Men Wanted // Megan Mansfield

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            The feminist movement, led predominantly by women, has been a wonderful and powerful social movement which has been active since at least 24 centuries ago. There has been undeniably remarkable progress made thus far. Like so many other social movements in history though, the oppressed group requires recognition and active support from the oppressive group in order to truly create change within society. In this case, thats you boys! *Gasp* A female feminist, asking for help from men?! Yes, I will admit that especially at the beginning of my journey as a feminist, it was difficult to admit this necessity. However, at its very core, feminism is not about female domination or hating and oppressing men, feminism is about embracing equality amongst all individuals on the wide spectrum of gender. We need to stop shoving individuals into the fixed social categories that are known as feminine or masculine, and instead, recognize individuals for their uniqueness and genuinely good character. In order to live in a truly feminist society, we need genders across the board to participate in feminism, and I will discuss a just few reasons why.
            Im so sick of hearing that violence against women is a womens issue. Yes, we women are, typically, the sex who constantly has to consider the likelihood of sexual assault in nearly every setting we find ourselves in. Yes, we are the sex who feels the need to carry pepper spray and use the buddy system. Yes, we are typically the sex who suffers from victim-blaming and the detrimental psychological impact of sexual assault. But this violence against us, this is not just a womens issue. Lets look at rape as an example. Less than 1% of rapes are committed by a woman (Katz, 2013). When over 99% of rapes are perpetrated by men, why are we, as a society, labeling rape as a womens issue? I believe it is this very notion that holds us back from truly addressing the overwhelming issue of violence against women. Young girls are being taught not to wear certain clothing, not to tease boys, and to avoid being alone. How often are young boys taught to respect women as their equal, that no means no, or simply not to rape? Decades of these lessons and where have they gotten us? Over 600 women are sexually assaulted on a daily basis here in the United States (Gender-based violence, 2015). 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime (Park, 2013). Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women (Cook, 2009). To be blunt, the pepper spray is not working. These incongruent lessons are placing responsibility on females and in turn, giving males permission to blame their victims. Feminism requires boys and men to take responsibility for ending these heinous acts. With that being said, it is essential to acknowledge the fact that men and boys too, are survivors of sexual assault. 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before even reaching the age of 18, and that is a gross underestimate due to the terrible stigma that society places on masculinity (The 1 in 6 statistic, 2015). This concept of enforced masculinity leads me to another important reason males need to participate in feminism.
            Men, consider these questions: How often do you feel forced to hide your emotions? Have you been told to man up or grow a pair, or been called whipped, a pussy or little bitch? Have you felt the need to objectify women or be aggressive in front of your male friends? Would you (or do you) feel less than if your female partner made more (or makes more) money than you do? Are you ashamed of your interests that may be labeled as feminine? Do you feel held responsible as the protector and bread-winner? Sexism may be easy to ignore when it works in your favor, huh? When taking a closer look though, sexism negatively impacts individuals across sexes, genders, ethnicities, classes, etc. Sexism is hurting us all, as a society. Recent studies published by the highly reputable journal, Social Psychology, show that when males feel as though their masculinity is threatened, they feel a need to reassert their masculinity. As Benoît Monin, co-author of the research and a professor of psychology at Stanford University stated, this research shows that men are under very strong prescriptive norms to be a certain way, and they work hard to correct the image they project when their masculinity is under threat (Manning up, 2015). Similar studies have demonstrated that this need to reassert the male prescriptive norms may result in violence. More specifically, one study demonstrated that unemployed men were more likely to instigate violence against women. Another shows that men with baby faces were more likely to have assertive and hostile personalities and more likely to commit crimes than their more chiseled counterparts. Yet another study regarding masculinity demonstrated that men who were told they scored low on masculinity tests were more likely to act aggressively, harass women and belittle other men (Manning up, 2015). Due to gender roles and traditional marriage, mothers are more likely to obtain custody of their children after a heterosexual divorce. Some family law attorneys believe this is because the judicial system tends to looks for qualities which are typically assigned to females such as, feeding, bathing, waking and putting to bed, making doctor appointments, arranging for child care, and other stereotypical female duties (Guerin, 2015). Is this fair?
            Due to the lack of feminism in our society, sexism is disturbingly prevalent and is not only supporting a society that allows an unfathomable amount of violence against women, but is also influencing men to commit crimes and belittle other men. Men, while us female feminists do appreciate the efforts put forth on our behalf, I invite you to be a bit selfish when considering if feminism is right for you. Sexism, or a lack of feminism, is not just a womens issue, its a societal issue. All of us, as a society, are suffering and we need to work together on these issues.

Please see below for references used as well as other useful resources on this topic.

Written by Megan Mansfield


Emma Watson Speech at the United Nations:


Cook, P. W. (2009). Abused men: The hidden side of domestic violence (2nd ed.).                       Westport, CT: Praeger

Gender-based violence. (2015, November 10). Retrieved from http://                                      

Guerin, L. (2015, November 9). Divorce for men: Why women get child custody more                  often. Retrieved from                      divorce-for-men-why-women-get-child-custody-over-80-time                        

Katz, J. (2013). Violence against women is a mens issue. In M. Adams, W.J.                                Blumenfeld, R. Castañeda, H. W.             

Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zúñiga, X (Eds). Readings for Diversity and Social Justice
 (Third Edition) (pp. 64-65). New York, NY: Routledge.

Park, M. (2013). World health organization: 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual             violence. Retrieved from             women/         
The 1 in 6 statistic. (2015, November 10). Retrieved from                     statistic/

University of Washington. (2015, June 22). Manning up: Men may overcompensate                   when their masculinity is threatened. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12,                    2015 from

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