A Man’s place in Feminism

Systems in place are constantly adjusting with time, as our ethics, laws and morals are constantly pushed and questioned. Due to these changes, a lot of our lifestyles, expectations and views are changing or challenged. One of these adjustments takes form in the ethical principle called feminism. Feminism strives to create equality between the genders and to redress and address the inequalities present created by the patriarchal system and other systems. As a man it is easy to feel out of place when it comes to this school of ethics as often we as a collective is in most instances the creators, benefactors or the party that maintains the inequalities that feminism is fighting against.

 

With the rally cries of “Men Are Trash” and persistent and at times aggressive stance towards the systems, it’s easy for men to feel threatened by women who carry the title of feminist. The threat comes in the form of feeling misjudged or accused. Men often claim, “not all men” because they specifically haven’t caused the harm that is associated with the phrase. “I don’t beat women” “I don’t rape” “I am respectable” are common assertions as to why the phrase should be invalid because not all men act out in the violent cases usually associated or mentioned. The quick response to this is being inactive to these actions whilst they happen is an action against the change women are doing, it isn’t enough to not just avoid doing those actions. A common phrase would be “when you choose to not side with either the oppressor or the oppressed, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” when we as men do nothing when the violence of women continue to escalate we are siding with the men who do beat, rape, disrespect and oppress women ut that is an argument you have heard before.

 

to cut to the root of this discussion as the previous paragraph has been discussed in length on my podcast. Feminism ideals are hard to support for most men because men are afraid of the patriarchy. Women need men to stand up for equality and standing up for equality immediately places a man from a place of comfort to a place of danger. To use an example, it is easy to see a lady being harassed and claiming I am different, I wouldn’t do it, I am not like them compared to actually going to assist and to tell the men that what their doing is wrong and won’t be tolerated. You immediately place yourself in harm’s way because men are fully aware of the violence men are capable of. If it isn’t physical violence it is one that is psychological, where you can be ostracised or the biggest tool used against men, stripped of your “manhood” with claims and views that “you are not a man” or “you are not man enough”. To surpass this you need to be an individual who is secure in their manhood and isn’t too afraid to encounter violence.

 

To take a gentler approach, it is very difficult to move from a place of “comfort” to a space of risk and harm, when there is no personal urgency for you as a man but there are two reasons that should be sufficient to have you equally want to deal away with patriarchal systems. The first is direct, patriarchy does affect you, we aren’t harmed the most but the harm is evident and it is grand. Men tend to commit suicide at a higher rate, indulge in alcoholism and drug abuse. One of the factors is societal pressure placed on individuals for simply being men. Abuse men face, such as being attacked by their women partners or rape in jail are overlooked and most/part of it is because of how we view men. If we address the systems in place we as men can attend to these social ills. Which is a direct benefit. The last is less direct but all change requires sacrifice, to be truly for a system change, to be really forequality, for change, we have to make sacrifices, not only is it one where we should be able to let go of our benefits but one where we are willing to face backlash when it comes. Change always comes with resistance and if we are not on the side of oppression we should be able to stand with women and face the resistance.

 

A man’s place in feminism is to be able to stand up for women in situations where it would be easier to “go with the flow” and disagree silently. We as men need to agree loudly and be supportive of the change we would like to see.

 

Writers Profile
Name: Lifalaza P.R Simataa
Profession: Ethicist & Industrial Psychologist


Background: Lifalaza Simataa is an Ethicist who has guest lectured Bioethics at the University of Namibia, has been a speaker at the feminist festival and has been on panel discussions for Reconciliation in Namibia. He has a professional background as a Trainer/Facilitator of skills such as emotional intelligence, Leadership, communication, ethical principles, critical thinking and team dynamics. He is also a gifted speaker, as he has been and is a master of ceremony, Debating and public speaking coach and a Standup comedian. He also Hosts a podcast titled The Rambling Lifa, where he discusses, social activism, politics, philosophy and psychology.

May 2024
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