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Modern Feminism: Fixing the Destruction of The Women's Movement Part II
The arguments and questions in a video by The Amazing Atheist (TJ) are valid, and could be explained in a way that is still in men's favor because feminism shouldn't just favor women. I can only assume the "feminists" he has asked these questions to are not well-versed in feminist theory since there isn't anything unreasonable about his inquiries. So, I decided to answer these questions as a feminist and someone who has studied gender for years.
Have you heard of or watched The Amazing Atheist on YouTube?
According to a recent statistic, 40% of domestic violence victims are men. In my sociology classes, we have discussed domestic violence against men quite a bit. It is a gender norm that "men don't suffer abuse from women"; however, as with most gender norms, this is not true. Norms are created because people want to believe these things are just the way they are so no one questions authorities. Society tells boys they need to "be men" at a young age, and continue to tell them throughout their lives. Then, they receive little to no genuine support when they are victimized. They are assumed to be capable of taking care of themselves. If they aren't, they are blamed. This is true of post-traumatic stress in male soldiers coming home as well. Female soldiers are often questioned immediately if they need psychological help, but men are presumed to be fine. If we want gender equality, we must acknowledge and fight for equal rights of men and women. Feminism should never only be about women.
Child Custody vs. Child Support
Yes, women are usually granted child custody. This can be a huge problem when the woman is in fact the one not being a good parent. *Cue the last court scene in Liar Liar* The reason for society siding with women for child custody is very obvious. Women are supposed to be the caretakers. Likewise, the reason society sides with men paying more child support is just as obvious. Men are supposed to be the breadwinners. It is equally as insulting. Personally, I think it should depend on who actually makes more money and/or who has proven to be a more loving parent, but even stories of insanity from my own mom's experience in divorce court has shown me there is little justice in the law. It's all about what you can prove and/or the opinions of those deciding your fate, especially the judge!
Men being viewed as only providers has severely hurt society. The assumption that a gender will provide or a gender will care for their young is ridiculous. All one has to do is look at statistics of uncaring fathers who refuse to pay any child support because they simply do not care that they have children. In the same respect, in the U.S. we only have maternity leave. There are other countries that have paternity leave because they acknowledge the importance of fatherhood. Our society, and myself included, are impressed when we see a dedicated father in the world. That is unusual. I wish it weren't!
Men are supposed to be driven by power and money, not by love or emotions, but this just isn't the truth. The men who do follow this mold have been programmed not to value their children or their wives, but to focus on their income. As with history, women are supposed to be the caretakers; therefore, a male caretaker is seen as weak. So, no, this set up does not benefit men or women because regardless of which gender you are, if you make enough money and care about your kids, society's gender norms will hold you back.
Have you considered circumcision to be equal to female genital mutilation?
For the readers who are not familiar with female genital mutilation it is a tradition in which females have their clitoris removed because society believes it is wrong for females to experience pleasure. Since the clitoris' only purpose is for pleasure, off it goes! I had not previously considered how circumcision is genital mutilation before, I admit. TJ makes an excellent point that it is a forced practice the same as female genital mutilation in other countries. I agree that it should be each male's choice to have it done when they get older. I have heard different arguments about how it is a good idea for medical reasons, but I am not a doctor, and I cannot speak for all men since I am not them. If feminists argue this is not the same thing, they are not only hurting the men by rejecting their valid point, but hurting themselves by expecting to be heard after not listening.
I could think of multiple reasons why it makes sense in a patriarchal society that women would be sentenced to prison for less time than men. For one, the masculinity obsession. Women are supposed to be delicate creatures; therefore, they assume less time is just as severe. We can't handle more time because we're women. We need to be back in the kitchen and popping out babies, obviously! Of course, as a man, they would see less time as a gift, but really it is meant to be demeaning because we have more important things to do, like doing domestic chores for our husbands. We aren't getting less time so we can go back to work or go back to improving ourselves. There is a different message underlying this contract.
Do you think it's right to draft people?
Yes, it is unfair that only men can be drafted. Personally, I don't think anyone should be drafted. I think unless someone has willingly set up to join the military, they should not have to participate, but that is my opinion. The reason men are drafted rather than women is again because this would give women power. Yes, it is a dangerous job in which people are risking their lives, on a daily basis; however, if women are capable of being drafted this would make them equal to men. While the patriarchy is in part about destroying women, it is also about making sure they aren't as intelligent or as experienced. So, while this may seem like a perfect set up to get rid of women, it isn't the goal of patriarchy, it is about control. By giving women a position of typically masculine power, men can't control them. We don't see too many women shooting guns in general. It isn't because there aren't women who have a passion for guns; it's because it would contradict the idea that women need to be taken care of.
In addition, not all men are drafted. It is a tool to prevent those more dear to the ruler from being killed. Why don't presidents fight in their wars? Why is it the people working for him aren't drafted? Apparently, their lives are more important than the millions of civilians who have nothing to do with the war.
When patriarchy is understood as unbiased towards men it is used incorrectly. TJ points out how men are not always the most powerful in every situation. This is true. If we look at the typical "race/class/religion/sexual orientation" chain, depending on the situation of master vs. slave during racial slavery, at times the white wife of the rich white slave owner had more power than a black male slave. It depends on the situation. Today, we tend to look at the job market and who is more likely to be selected. Depending on the type of company or the president of that company, a white woman could be chosen over a black man just because of white privilege; however, there are many instances in which both black men and white women are equal in the eyes of the wealthy white man because they think being a woman or being black makes someone less valuable rather than seeing both of them as educated and capable of filling the position.
Patriarchy is not only about male vs. female. It is also about the other categories upon which a person is judged. If patriarchy is about men fighting for power, ultimately, then it is no surpise they will fight each other, too. Men are taught to "be a man" as stated, earlier; therefore, they have to fight to prove their superior masculinity over other men. For example, maybe a middle class white man is working for an upper class white man. The two are usually battling, silently, through their abilities. The employee needs to prove worthiness to get a raise for their hard work while the employer needs to prove they are more powerful and successful.
Has this article changed your view of feminism?
As with my last article, the real problem with feminism today is the women calling themselves feminist without comprehending what is all means or taking the time to form their own opinions. They are sort of like a lot of bible thumpers. You can't just repeat what you hear without being able to argue the concepts with your own brain. The women who say things like, "Well, you're a man so you can't understand" are giving up on the argument after misunderstanding the argument to begin with. It's just as bad as a bible thumper saying, "Well, you don't believe in Jesus so you don't understand." If you are too insecure to discuss others' arguments about what you choose to follow then how can you know it is right for you?
If you wish to learn some more about male feminist theory, please see my article Men in Feminism: From Kimmel to Gordon-Levitt.
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