoted over her constantly.
I am a feminist man who doesn’t think bulging biceps make someone macho. Aggression for every little ego bruise is a sign of being a man? No. We are humans, not animals.
I am a feminist man who knows that manliness is something you throw AWAY when u get into a physical fight with the sole objective of PROVING you are a man. You ARE a man. There are no set traits, qualities or habits you need to have to “Be a man”. YOUR life, your choices and your self-worth are not in the hands of the person who asks you to prove you’re a man. He doesn’t need proof; he needs glasses to see you better.
I am a feminist man who knows he is a man without the media instructing him how to be one. I know that the media thrives on profit and sensation. I can use my own brains, wisdom and intuition to figure out what’s right for me, thank you.
I am a feminist man who believes it’s okay to say “No” a woman who is demanding sex from me. And the woman has no right to tell me I’m a jerk just because she couldn’t hear a “No”.
I am a feminist man who believes in creating an equal and loving life with my wife instead of ‘controlling my woman’. I stop being a man if I hit her just because I can. I’ll take care of her, protect her and fight for her in a way that doesn’t impose restrictions on her. I don’t ‘permit’ her to wear something or say something or be something because I’m not her boss. I’m her husband. We are equal partners in this union. She does whatever SHE wants to do. I trust her decisions and loyalty.
I am a feminist man for whom the words ‘you are such a girl’ or ‘you did this like a girl’ mean… nothing, as firstly I’m a guy and how can I possibly do something like a girl? And secondly, since I don’t live in a media-fed world of stereotypes and actually go out to see the REAL world, I have seen girls do various things better than guys, so I don’t know whether ‘like a girl’ is a compliment… or do you need glasses too?
I am a feminist man who believes his daughter has every right to live the way she chooses, and I would love to fly with my angel wherever her wings take her. I am a feminist man who lets his son pick his own toys and doesn’t force trucks and superhero figures on him.
I am a feminist man who has cried in front of my daughter and son letting them both know it’s okay to feel sad and vulnerable at times, there’s no shame in that. When you have taken on life with bare hands, your strength multiplies with that struggle, that’s true. But sometimes you get injured. And if your independent self can’t do it all, it’s okay to ask for help.
I am a feminist man who will fight for what I want to keep in my life (career, family, friend, partner), and not get bowed down by a false sense of pride or some ridiculous duty to my ‘manhood’.
I am a feminist man who believes the waiter should keep the bill in the middle of a man and a woman and not politely hand it over to the man. We both have an equal right to it. These social conventions make a woman feel like she is invisible and make a man feel like he is always supposed to ‘take care’ of the women, even if he’s unable to or doesn’t want to. We need to pay equally for a meal, unless someone is in financial trouble or one person simply feels like giving a treat to the other.
I am a feminist man who enjoys the trance of poetry and the joy of a dance. These things make me stronger and better inside.
I am a feminist man who does not feel ‘emasculated’ with every little show of affection or love. Fellow men, stop being so dramatic.
I am a feminist man who firmly believes a woman can and SHOULD say no to sex if she doesn’t want it. In case of marriage, if a man still keeps insisting his wife to have sex with him, and has intercourse with her… even though it’s CLEAR that she’s not happy or excited about it, it’s a rape of her trust, emotions and physical self. A clear happy “yes” means “yes”. Rest of it means NO.
I am a feminist man who does not like being called ‘gay’, not because it’s an insult (I don’t understand how a normal sexual orientation can be an insult?), but because they are trying to mock my homosexual friends whom I respect, trust and love just like my heterosexual friends. If you can’t stop being straight, don’t expect them to stop being gay. Being homosexual is as ordinary as the color of your eyes. Stop giving it so much hype.
I am a feminist man who won’t be a silent bystander. I take part in sensitive feminist discussions that are often overtaken by some creeps who have disgraced the male species by saying things like – “This is how we are programmed… If women will show skin, we’ll stare. If she is not wearing the right clothes, then of course she’ll be molested.” No, this is not how men are programmed. HER clothes should have no effect on YOUR upbringing and moral compass. We are humans… capable of change, conscience and independent thought.
