Leah Johnson

From the Archives: Floundering on Feminism

Originally published by the Mooring Mast on Nov. 7th, 2014, by Leah Larson

Feminism is a popular and ever-growing ideology present worldwide. Despite its popularity, it has a lot of misconceptions.
One of the most common misconceptions is that all feminists hate men. Do some feminists hate men? Yes.

Are they statistically likely to have experienced multiple traumatic events with multiple men throughout their lifetime? According to organizations like the Women’s Aid Federation, that’s incredibly likely.

In those cases, their feelings toward men and masculine culture are understandable. However, not all feminists hate men. A lot of feminists find men to be quite amiable.

Feminists oppose dominant power structures in society that unfairly benefit men while disenfranchising other genders.

Unfortunately, men constructed those power structures. That’s why they get the blame most of the time. Even if the men currently alive did not construct those power structures, they still benefit from them.

“For a long time I thought that all feminists were hyper-masculine lesbians,” said senior Christina Erikson.
Erikson has done research surrounding feminist issues for her capstones including the treatment of women in America in modern Islam. “When I was in high school, I thought I couldn’t be a feminist, because I wasn’t a masculine lesbian. Now I know that isn’t true.”

Feminists support women. Feminists, therefore, support feminine traits and a woman’s right to self-determinate.
If a person wants to be a housewife at a young age and have a lot of children, that isn’t anti-feminist in any way; it is just as valuable as a person who wants to be a CEO and never have children.

What matters is that the individual can choose what they want.
There’s also an incredibly common belief that men cannot be feminists. This is somewhat of a controversial topic within feminist circles.

Many feminists claim because feminism is historically a safe space for women, men should not be able to enter that space by calling themselves feminists. Rather, they should refer to themselves as “feminist allies.”

Others argue that anybody who believes women fundamentally deserve the same rights as men are feminists, regardless of their gender identity.

“I honestly do not care,” Erikson said. “As long as a man does not speak over a woman on feminist issues, he can be whatever he wants to be. The title doesn’t matter but the actions do.”

Feminists oppose dominant power structures in society that unfairly benefit men while disenfranchising all other genders. This is better known as the patriarchy.

Unfortunately, it is not only non-males who are harmed under the patriarchy.

It is a common myth that feminists only support and fight for women’s issues while ignoring the ways men can be hurt.
This is ardently false. Within the realm of the patriarchy, men are also frequently harmed.

The difference is that men are taught to hide their traumatic experiences so as not to appear weak. This results in instances of abuse toward males being largely ignored.

Just as feminism has tried to break down the boundaries of femininity by saying that not all women have to be a specific way, feminists are trying to do the same thing for masculinity.

Men do not have to be uber-macho gods who are pinnacles of strength.

Just like with every thing else in the world, there are a lot of different misconceptions about feminism.

However, the most common ones are that all feminists hate men, that feminists are masculine lesbians, that men can’t be feminists and that feminists only fight for women.
And none of these misconceptions are true.


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