I recently became a father for the second time. Only this time, I became the father of a little girl. And while the prospect of having a daughter became extremely appealing to the point that I am coming out today as a proud male feminist, it has not always been the case. Let me share with you my point of view and my thought process.
Coming to terms with my feminine side
Have you ever found yourself uncomfortable sharing emotions? Expressing feelings? Crying in front of another male counterpart? Or feeling uncomfortable with physical touch from another man, when they are hugging a little too long? If you are a male, it is probably all of the above. Which means that like most of men, you are currently locked inside what is called a man box. A man box "is a a rigid set of expectations, perceptions, and behaviors of what is "manly" behavior."
Keith Edwards describes it as Traditional Hegemonic Definition of Masculinity. He says: "This definition is "traditional" in that it is rooted in long held cultural ways of defining what it means to be a man. It is "hegemonic" in that it places men above people of other genders AND some men above other men."
I personally came to the realization that I spent most of my life in a man box, without even knowing it existed. The truth is, I was experiencing manhood like I did not have a choice. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I was terrified by the idea that it could be a girl. I was afraid of the day she would interact with men, especially in a sexual way. Like many men, I refused to acknowledge how I was truly perceiving women. Like many men, I was not comfortable with my feminine side. I buried it so deep inside myself because my environment made it dangerous for me to be sensitive. It took deep introspection and painful audit of my behavior to realise that I was not the man I wanted to be. Most importantly It empowered me to write a version of manhood that resonates with my true self.
"Feminism isn't exclusionary. It includes the idea that men are denied access to emotional expression." Lauren Duca
Most men have a problem with the word "feminist"
Some men are upset by the term feminist. They are bothered by it because they have a biased understanding of it. They view feminists as a bunch of angry women looking to emasculate them and take over. I found that most men, me included in my early path, find themselves in a power struggle with the opposite sex. Worse, most men consider themselves superior to women mainly due to the patriarchal nature of society or to the obsolete belief that physical strength prevails on anything else. While I won't address the stupidity of the few that still consider that women belong at home, I would like to quote Emma Watson that says that "Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities." How can any reasonable person argue with that? How can any reasonable person argue with that? How is it fair that women make $0.79 on each dollar a man makes ($0.55 if you are Latina compared to a white male) ?
"Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities." Emma Watson
A version of this article was originally published on Wokedaddy.com
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