Men and Feminism

January 25, 2007

Well based on the response “Feminists you can stop now” got from Noel Heikkinen’s blog and podcast and Shrinkingisaac.com I feel compelled to say a few things.
The Suffragettes were extremely important. Women should have been allowed and in fact had a right to vote. Fighting for job equality, this as well was and is important. Shared role in the governance of nations and corporations, it only makes sense considering every nation, with the possible exception of China, has a population that is half male half female.

I need to look more closely at feminism, I’m loosely a student of history but not in the same depth I would like to be at 5 years from now, or when I’m old and retiring. I’m also young and male, My memory begins sometime in the early nineties, so I haven’t witnessed a world where women are barred from universities or jobs because they are women. I also do come from the church and if asked would consider my denomination Anglican. At our parish Chris King (A man) is our rector the assistant rector is Lyn Youll (A woman). My family has always been in churches that allow women to have leadership roles, save one which we left because it didn’t. My parents didn’t want their sons or daughter growing up in a misogynistic environment . Speaking of my family both my parents ran a postproduction company as partners and equals. Why do I say all this? Because neither the way I was raised nor my faith has anything to do with my dissatisfaction with where feminism is today. Curious? Read on.

I wrote “feminists you can stop now” in anger, I was noting the trend both among Hollywood starlets and girls I know to espouse feminist ideals while dressing provocatively. The thought occurred to me that maybe it was time for feminism to shift it’s sights from what part men play in equality and onto the questioning of what part image played in equality and inequality. I don’t want to get too far into clothing again as Noel Heikkinen deals with the issue better than I did from what I see as a 1 Corinthian 8:9-13 principle.

I’ll tell one story to illustrate where some of this anger comes from. I was around the age of 9. My father had taken my brother and I to Stand in the Gap, a Promise Keepers rally in Washington DC. A group of what I suspect were probably radical feminists, I didn’t talk to them being quite young, had taken it upon themselves to protest this event (an event calling men to be better husbands, citizens, and fathers) by walking around the Washington Mall, where the event was held, topless. This engraved the idea of feminists linking their ideals to their sexuality in my mind. Do I believe this represents all feminists? No, I believe most women today would see themselves as feminists in the positive history of the suffragettes and those who fought and are fighting for equality. However as one of the comments at Noel Heikkinen’s blog mentions in reference to the apparent support feminist groups have of pornography,

“it seems quite self-contradictory to me to be railing against men looking at women as objects and yet railing for the forms of media which have no small influence in causing men to view them that way.”

I think it is time that feminism look not just at men but also to themselves to understand the role image takes. And, as another commenter suggested, maybe even to join with groups like Amnesty International to get the voices of women who are actually suffering persecution heard. Iran comes to mind.

Feminism began and continued as a needed movement. Justice is or should be blind to race or sex. My hope was to shift the focus off of men alone and onto a shared responsibility. Unfortunately I did go about showing this the wrong way by not making it clear enough in the original post. I don’t claim to be a genius, and I probably would have done well to write this post and “Feminists, you can stop now” together.


One comment

  1. Maybe you should have written both posts together, but I think that people that want to complain will whine no matter what you write and how you write it.

    You’re right though. I don’t see how feminism and nudity go hand in hand. That doesn’t make sense to me. If someone talk about feminist to me I usually think of some people like Nellie McClung and Agnes McPhail. Such wonderful inspirations who really stood up for women and fought for equal rights. I don’t think that half dressed (if that) hollywood starlets who wail about inequality and the worlds poor and then go and wallow in their millions really understand what feminism is.

    I also have a problem with so called feminists who think that being a stay at home mom is “giving in to male thinking”and “setting the cause back a hundred years”. OH PLEASE!!!!!! I actually had someone say that to me and Mrs Clayton (grade 12 english remember her?) in the mall.

    Such a sore spot for me.
    I’ll stop griping now.
    Thanks for another wonderful post.

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