Monday, March 5, 2012

Women aren't the only ones with a stake in the success of feminism

Maybe my perspective is skewed by the fact that I'm a queer and not very gender conforming male, but I've never viewed the feminist project and the ability to achieve my goals as at all divergent. My concerns as a man are not antagonistic to the concerns of feminists; they're complimentary. I have an investment in the dismantling of patriarchal institutions, even if that investment is less than that of many women.

The world sucks for men because we are browbeaten by our peers, by the system, into a straitjacket of restrictive gender norms that play into the worst parts of our nature. It sucks for women because the men produced thereby are brutish and uncaring, and to a large degree run the world. We're fighting for the same damn thing- the right to be fully human in a society that would reduce us to our genders. They have the same solution- smash the patriarchy, inculcate norms of masculinity that are either not as destructive as the ones we have currently, or do away with those norms altogether.

I am not saying, of course, that this is the whole of the feminist project, that all social ills that feminists are concerned about will be solved if we can break the Gordian knot of the social dynamics of performative masculinity. But it is a significant part of the project, and one which men stand to benefit from as much as women.