Men For Women

Once in a while, this blog will veer from the usual theme of positivity to talk about difficult topics that are close to my heart. For one, Violence Against Women. Am I a feminist? I tried to answer that here. In short, I am a mother, just like any other parent, who will do everything in her power to make sure my children will live in a better world.

While Patricia Arquette is getting the heat for how she campaigns for women’s rights and equal pay, I’d like to bring to your attention two other feminists. Different topics, yet the same in highlighting that gender equality is not really women vs men (and not about which is the superior).

  1. Emma Watson and her active involvement in the He For She campaign. (Her speech as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, September 2014)
  2. This week’s horrific news on the brutal rape and murder of a Turkish woman, Ozgecan Aslan, and how it united men in Istanbul to wear miniskirts to campaign for women’s rights in her memory.

Feminism is not solely for women and by women. The goal is not to alienate anyone, especially men. We cannot effect change in doing so. There had been negative reactions around this call to engage men in feminist campaigns, claiming that men too are victims. First of all, these campaigns are not meant to downplay the struggles of men as effects of feminism. It does not even promote that kind of method. It calls for solidarity to address gender equality issues — women AND men. It does not say men for women only. What it says plainly, gender equality is an issue that involves (needs!) men. But this should not distract us from the more pressing issues that women face because of gender. They may no longer be so “horrific” when you are in North America or in another first world country. But these are real issues. Let’s not get confused or distracted.

Whatever may be said against feminists, for as long as I live, for the sake of my daughter and my son, I will continue to speak for gender sensitivity and gender equality. Awareness and inclusion, that’s the goal, for starters. It’s an old issue, yes, but sadly not over.

I’d like to end with a Ted Talk speech by Chimamanda Ngozi “We Should All Be Feminists”, on April 2013. (Youtube link. Transcript link.)

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6 thoughts on “Men For Women

  1. I don’t struggle with equality, and violence of any kind is sickening especially against women and children. I do believe that always expecting equal treatment between the sexes ignores the fact that men and women are different. I want to open doors for my wife, I want to walk on the street side and have her protected. I do drive when we are both in the car (mostly). I never lose sight that my wife is what I call the softer (not the weaker) sex. Equal job equal pay no question but in some businesses like hollywood, it is all about negotiation just like big sports contracts. Right now I worry much less about female moviestars making millions more than I do that the minimum wage is so low that people still have to go to food banks, and can’t afford necessities like power.
    Lots of change needed in the world now, but in my mind some are more urgent than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Violence Against Women is the most pressing, most disturbing, of concerns. And personally I worry when feminism and gender equality is quickly translated to opening doors and getting a seat in the bus. Frankly, it’s the least of concerns. But appreciative of men who still do those things. Equal pay as a term can be misleading (still thinking of a better way to call it) because equality is not exactly what we are clamoring. It is gender sensitivity, yes. But at the same time, it is also “ignoring” for lack of a better term at the moment of writing, gender when considering compensations and opportunities. These things should not be based on gender, but performance (meritocracy). I’m with you that it is not about equal treatment because we are still different, men & women. For example, it is not necessarily about making women work physically demanding tasks that can be challenging given our physical make, but it is about removing those barriers that prohibit women from those opportunities if that is their choice. It is really about freedom of choice and equal access to these choices and not permitting gender to be a limitation. Sadly, there’s still a lot of confusion around these topics even among self-proclaimed feminists. I also have my share of questions. Putting them out there start discussions, hopefully healthy debates, where positive change are born. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

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  2. Since having daughters my eyes have been opened to how sexism starts at birth and continues to the point that women ARE discriminated against when they get to the workplace, not necessarily because of laws or regulations (which luckily are being challenged now more and more) but because of what has already happened to them through childhood and their early life. So the report the other day that showed girls were given higher scores on a maths test when the teachers didn’t know the gender of the students, but this was reversed when they did. The pink aisles in the toy shops, the flimsy shoes on offer to the girls as opposed to the sturdy footwear in the boys section. The maths team that was made up entirely of boys in my daughter’s primary school until luckily one of the boys dropped out and she was given a place (still should have been 50/50). The lack of ANY women’s sport on TV or in the media. Until we tackle some of these basics, we can forget ever having an equal workforce. In my humble opinion!

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    1. Right?? They’re easily overlooked because they’ve been there for as long as we can remember. Little things, but they have an impact esp to the girls. And you don’t notice it until you start being conscious about gender sensitivity. My recent observation: the little tees for baby boys, their text on them are like “here comes trouble”, “watch out girls”, “heartbreakers”. And for the girls, the usual princessy, sweet stuff. Boys from the start are built to be strong, to be hurtful and it’s ok. And girls to be sweet and dainty and delicate. Parents can really make a big difference to gender sensitivity because they happen right from the start. Thank you so much for sharing those examples!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love love A Mighty Girl (they have so many resources esp the book suggestions for girls and parenting). Also following Goldie Blox (toy company encouraging female engineers), Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Lean In, ONE Girls & Women. Will definitely check the others you mentioned. Thank you for sharing! I share your hope for our kids.

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