Why Men Need Feminism Too
A Crash Course on how the Patriarchy Hurts Everyone
Hey kings, here’s a list of resources introducing you to the feminist movement and why everybody needs it.
As a man, I understand why it may be difficult to take feminism seriously - after all, I wasn’t born a feminist. No one is. There was a point in my life where I held a lot of the very views you may well be holding onto now. I understand how much it sucks to hear that “men ain’t shit” and “all men are trash”. I also understand how unfair statements like those feel and how defensive that tends to make us.
It’s also hurtful to be told to “Google it” when you’re trying to communicate where you’re coming from and it’s frustrating to be told to go and do some reading in order to even engage in the argument you’ve found yourself in. But as you’ll hopefully learn after you’ve gone through the resources below, being a woman is hard. We can’t even begin to understand what that feels like. But we still need to learn, and it’s up to us to create spaces where we can learn from each other because women already have enough on their plates.
Please note that this resource only exists to introduce you to intersectional feminism. A lot of this material only covers the basics. If you’d like resources that go into a lot more detail and provide a deeper analysis, please feel free to let me know!
What is Patriarchy?
This word gets thrown around a lot by feminists but what exactly does it mean? This is a key concept to understanding what gender means in our society.
What Is Patriarchy (And How Does It Hurt Us All)?
This is a short five-minute video explaining what the patriarchy is. It is closed captioned so there are subtitles throughout.
Patriarchal Society Defined According to Feminism
This is a longer article going into a bit more detail if you’d rather read than watch, but the video above should be more than enough information! This is just an alternative so there’s no need to go through both.
Patriarchy and How It Shows Up for Everyone
This article provides examples of how under the patriarchy, everyone loses - even men.
What is Feminism?
Now that we understand the patriarchy, let’s explore feminism. Feminism in its purest form is the movement that exists to challenge the patriarchy. Since we know that the patriarchy hurts everyone, it then makes sense that a movement to stop that hurt is in the best interests of everyone!
Feminism Defined (by Wikipedia)
Yes, Wikipedia is a whack source, but I’m not linking it here because we don’t need to go through the entire page. The text I’m including below is from the first couple of paragraphs because we need to start somewhere.
Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting against gender stereotypes and establishing educational, professional, and interpersonal opportunities and outcomes for women that are equal to those for men.
Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to: vote, hold public office, work, earn equal pay, own property, receive education, enter contracts, have equal rights within marriage, and maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in female dress standards and acceptable physical activities for women have often been part of feminist movements.
Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender-neutral language, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims, because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; feminist theorists have developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.
Not All Feminisms
Like all other social movements, feminism has had so many issues. It has been riddled with racism, transphobia, and ableism and has been adapted into movements that do more to exclude and vilify women than to validate and liberate them. This is why when I talk about feminism, I mean intersectional feminism. Feminism means nothing if it isn’t intersectional.
This is the good stuff. Intersectionality is a way for us to conceptualise that different people experience the patriarchy in different ways, requiring us to build a movement that prioritises the liberation of everyone as opposed to just one group of people. One failure of many articles discussing intersectionality is the miscategorisation of “class” as an identity (like race and gender). This critique is very complex and I won’t be going into too much depth on it in this resource, but if you would like to read more about it click here and here.
[READ] " Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional (And 3 Ways to Practice It)"
This article does a good job of defining intersectionality and introducing ways in which you can incorporate it into your everyday life. This section is especially relevant:
“Quite to the contrary, intersectional feminism should be making everyone uncomfortable because we never grow or progress when we are comfortable. We grow when we are hurting or struggling or stretching ourselves to understand something new.”
What Privilege Really Means (And Doesn't Mean) – To Clear Up Your Doubts Once and For All
The previous article (and undoubtedly your experience online) is full of discussions surrounding privilege. This article breaks it down for us to understand what having privilege means and how we can process the reality of our privilege without getting defensive or derailing an important conversation by centring ourselves.
Carceral feminism and coercive control: when Indigenous women aren't seen as ideal victims, witnesses or women
This article provides an example of what feminism can look like if it isn’t intersectional. It discusses how an attempt to protect women can actually be a way to cause further violence against them.
Here we go into a bit more detail about why people that happen to be men also benefit from the feminist movement. We may not be hurt in the same way and to the same degree by the patriarchy as our women and non-binary counterparts, but our pain is still valid and deserves to be given the space to be discussed and processed too.
Why Men Need Feminism Too (Really, You Do!)
A short list! If even two items on this list apply to you, you probably need feminism.
(Spoiler alert, we all do.)
Let's Talk About the Reality of the "Men's Rights" Argument
A lot of men tend to feel victimised by feminism when they don’t necessarily understand what it is. As such, we tend to hear a lot of “well what about men’s rights?” By now we should already understand why feminism is for everyone (men included), but this article goes into more detail about why the unique struggles men face are actually addressed by feminism and not worsened by it.
3 Ways Anti-Feminism Hurts People of All Genders
This article debunks a couple of misconceptions about feminism and details how we are all hurt by the patriarchy.
Feminism Isn't About Man-Hating, Even Though Some Feminists Hate Men – Let This Analogy Explain
How Most Things You Know About Feminists Are Vicious Conservative Lies
You Don't Have to Hate Women to Be Sexist: Everyday Ways You May Be Sexist Without Knowing It
Just Because It Doesn't Affect You Personally Doesn't Mean It's Not Oppressive
Why Discrimination Against Men is Nowhere Near as Bad as Sexism
What Men Can Do
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! We’ve put in some great work towards understanding how the patriarchy works and how feminism teaches us to both see and challenge it. The next couple of links are here to give us a bit of a guide about how we can go about being feminists as men.
5 Reasons Our 'Sons' Need Feminism, Too
5 Ways to Avoid Common Ally Pitfalls by Learning From Your Mistakes
So You Want to Be a Male Feminist? Here Are 11 Simple Rules to Follow
A feminist glossary because we didn't all major in gender studies
5 Simple Ways Men Can Better Respect Women
5 Questions Feminists Are Tired of Being Asked (And Some Alternative Approaches to Asking Them)
No, We Won't Calm Down – Tone Policing Is Just Another Way to Protect Privilege
Beware These 10 Types of Feminist Men (don’t be these guys)
This Is Why Being a Nice Guy Just Isn't Enough
4 Things Men Are Really Doing When They 'Play Devil's Advocate' Against Feminism
7 Commenters You'll Meet as an Online Feminist
100 Everyday Ways That Feminism Has Changed My Life
8 Ways For Men to Be Allies to Women at Parties Without Being Paternalistic
I understand that the vast majority of the content here is from one website that made content around 2014-16. That’s because these articles were my entrypoint to feminism and politics in general. Seven years later, I find myself not really