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.

http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html

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?

http://www.ted.com/talks/colin_stokes_how_movies_teach_manhood.html

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.

 

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About Mighty Damsels

I am a sick and tired nerd. Male characters have dominated the action/sci-fi/fantasy genres for far too long. No more will women be in distress, cast as the "girlfriend" or made to wear tight leather pants. Ladies! Raise up your swords, M16's, phaser guns and pens! Mightydamsels.wordpress.com

2 responses »

  1. Levy says:

    “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?”

    I’m sorry. But what about women who rape? What about women who commit domestic abuse? That statement you made, although likely unintentional, was extremely misandric. It is not MEN or WOMEN who rape, it is RAPISTS who rape. And a rapist is not limited to gender. A violent abuser is not limited to gender either. A person’s gender doesn’t determine their capacity for rape or violence any more than their bloody hair color. It’s a psychological issue, nothing more. I’m male and I have never ONCE looked at someone I found attractive and thought, “Hmm, I should go rape her. Oh nooo, wait. I was told back in middle school not to rape. I’d better not.” Why? Because I have morals. Rapists do not.

    Where can men go who are victims of rape? Where can men go who are victims of domestic abuse? Every time I hear a story about a male rape victim or a male victim of domestic abuse seeking help by a center that specializes in this, it is only meant for women who are victims. It is only meant for women who don’t feel safe at home. It is only for women who have been raped because men can’t be raped, or women don’t rape, or whatever sort of garbage. Want to teach people something? Teach people that everyone can be a victim and to not discriminate against anyone because of their gender. If feminism was doing this for men, these issues would not happen and anyone who would deny help to a male victim would be chastised for it.

    We as a society just need to be more compassionate toward one another. Then we’d see things like shootings go away and gender discrimination vanish. The shooters are victims just as much as anyone else, victims of a society that put immense pressure on young men, pressures to be masculine, to man up when something upset them, to be providers for the family, or to live up to the expectations of everyone around them when they either can’t or don’t want to. That doesn’t justify their actions, but that’s something to think about. When was the last time a school shooting was perpetrated by a woman?

    • I totally agree with you that we as a society should be more receptive and helpful to men who experience rape and domestic abuse. That was kind of my point towards the end where i suggest there be a bit of give and take in terms of gender roles; and the very point of this post is bringing awareness to the fact that equality is not just about securing women’s rights but men’s too. I merely stated a claim I have heard a lot recently about victim blaming and how rape awareness is always put onto women, and never men who perform the majority of the raping. I am going by statistics which say that men are more likely to to be abusers. So I think more dialogue needs to happen between parents are their SONS and daughters about certain things.
      As to the expectations demanded of men, again, that was kind of the point of my blog post.
      Thanks, as always for the comment

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