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Harrington: Feminist label should be adopted by more males

Harrington reflects on his self-proclaimed feminism and why he thinks others should join him.

March celebrates women everywhere and their place in society and history. There is not a men’s history month. If you are a man, it would probably not be a good idea to complain about the lack of a men’s history month. Patriarchy is a very real thing, so on behalf of the male population I am more than willing to let it slide that we do not have a dedicated month to us.

“Patriarchy” is one of those fancy words like “hegemony.” It carries a lot of sociological meaning, it is hard to pronounce and it results in a lot of people – women, mainly – getting a bad deal.

A patriarchy is a society functioning with women at a disadvantage. Women have gotten the short end of the stick throughout history. You can tell by how many female presidents America has had.

Though I am not a woman, I would imagine that being a woman is very difficult. Being a human being, after all, is the most difficult thing that I have ever done. It would be a lot harder if society were kind of slanted against me because of my gender. It would anger me that men working the same job were making more money than me. It would anger me if men tried to legislate what I could do with my body or my birth control. It would be traumatic to fear sexual harassment and sexual assault on a walk down my street. It would drive me absolutely insane to be called a slut or get accused of putting a guy in the “friend zone” because I did not behave exactly the way I was expected to. For women, these are things to deal with every day, and I would imagine that stuff gets old pretty fast. Men don’t face these issues.

Seth MacFarlane glistened his way through his gig as Oscar host recently, delivering lots of vaguely misogynistic jokes to get that coveted “Family Guy” fan base to tune in. Geena Davis cited his performance as how “tone deaf” attitudes toward women can be, and lamented the fact that the host’s material was disrespectful toward women.

Recently, you’ve had to have heard someone say that a war on women is taking place at the state and federal level. One needs to look no further than “transvaginal ultrasounds” to see the evidence: women are the victims of a lot of stupidity on the part of men.

The first time I heard a dusty old male politician say “transvaginal ultrasounds,” I felt like a feminist. I felt a pang of disbelief that men would do something so awful and senseless and that our government would let something like this happen without exiling the responsible parties for proposing government-sanctioned rape.

On Sunday nights I like to stay in. I have a TV date. “Girls” is one of the most original and well-made shows on television right now. Women are portrayed as manic-pixie girls in film and television. Always the girlfriend, never the realistically portrayed and humanistic female character. The women shown in ads and media are rail thin and shaped like hourglasses and Victoria’s Secret models. Lena Dunham is depicting a character like no one else on television – a woman so real that it makes some people uncomfortable.  She is not afraid to go nude for entire scenes, and this draws ire and criticism against her. I think it is refreshing to see a woman on television act like a woman and not like a woman written by a man with an idea of how women should act. Hannah Horvath is one of my favorite fictional characters in existence, right behind Beatrix Kiddo.

I am a feminist, because I think women are wonderful people and they deserve to live without patriarchy hanging over their heads. Everyone can be a feminist. Male feminism is a whole thing on its own, full of disagreement over whether or not men have any business being feminists. Women are not always feminists. Feminism doesn’t mean that women cannot be feminine or be wonderful at cooking or that men should be afraid to tell a woman she is pretty. To me, it just means equality.

Feminism can be a complicated concept. False ideas and preconceptions of feminism chalk it up to being about hating on men and burning bras, but that is nonsense. Feminism is about equality. If you think your mom and your sister are human beings and you want them to be treated as such, you are a feminist. If you think men and women should treat each other like people and that everyone deserves equality, you are a feminist.

In my opinion, humans should be feminists. To be a feminist is to be a pro-humanity human being.

To me, my feminist beliefs come from the fact that I think treating women, men and your fellow human beings badly isn’t acceptable. Feminism is not a radical notion; it is a perfectly logical one. Everyone should advocate for equality and unity between people, not gender bias and division.

Men and women are different people. We have inherently different life experiences. We do our best to understand each other. For men to be feminists is for men to be aware of patriarchy and decidedly against it in support of equality for women. Or because it is just the nice thing to do. Be nice to fellow humans, no matter their gender.

Jacob Harrington can be reached at jacob.harrignton@temple.edu.

3 Responses to “Harrington: Feminist label should be adopted by more males”

  1. Brandon

    “Patriarchy is a very real thing”

    Yes, black men in the United States are privileged over middle to upper class white women, or 90% of the feminists one might run into. Are you on drugs?

    Reply
  2. margie brewer

    I really liked your column. I was your grandfather Doyle’s niece. He was a feminist before his time. He would have been so very proud of you. Just wanted to pass that along to you, even though we don’t really know each other. Doyle and I spent many a day talking at my Mom’s kitchen table during the 50’s and 60’s. He was only 11 years older than me, so we spent a lot of time together.

    God Bless you, and I’d love to read your opinions, again.

    Reply
  3. Tom

    Your thoughts, while valid, are more accurately reflected by the notion of egalitarianism.

    In response to Brandon’s needlessly aggressive comment — yes, racism is an issue, classism is an issue, but that’s not what this article is about. There is more than one kind of inequality and just because one is not being addressed in a particular instance, does not mean that it is less worthwhile than another (March = Women; February = Black).

    Reply

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