Yesterday, one of our female writers told me that male students didn’t want to talk about International Women’s Day. Whilst I’m sure you could find plenty of men who would, her comments did hold some truth about how certain types of feminism have made this a difficult conversation to have.
“It’s not that we don’t have an opinion, we just don’t want to share it now,” said a 26-year old student from the MA International Journalism course. “As soon as we disagree, we’re categorised as anti-feminist.” His group of male friends agreed.
It shocked me to see such a poor reputation of feminism among the guys in my class. These men were willing to self-censor themselves – on a daily basis – to not anger the feminist .
Isn’t it after all about gender equality?
I know that radical feminists have said that hating men is necessary, similar to how the oppressed class hates those above it. But, we should remember that this is one – loud – branch of feminism. Replacing a patriarchy with a matriarchy won’t solve the problem of gender inequality.
I’m sceptical about the whole notion of gender equality anyway. To strive for it is good, but having exact parity across all industries is a bit of a non-starter. The latest census shows women make up 51% of the population of England and Wales, and men 49%. So even if we try to impose parity, it will never be 50-50.
Men and women are different mentally, emotionally, but most importantly biologically. Pregnant women need to take maternity leave if they choose to have a baby. Men, unfortunately, just don’t have the right body parts to do so. The rise in paternity leave popularity is an attempt to raise men up to the parenting equality line. However, pushing a baby out from womb to crib is a feat that only a woman can perform.
Gender equality should take these differences into account, not suppress them.
In 2019, men and women can become a CEO, a teacher or a doctor. In the UK, both have access to the same education. The problem is when they are not given the same job opportunities. That’s what feminism should be about: giving women, and men, the freedom to design their own path.
None of this should stop men from speaking out. In this quest for gender equality, they also deserve a voice.
Yes, their voice has been the loudest since we were sitting around in caves thousands of years ago. And yes, they are still louder. But we are loud too. We don’t need to shut them down because they did it to us in the past.
So, on this International Women’s Day, put your ego to the side ladies, and engage with what your male friends have to say about gender equality.