There are a lot of things to be concerned about as we enter into 2017, but regardless of where you stand on Trump, Syria, climate change, fake news, or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot, there’s one thing we should tackle first:
Oh, you’re not familiar with the term? I apologize in advance for indoctrinating you into a world in which this is an actual thing.
“Meninism,” the movement to which meninists belong, is, according to Wikipedia, “a semi-satirical gender equality and men’s rights movement.” It started in the early aughts as a way for men to join the feminist movement, decry sexism, and support equal rights for women. It has since evolved, thanks largely to the cesspool of social media, and now, according to Time magazine, meninists “generally fall in two camps: people who use the term to call out ways they believe they’ve been victimized by feminism, and people who make fun of the first group for not understanding what feminism means in the first place.”
Let’s focus on that first one: people who believe they’ve been victimized by feminism. Before we get started, does anyone have the world’s smallest violin? Because Jesus-fucking-Christ.
I love the idea that meninism is “semi-satirical,” as if anyone who seriously has a problem with a woman’s desire to be treated equally could identify satire if it took a shit on his head.
Assholes love using “I was joking!” to defend their assholeness, but there is truly no defense for meninism. I thought I’d seen the peak of tone-deaf outrage when white people everywhere started screaming, “All lives matter!” as if they were the ones being gunned down for no reason but their skin color, but apparently I hadn’t. Now we have a collection of insecure crybabies worried that a woman’s fight for equal pay and the ability to walk down a street without being catcalled and the opportunity to make decisions about her health without Congress weighing in is somehow taking something away from them.
Let’s step back for a moment and examine exactly what these meninists are mocking. Clearly, they have a problem with feminism, which, if you have a problem with feminism, you are either a piece of human garbage or you don’t know what feminism is. Feminism isn’t a power play. It isn’t some assault on masculinity. It’s merely an attempt for half of the population to receive the same treatment the other half gets. The same pay, the same rights, the same autonomy, the same privilege, the same opportunity, and representation. It’s not about taking things from men, it’s about raising women up so everyone is on equal ground. Are there some bad apples among the feminist bunch? Of course! That doesn’t invalidate the general aim of the overall group. (Besides, the meninist bunch is nothing but bad apples.)
Meninism is nothing but the last gasp of a dying breed, people unable to accept that the world is changing — for the better — and trying their hardest to stop it because, for them, change from a status quo in which their privilege is paramount is a bad thing. “Fuck progress!” they say. Because the only people who are anti-equality are people who think they’re better than others, or people who are scared something will be taken from them. But feminism isn’t about taking anything.
(I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a brief shoutout to men’s rights activists, many of whom will surely begin harassing me after they read this paragraph. They aren’t exactly the same as meninists, but they’re often linked, equally as pathetic and significantly more aggressive about their misogyny. They’re supposedly advocating for the “social and legal equality of men” and believe men are discriminated against, largely because they don’t know what equality or discrimination actually are. They attack anyone who defends circumcision, they view any concession to feminism as emasculation of the modern man, they jump to defend rapists and accuse women of falsifying such claims, and they think girls who make video games are real meanies. Seems a tad ironic that such paragons of masculinity would be so terrified of women, but there you have it.)
I have two children who happen to be male. They are growing up in a world in which they’ll have every opportunity to succeed, by virtue of their gender and ethnicity and economic strata. They’ll endure the least amount of prejudice and discrimination the world has to offer, and that makes them lucky (because they didn’t do anything to earn these privileges, after all).
They won’t know what it’s like to have to claw and fight for things that many people spend their lives without, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to raise them to defend their privilege at the expense of others who, by dint of their own genetics and circumstance, aren’t as fortunate. No, I’m going to teach them to spread their privilege, to use their advantages to help others, to try to level the playing field.
Because being a feminist does not mean denigrating men, it means fighting for equality for all genders. No matter how hard it is for you to get a date.