The feminist movement is fighting for equality for everybody, especially women, but that means men should be included in that fight.
A few weeks ago, I was sent a video of what appeared to be a social experiment – with humorous undertones – that depicted a woman on a subway. She would sit next to men, put her hand on their leg or knee, and keep a straight face.
In the video, the men are smiling, even laughing. Some of them show a look of shock at first, but after a few seconds, they smile, laugh, exchange glances with their buddies and don’t attempt to remove the woman’s hand.
Now, the woman is young, maybe twenties and is pretty. Which shouldn’t be a factor, but it is. If the situation were reversed, however, the woman would appear uncomfortable, scared, maybe even threaten to call 911 or go as far as to hit the guy touching her without her permission.
The video was a bit of an eye-opener to me.
I grew up in a town where women mainly stayed home, stayed by their husband’s side, raised the children, kept out of trouble, etc. Sure, occasionally there would be the two-parent working household, but that was rare.
Rape and sexual harassment were things in “the big cities,” not there. The feminist movement was something you quietly were a part of, not something you advertised.
It wasn’t until I started college and made a new friend group that I realized, as a very close friend said, “women have more power.”
I wasn’t sure what he’d meant by that. Was it sarcasm? Was it a belief? We talked extensively and I saw what he meant.
In a way, women do. Women can call rape and say a man raped them and, automatically, the man is arrested and presumed guilty. Even if he is innocent, he’s presumed guilty for the sole fact he’s a man and a woman is accusing him of rape.
If a man accuses a woman of rape (yes, it happens), then the woman is presumed innocent and the man is called a “sissy” or he’s told he “should have enjoyed it.”
A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that 1 in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped or had an attempt in their lifetime. In the same study, 1 in 21 men were forced to penetrate someone else, usually an intimate partner or acquaintance. A study performed by the School of Public Health at Boston University found that 30 percent of gay and bisexual men experienced at least one form of sexual assault.
The numbers are greatly different than those of women. Approximately 1 in 5 women reported a completed or attempted rape.
All this means, though, is that women are more likely to report the attempt or completion of a rape, whereas men are not. Again, it ties into what my friend said; women have more power.
If the feminist movement is going to fight for equality for all people, men are included in that. I’ve heard time and time again that feminists “hate men.” For some, that does appear to be the case.
If a man tries to help the movement, at first it is assumed he has a hidden agenda. Maybe to find “easy” targets? But after he, for lack of a better term, “proves himself,” he’s accepted as a member of the movement.
To me, feminism is about equality, yes, but it’s also about having common sense. Yes, rape happens to members of different genders, but it seems more problematic and more worrisome if a woman is raped over if a man is raped.
If you’re going to fight for equality, it shouldn’t matter who you are. Women have more power, so shouldn’t we be fighting against that, too? If we want to have equality, make sure you’re fighting for everyone’s equal rights, not just one groups.