Why we all need feminism

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Photo / Victoria Gasca

Feminism is, by definition, meant to promote the interests of everyone.

Christine Wells, Guest Contributor

Feminism has long been the cause of rolling eyes and instant disregard. It has been whispered with shame as a dangerous confession, hidden in the back of our minds, scorned within our culture, banned as a synonym for justice. This mumbling hurts us all, limits the promised freedom to be our own extraordinary selves, and subjugates us to a culture that diminishes and degrades the value of human life. Men need feminism just as much as women.

The goal of feminism is to achieve equality between the sexes; this equality is a conglomeration of opportunities, respect, and empathy. Women have fought for feminism for centuries and have often been criticized and ignored for only speaking for the women and offering solutions that will ultimately harm men. But how can the idea of equality be harmful? How can the liberation from harmful stereotypes limit freedom? Feminism grants each individual the opportunities required to achieve happiness; it ensures justice for humanity.

Recently, there have been violent outbreaks, such as shootings and terrorism, provoked from intolerance and hate. These outbreaks have been fueled by our current culture, dictated by sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, and racism – a culture from the past, a culture that cannot adapt to our recurrent ever-changing world. According to a study done by McKendree University, the leading cause of terrorism is resentment caused by the deprivation of certain resources and opportunities. This rage and resentment can be mitigated and eventually eliminated by gender equality. Equality involves the concept that everyone is valued for who they are and what they do. Equality translates to a peaceful blending of all cultures, where we can respect our differences and enjoy our commonalities, the closest we will ever be to a utopian world.

It is time for everyone recognize that feminism is a civil right. Feminism by definition secures life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – the original constitutional promise – for both sexes. It is true that white male domination is the cause for minorities’ suffering and injustices, but it is this particular ability that is blinding men from the restrictions that they face. Actress and activist Emma Watson spoke to this during her “I’m a feminist” speech in front of the United Nations.

Video courtesy / United Nations

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” she said.”It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideas.”

It is time for all of us to realize that we are all victims of our ancestors’ social constructs and stereotypes. We all need feminism so that boys have the freedom to explore their own interests and abandon the toxic masculinity that has led them to live a life constricted from empathy, emotional liberty, and self-actualization. A man who denies himself the right to feel, act, and think outside the current idea of masculinity is a prisoner of his own society; this same oppression forces women to become prisoners of oppression and injustice. People deserve the personal liberation that comes with feminism. We all need feminism so that men’s role as fathers is not diminished and disregarded, so that men have the freedom to express their feelings without being considered as less than a man, so that men can have the freedom to break away from the stereotypes that restrict their identity.

Due to the stereotype of men being impassive, many men suffer health risks. Workers who have 32-hour shifts are much more likely to develop mental health problems, and due to this idea of masculinity, most men will refuse to seek help. This has created a dramatic increase in suicide: data collected by National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates that 75% of suicide victims are male. The idea of being a man has translated the existence of men into a deadly silent struggle, and the adverse emotional effects translate into punishing women with inequality.

We all need feminism in order to be truly free and able to pursue happiness. We need to normalize feminism – we can start by passing the equal rights amendment on a national scale – so that we can be free to declare ourselves advocates of equality and justice without misleading prejudice, ignorance, and outdated beliefs as obstacles to our freedom. We need to unite under the idea that we are all human beings and all of us deserve the opportunity of happiness and the right to freedom. Let feminism free us from a culture constructed by long-outdated traditions, and let all of us live fully and vibrantly in a culture that poses no limitations to who we can be.