WORDS Adam Johnson
The Patriarchy hurts us.
I want you to google literacy and men. In fact, spend any small amount of research on how society envisions men and consider how that fails us. Watch “Sixteen Candles” and see the stereotype of the male gender become reality. We become as we are made to be. Maybe I am leaning on what is too easily countered by modern psychology, but the traits that the environment places value discredit men. To this end men are losing. We believe these ideas of the masculine within the male gender too easily. This is why I find myself punching another nerd. Because, hell in the world of 80’s movie stereotypes, nerds are girly men and I should punch them and thus be accepted into male culture. I will leave this to you. Consider the attempt for the patriarchy to remain dominant, how many mentally advantageous behaviours have been considered feminine (reading books, how the hell did our gender give this up?) and physically advantageous behaviours been accepted and praised. This sentence being an inadequate but relevant social study I hope you reach the same conclusion that I gave you in the first sentence. If you do reach that same conclusion I hope you value my following sentence, feminism is important. Feminism is important because for all the actions of humanity they attempt to ask the question “Why?”. Hopefully in asking that question we can continue to progress.
To be honest I had panic attacks before submitting this piece. I have long been a advocate of feminism but I have lacked the words to express that inclination. I wrote to Grapeshot promising a fully composed piece, but upon reading my words I chose to ignore any follow up emails asking where my piece was. I’m scared because I am trying to fathom something that is removed from my perspective, but also because it is something that I believe to be so important to everything I attempt as a man. To fall short is to discredit who I am, and who I am is the product of so many social boundaries.
At the end of the day though I am happy. I recline into a couch assuming the importance of any opinions I have to add to the debate. Why shouldn’t I? I am a white Anglo Saxon heterosexual Protestant. If history is anything to be judged by, I should be able to present the end all and be all on the topic. But I am faced by the glaring question of “why?”. I am honestly terrified before its presence. Why should I assume that a male perspective on feminism is important? Why should I view myself as important?
[quote] We each approach it in small steps to create some view we are are happy to behold. “Why?” however, is never satisfied. That is why it is terrifying[/quote]
This leads me to the most important aspect of feminism. It answers the ongoing question of “why?” and in doing so gives me a presence of being. I can honestly say in wandering lost through hyde park, an egg has been thrown at me for the soul fact that I possessed a penis. In a moment someone observed me, and concluded that I sought to maintain a binary advantage over the female gender. From that I spent an age hating feminism and I can say now that I was wrong. I can never concur with patriarchy or feminism militant (something I would personally refer to as matriarchy) but I advance that all separation should it exist be understood and studied. We, outside of any theory of evolutionary biology, create reality around us. “Why?” is the single terrifying question at the centre of all our studies, at the centre of every religion and philosophy. We each approach it in small steps to create some view we are are happy to behold. “Why?” however, is never satisfied. That is why it is terrifying. Why do I receive education on loan from a government I rarely support? Why is there still a difference between the male and female wage? Why are we so intent on defending the integrity of the work of the home, rather than contemplating how the work of the home is distinguished and divided?
I like to imagine that the question “Why?” is what defines us as a species. However history has chosen to attempt to prove me wrong. Feminism represents a necessary and natural progression of the question “Why?”. As we perceive ourselves it is only natural to question ourselves as individuals within a group. When we perceive a hierarchy the losers in this arrangement have only a natural response of saying it is unfair. This leads me onwards and hopefully you too. What are the expectations of us as a species? As individuals I ask my fellow men to seek personal answers. For the women out there I ask are you satisfied with the public answer? I like to imagine that the great achievement of our bloodied history is that when we see something worth complaining about we complain until we temper ourselves into a society closer to what we aim. So I request my fellow men do not be upset when our opposing gender egg tossing because soon we might find ourselves upset. Together we we should all progress in our mutual dissatisfaction until we produce something we all want. So stop being jerks because the girls have a burden and we have our own. Lets all complain together and get this moving forward, because if we don’t attempt forward motion, what are we?