As a feminist, certainly I am used to delving into women’s issues such as abortion/contraception rights, rape and how women are treated in entertainment (hence this blog). But, I only recently started looking at men’s role in the grand scheme of things. It takes two to tango and instead of telling women tips on how not to get raped, men should be told NOT TO RAPE. Domestic abuse is focused on getting women to safety and rehabilitating them, but why not teach your son never to raise his hand to a woman?
What are men being taught on how to be men? Masculinity is defined by aggression and dominance, even though gender roles are a complete social construct. There is an excellent documentary that I recommend everyone watch called, “Male Domination” (or La Domination Masculine). It is all in french so you will have to quickly get over that, but is a very well rounded film. Towards the end it gets very emotional as they speak about the Montreal Massacre at Ecole Polytechnique that happened in 1989 when a gunman stormed onto campus ad started shooting at women. Speaking to survivors as well as victims families was very hard to see. After these scenes, the directer seems to want to add fuel to the fire by including a few interviews with men who are against the “feminist agenda” and feel the need to fight back. That and a few mash-ups of domestic abuse victims telling a doctor how their husband knocked their head into a wall really gets the blood pumping. It also makes me question the logic behind the fact that people believe we don’t need feminism anymore.
Tony Porter does an excellent job in this video of explaining how boys/men are raised and how society needs to change how the gender their parenting styles.
Colin Stokes also has an excellent video on the messages entertainment is telling children, specifically boys, about how to interact with the opposite sex. The hero always gets the girl, but what do they do after they ride off into the sunset?
Feminism is all about equality for men and women by bringing women up to the place where men are in society. But, there needs to be some give and take here. In order to achieve equality, both sexes must be allowed to cross the barrier of “appropriate gender behavior/activities”. When was the last time a male nurse was able to get through the day without someone saying, “you aren’t the Doctor?” and immediately having his sexuality questioned. If women are expected to be taken seriously in male dominated fields such as politics and science, men must be allowed to participate in traditionally feminine roles such as child-care where they are often mistaken for pedophiles.
Masculinity and femininity are both made up constructs that have nothing to do with our gender. Sure, women have children so it would make sense for us to be chosen as caregivers, but that is the only reasonable justification. Other than that, being a man does not mean you are automatically dominant, something that parents should be teaching their sons, and daughters. Equality is having both genders acting how they chose, applying for jobs that they want, not society telling us what we should or should not due based on imaginary rules.