As I was browsing the Amazon Bestseller list under the “Gender Studies” category, I could help but notice that the books that made the list were a battle of extremes: The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay is #1, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is #2. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray is followed by What Women Want in a Man: How to Become the Alpha Male Women Respect, Desire, and Want to Submit To (someone needs to tell author Bruce Bryan that he really shouldn’t end his fucking *book subtitle* in a preposition). Books that argue against gender differences, like Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society find themselves a couple spots away from those that argue FOR gender differences, like Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female.
Granted, the list changes daily, sometimes hourly. I still think this list is a very real indication about how Americans feel about gender roles in our society: basically, they’re conflicted. As a matter if fact, studies have shown that gender stereotypes are stronger today than they were 35 years ago.
The results of our study suggest a surprising durability of basic stereotypes about women and men over the past three decades, not only in the global traits of agency and communion but in other domains such as physical characteristics, occupations, and gender roles as well. These results are perhaps surprising, given the progress that women have made in fields previously dominated by men, such as law, medicine, business, and sports…
The only thing that’s really changed is that people think women should be equally responsible for financial obligations. (Hey, Society? Fuck you. No seriously, fuck you.)
Of course, what could be a better example of this being true than current events? I’m pretty sure every balding, aging white man in politics was sitting on his fat ass in that meeting with Donald Trump, deciding whether maternity care, birth control, and mammograms are “essential” treatments that should be covered by all health insurance policies under the Republican proposal to repeal Obamacare… with nary a female in sight. (Incidentally, Kellyanne Conway doesn’t count. I’m fairly certain she’s dead and rotting on the inside.)
I’m convinced a lot of people don’t know what to think when it comes to gender roles. Luckily, I’m here to tell them exactly what they should be thinking and why.
Behold, my #1 reason for why everyone—particularly men—should be feminists:
Men are suffering too. I’ve written a bit about toxic masculinity and how it harms boys and the men they become. I’m going to talk about it some more. Not only are men expected to be aggressive, competitive, unemotional, and able to fix all kinds of random shit, they are also expected to make money, be just the right amount of sensitive, and always be able to get it up. (I mean their penises. They always have to be able to get erections. In case you didn’t understand).
Here’s the thing: Being a feminist doesn’t mean not understanding the dude’s side of things. Most of the time, it’s actually the opposite. I’m actually very much a guy’s girl. As a teen / young adult, I got along better with boys than girls, mainly because guys seemed so much more direct in how they felt and didn’t play the weird, manipulative games that the girls played. For instance, I learned about masturbation and blow jobs from guys, not girls. And it wasn’t in a creepy, “I want you to” way, either. (Trust me on this: I was 11 or 12, not even *remotely* attractive, and completely socially awkward.)
Boys had no problem saying weird “guy shit” around me, mainly because they didn’t even notice I was listening most of the time. But the girls? Oh, HELLLL no. Things like “masturbation” are still completely taboo in the realm of female talk, and Jesus, my female peers and I are swiftly approaching 40.
As an adult, my attitude about life hasn’t really changed much: I’m lazy as shit. I don’t make To-Do Lists (something that a RIDICULOUS number of women seem to make for the men in their lives. WTF, ladies? How about chilling the fuck out?) I’d rather watch TV or surf the Internet than be productive on my weekends. I fucking hate socializing. I don’t decorate, or cook any more than absolutely necessary, or do PTA-type shit, or like to shop or buy clothes, or obsess over scented candles or my hair, or anything generally labelled as “female.” And while men don’t exactly treat me like “one of the guys” anymore, they appreciate my honesty and open-mindedness enough to open up to me about things they probably don’t share often—or at all—even with the women in their lives. In my experience, men have opened up the instant they felt accepted for who they were, rather than who they were expected to be.
I got to know men who were raised to be manly, hunting-and-fishing-loving Republicans, but who also adored kids and secretly wanted to be teachers; men who were, on the outside, the epitome of the “Alpha” male but *maybe* liked other men and were terrified of being labelled “gay”; men who wanted to cry over something mean their boss said but kept it all inside because they were afraid of being judged; men who needed to hear that they were loved passionately and attractive and ALL THAT SAME SHIT women need and want. And there isn’t a single fucking thing wrong with ANY of that. I actually think people, as a whole, benefit from every bit of it. (You can quote me on that.)
Here’s the thing, though: Antiquated gender roles are pushed by women as much as (sometimes even more than) men. And ladies, you need to fucking stop. You are putting yourselves and the men you “love” at a severe disadvantage, and you’re too fucking brainwashed to see it. For instance, this asshole insists that “Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion.” She’s not alone, by the way. I’m shocked at how many women actually agree that traditional gender roles are the way “God meant for us to be.”
What’s funny about this is that studies have shown that men and women aren’t that psychologically different after all, and gender roles are bullshit and mostly imposed on us externally.
My Point Is This: Feminism benefits everyone. EVERYONE. Stop fighting it, assholes.
*Note: NONE of the guys I was ever friends with or dated liked being given To-Do Lists. Ladies, for the love of sweet baby Jesus, STOP with the To-Do List. If not for yourselves, for the sake of couples’ sex lives everywhere.