Despite criticisms that feminism helps women alone, it also aids men in dismantling toxic masculinity
With feminism gaining popularity over the years, harsh criticism of the movement was inevitable. A rather prevalent objection that critics often brought up against this global campaign was how it only aimed to help women and had an agenda to strip away men from their masculinity. Those familiar with the tenets of feminism know this statement cannot be farther away from the truth.
However, many still believe that feminism’s objective is to “whine” about patriarchy and how it hurts women. This misinterpretation causes individuals to fail to recognize how patriarchy oppresses everyone, regardless of their gender.
It is rather evident how the systemic injection of elements of patriarchy in modern society has hurt women — the overused narrative that men are the dominant gender and women are less worthy. This deeply rooted and internalized belief has obviously restricted many women throughout history and continues to do so.
However, many miss how patriarchy has directly hurt men in the past and continues to do so. Time and time again, the tenets of patriarchy have had a directly negative impact on men — a huge problem being toxic masculinity.
Toxic masculinity can be defined as men conforming to traditional male gender roles, resulting in men basing their emotions on the untold yet intensely followed rules that patriarchy has dictated.
An easy example would be how it is often unacceptable for men to show sadness as it will be directly associated with weakness. This incorrect linkage can often encourage men to express their frustration through the route of anger instead of sadness from a young age.
This is interesting as studies have proved that anger is a secondary emotion which means that there is often an underlying primary feeling such as fear, sadness or jealousy that is masked by anger. Although I can’t comprehend why sadness is such an unacceptable emotion for men, some so-called “alpha males” clarify and argue that since men are leaders, they should be able to endure the pain instead of displaying it.
Jackson Karza, author of The Macho Paradox, sheds light on this mindset and elaborates on how numerous men channel their vulnerability through feelings of anger. This anger is a mask to cover their vulnerability, possibly implying they are not man enough to take the pressure.
In such instances, feminism comes into play and defends men’s rights who want to proudly exhibit their diverse range of emotions without being judged. Again, unlike how many men view feminism, the movement is supportive of equal rights between men and women in all categories — including showing emotions.
Feminists strive to dismantle the principles of patriarchy by constantly challenging ridiculous social norms such as men not having the ability to show their vulnerability comfortably. Feminism stands for a just world where with the elimination of patriarchy, men and women can be equals in every sense.