This is where you have the right to be human. When the society told you to “toughen up”, it did not mean “shut your heart” or “stop feeling”. You have the right to feel a myriad of feelings without fearing that you’ll be called a wimp, sissy, weirdo, or pussy. People don’t even know why those words are insults anyway. As men, we have been asked too many times to NOT feel, to shut down and just work! There must be a balance among our feelings. Fight for your right to come back to normalcy, and understand that we have been misled by our families, society and media. We have reached a point where if some guy says he likes romantic movies, he’ll be made fun of. THIS is how scared we are of having any soft feelings hovering around us. Softer feelings are NORMAL. Men need to do what they have been asking women to since ages… CHILL.
I am a feminist man who doesn’t think of himself more of a man with the size of his body organs. Just like I don’t decide to like or dislike a woman for her body parts. It’s who the person is, that matters to me.
I am a feminist man who in the event of a divorce has just as much right to custody as does my wife. I love my kids just as much as she does, and they love us both equally. I’ll fight for my rights to love and express.
I am a feminist man who is liable of undergoing stress and many other mental health problems. Life is hard for everyone. I have the right to find a safe and unbiased place to talk to someone about my fears and troubles, and if needed, seek professional help or take relevant medicines.
I am a feminist man who believes if my sister is sitting at home doing nothing, she should go get a job to support the family, or at least take care of her own needs. The entire pressure of taking care of a family should not fall on my shoulders. If her help is needed in domestic chores, we can all contribute to them too. She doesn’t have to forego her right to be independent to “prepare herself for marriage”. It’s the equal responsibility of a man and woman to take care of their new family, and they should BOTH know how to do basic household chores. Why should only a woman prepare herself for marriage? Isn’t the guy getting married too? I respect the women who WANT to stay home and be home-makers. If it’s a happily made choice, then it brings more happiness to oneself and others.
I am a feminist man who likes to take care of his personal grooming and hygiene. I know many others who do not, and that is okay too. I don’t think less of a woman for not waxing her legs just like I don’t think less of a man for waxing his.
I am a feminist man who knows that men get sexually, emotionally or physically harassed and need help! Even as kids, boys are victims of harassment and are afraid to ask for help because of society’s twisted notion of what “being a man” means. I have a right to ask for help and a right to expect that it will be given on time.
I am a feminist man who doesn’t think it’s ‘manly’ to hate on a country that my country’s government does not get along with.
I am a feminist man who is capable of having a meaningful and mutually satisfying sexual relationship with someone. It’s about OUR needs, not just mine. There are TWO people involved in the process, men! Take non-verbal and verbal feedback. Make it even better!
I am a feminist man who does not think a woman owes him sex just because she is a woman. Wife, girlfriend, relative, colleague, stranger or acquaintance – she is a human being with EVERY sexual, physical, moral, mental and emotional right that WE as men have. If you think you have the right to ask her for sex, she has the right to say no by slapping you in the face, having you arrested or by politely saying ‘no’… all according to the way you asked her.
I am a feminist man who doesn’t HAVE to get turned on as soon as see a naked female form! That’s NOT how I “prove” to be a man. Men who act like animals when they see a woman showing any part of their skin and even when she’s fully covered disgust me. NOT being in control and treating the other gender as someone who only provides you with sexual satisfaction is PERVERSE and UNACCEPTABLE. Treating female celebrities with no respect just because they are in the limelight and cannot hear you, is pathetic. Taking pleasure or part in a woman’s public humiliation is wrong, and calling it a publicity stunt is just an excuse because neither you nor me knows the whole story.
I am a feminist man who will always blame the molester and the rapist and will never question the victim’s motives, dress, time to go out, or character… regardless of whether the victim is guy or a girl. It makes me furious when someone says “She deserved it”, and I want to punch them in the face. Men, you have the right to be angry. This is not WOMEN’S issue. Let me assure, it’s ours. And ours alone. Start speaking up.
That’s what the feminist movement is all about. To encourage men to be HUMAN, empathetic and compassionate… and help them in overcoming their aggressive, over-sexualized, animalistic or primal instincts while dealing with people. It is to show men that they are capable of strength, reason, morality, logic, compassion, bravery and tenderness, and can enjoy immense pride in being gentle, respectful and a Feminist.