By Lily Painter
Men in The United States of America – they are fast becoming a subject of disdain and anger. While I am not denying that men, particularly white men, are taking advantage of their social standing and privileges, that is not the point of writing this article. I have lately been reading many articles in The Collegian that unnecessarily blame everything on men. These articles are extremely one sided and I am writing not to fight, but to bring to light another side.
As cliché as it is to say “not all men,” it is incredibly true. Just like every group stereotype, there are many that do not fit the mold that American men are greedy, violent people who walk on others to get to the top. I know men who are strong and ready to fight for what is right no matter if they are the ones being attacked. By attacking our men, we drive them away from trying to help. One of my friends told me he was scared to talk to a certain woman because of her extreme views against men. He expressed feelings of exasperation; asking why he would even try and support her when she was so determined to drive all males away. If there is one thing history has taught us about bringing change to our country, it is that once people are allied and together, that is when things truly begin to shift.
Feminism is based on having equality between genders. I fully agree with and support the values that true feminism holds. Equality is treating each person with the same standards, allowing them the same rights and being just. Part of the outrage that women experience is being treated as lesser because of our sex. Feminists call for respect and impartiality but too often do not give men the same courtesy. We want men to treat us with respect, but I will not be part of asking them to do something we can not seem to do ourselves. Certain feminists go to extreme levels. They not only want to destroy the patriarchy, they want only women in power. Mistakes made by a man in charge are automatically responded to with “because he’s a guy.” However, when a male assumes something about a woman, they are criticized for making that assumption based on gender.
More extreme feminists often project an attitude that all men are incapable of contributing valuable input to society. When a man feels that they – like my friend – lose interest in supporting feminism. Hypocrisy undermines the validity of a cause. An important step in fighting for equality is not tearing the other side down, that does not accomplish what one truly wants. Rather, that distances people from one another. If women are not careful we risk becoming as bad as the men we are so angered by.
Furthermore, when a young boy is told he is special and should take opportunities that come his way, this is not necessarily breeding entitlement as some believe. Women tell women all the time that they are special and that they should seize opportunities as well. Are we therefore breeding dreaded entitlement into our women as well as our men? Each person is human and deserving of the same rights. Every parent should let their young sons and daughters know they are special. I completely understand the fact that certain men take advantage of the system, and it rightfully angers me. However, I am not so blind that I can not notice the kind men around me.
I am extending an invitation to women today. Please acknowledge the men in your life that help you and respect you. Let them aid us in the fight for equality. Do not push men away because of the actions of a few. Honestly, there are many more people who want to help, are willing to have their views changed and will listen to what women have to say. The news makes us hear about bad things daily because that is what sells. But for each of those awful instances, or men, try to remember that all around you are people who are not causing mass shootings, who are not advocating for walls to be built, who are not putting women down. Change needs to happen and I am by no means asking people to be passive about it, but I am saying we need to be respectful, strategic and thoughtful about what will work and what will simply incite more division.