One of my old friends from school shared a video on Facebook the other day. Below is a print screen of the video that he shared:
I’ll come back to the irony of the page that it was shared from a bit later. That’s comedy gold.
But first: the content of the video and Lauren Southern’s argument.
Southern’s argument is essentially that feminism argues for the entitlement and supremacy of women above and beyond men. She argues that feminism ignores the fact that in many cases, men suffer MORE because of their sex than women.
Southern cites the sickening number of males who are raped in prison each year; she claims that almost half of the domestic violence victims in the US and Canada are men and that it’s awful that there are no safe houses or subsidized counselling services for them; she cites the fact that 80% of suicide victims are men (or at least in the US, anyway).
I see where she’s coming from: those things aren’t focused on as much as they could or perhaps should be. That said, having had a quick Google of “male domestic violence victim support”, there are plenty of resources, at least based in the UK, set up to support such issues. Likewise for “male suicide support”. Anyway, that’s an aside.
The main point I’d like to drive home in this: why are those things not focused on enough? Because these men are ashamed. Why is there shame? Because of masculinity complexes. Why are there masculinity complexes? Because PATRIARCHY.
My point is, patriarchy is detrimental to both males and females and that is something that feminism focuses heavily on. Every passionate feminist I know cares just as much about men’s issues as women’s. The stereotypes of men, the expectations for men to be macho and chivalrous and strong and unemotional: these are products of the patriarchical society in which we live, and that is why it is so harmful.
Of course it’s unacceptable for men have ridiculous expectations thrust upon them, just as it is for women to be objectified and oppressed. The difficulties that men face as a result of patriarchy are due to a position of power and the expectations and complexes surrounding that and masculinity; the difficulties that women face as a result of patriarchy are due to their relative LACK of power, and the expectation that they should serve men.
And no, not ALL men. That’s another thing that Southern gets confused by. Apart from some radical feminists who identify as misandrists, feminists don’t believe that all men suck. They believe that some men suck, just as some women do. People are people – there are always going to be good and shitty ones. We just acknowledge the reality of a patriarchical society at large, which benefits men (especially rich white men) above women, just as the western world at large benefits white people over ethnic minorities, people without disabilities over people with disabilities, straight cis-gender people over those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Now, the extra fun part. Enjoying the irony of the page that posted that video.
The page in question is called Only for Men (yeah…). Its profile picture warns, “ONLY REAL MEN IN THE MAN CAVE”. The phrase “real men” is an interesting one, isn’t it? The connotations are strong, straight, macho, unemotional. It’s utterly insulting to imply that only men with certain characteristics are “real men”, but here are the same people sharing a video about how men’s issues aren’t focused on enough. Have you ever thought about how the shame surrounding issues such as male domestic violence, male rape and so forth are connected to the fear of not appearing “manly” enough? It’s all one big circle.
Along the same lines, we have the above image.
GRILL LIKE A MAN. BECAUSE MEN EAT MEAT. MEN LIKE FOOD THAT INVOLVES KILLING BECAUSE WE ARE HUNTER GATHERERS AND WE PROVIDE SUSTENANCE. WE ARE ARE MACHO AND STRONG AND KILL THINGS WITH OUR BIG MANLY MUSCLES ARRRRR
And so on.
What about male vegetarians? Will that not make them feel a bit shit to see that? I’m sure there have been many vegetarian men, or men who favour vegetables over meat, who have felt insecure about their masculinity when faced with such bullshit. Similarly, what about women who like meat? Is this whole thing not going to make them question their femininity?
And lastly, we have the above image. A casual (and some would say approving) nod to rape culture. Because only a woman who is an easy fuck is worth buying a drink for. Oh, but also if she’s easy then she’s a whore. Not that that should stop you fucking her. But she’s definitely a whore.
My point in labouring over the above images is to bring out the irony in the fact that this page is sharing a video dedicated to trouncing feminism because it “disregards” men’s issues… all the while propagating the same kinds of steroetypes and behaviours that lead to those things becoming issues in the first place.
Nicely done, Only for Men.
To be fair, I realise that I can’t hold the page Only for Men against the video that Southern created. They are entirely separate entities, and just because that page shared her video does not mean she would condone any of their posts. It’s just quite amusing, in a tragic way.
Southern’s video really cancels itself out in terms of its validity. She completely issues the point and doesn’t understand what feminism actually IS. She’s got too caught up in the name (which, to be fair, does imply female supremacy), and she has lost the deeper meaning. Let’s recap: all feminism is is an acknowledgement of the fact that the world at large, especially the western world, is a patriarchy. On the whole, it benefits men over women. That’s not to say that there aren’t men that suffer because of their gender. Patriarchy is detrimental to BOTH genders. It creates and reinforces men’s issues due to power and masculinity complexes (notions of power, strength, macho behaviour, a lack of emotion and more), and likewise it creates and reinforces women’s isuses due to a relative lack of power and femininity complexes (notions of servitude, weakness, fragility, hysteria etc.)
And this is just the very surface.
To quote Southern,
“I’m not a feminist because I believe that both genders should be treated equally and both of their issues should be addressed.”
Oh, Southern. I think you’ve rather misunderstood. That is the exact definition of feminism.
Turns out you ARE actually a feminist, but you’re also a bit of an idiot.