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Dear males, Feminists fight in your corner, too.

Updated on April 30, 2016
Feminism. What's it good for? Absolutely EVERYTHING. Friday's episode of Eastenders compelled me to want to shout from the roof tops to all willing to hear, educating them on how feminism IS FOR MEN, TOO. You see, it was towards the end of this episode in which Jack Branning (a male character) said, and I quote, "Hang on a sec, look, I get women being feminists, yeah, they're just looking out for themselves. But what I don't get is men being feminists. What's in it for us, aye?" It was in this moment I wanted to reach through the screen and shake Jack Branning for all he was worth. Let me take you on a little journey to get you thinking. Let's start with the word 'rape.' Do you picture a male raping a female or a female raping a male? When you hear the words 'eating disorder,' do you picture a female or a male? When you hear the word 'suicide,' do you instantly associate it with a female or a male? Picture this: a male crying. Now, whether he's 8 years old or 35, the phrases "boys don't cry" and "man up" instantly come to mind, yes? Too often do we associate being emotional with girls. Why do we do this? What's so feminine about crying? Why do we put these constraints on males, teaching them from a young age to just "man up." Do they not have hearts and emotions, too? Do they not feel pain, anger, happiness, grief and sadness, too? My point here is that men suffer at the hands of gender roles too. YES, women are in the midst of a tug of war between the reality of stretch marks and the airbrushed images on the cover page of a magazine but you'd be surprised how many men suffer at the hands of these expectations, too. For all you reading this (regardless of sexuality) who are attracted to males, I have a question for you. If you were asked to picture your dream male: what would you picture? Would he have a chiselled body with defined muscles and a six pack or would his tummy be a little bloated due to the fact that he hasn't had time in the past week to fit some exercise in because his long shifts have run him ragged? I ask this to draw attention to the fact that just like many males would want their dream girl to be below a size 8, many females would want their dream boy to have abs. And this criteria is absolutely fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What's not okay is the fact that the media has our minds so warped that ALL body types and expected to be below a size 8 (girls) and consist of muscle definition (boys). If we see these manipulated, unrealistic bodies on the front of magazines, of course we're going to make this our goal. Girls, how many magazine covers of another woman with natural cellulite have you seen? Boys, how many magazine covers of another man with an unchiseled stomach have you seen? I want to be able to open people's minds to the harsh reality of gender roles and how BOTH women AND men are impacted. Drawing back to my main arguments I would just like to conclude this: Men get raped too. Men suffer eating disorders, too. MEN ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME EMOTIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, TOO. Before I leave you to digest this information, I would just like to truly acknowledge the fact that suicide "remains the leading cause of death for men between 20 and 34 in England and Wales." The only way I can try to understand this is to put myself in the shoes of a male. If I was truly struggling, would I rather "do it like a man," and "man up;" suffer in silence until I reach breaking point, or would I suffer the "embarrassment" of having to ask for help? As a seventeen year old female, I can only image how difficult it is for a male to have to battle between needing that professional help and not wanting to appear "less masculine" or crying "like a girl" in front of a complete stranger. The struggle is real, folks. Gender rolls are just as prominent for males as females and they need to be ELIMINATED.

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