- men in favor of or supporting feminism
On January 21, 2017, women and men marched side by side in arguably the largest protest in modern history. Known as the Women’s March on Washington, the event occurred in numerous cities across globe in an effort to bring light to ongoing fight for women’s rights to her body, for equality, and for respect from United States President Donald J. Trump. It was—and still is—a battle for cis-gender women, transgender women, and all women of color.
So, what role should men play in this? I, myself, am a cis-gender man. Our prominent leaders are all cis-gender men. Many of those championing for pro-life, anti-abortion legislation are cis-gender men. Vice versa, many men recognize and stand by the pro-choice argument. Perhaps, not solely for the argument of pro-choice, but the larger pictures of the services, culture, equality, and rights that this stance comes with.
While in graduate school, I studied pro-feminism during the American Woman’s Suffrage Movement. Specifically, I studied Max Eastman and his Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage (MLWS). Eastman and his league of men fought for women’s rights. Why? They recognized their own privilege in the right to vote and the injustice of women not sharing in that fundamental human power.
Eastman and MLWS did not need to campaign for women’s suffrage. Men already had the right to vote. This was a man’s world. Why did they care?
Today, I ask the same questions. Why should I care about women’s rights? Why should men fight for a woman’s right to her own body? What responsibility do men have in this battle?
In my truth, I vote pro-choice because I have no damn business voting pro-life. I am not a woman, so what right do I have to vote what she does with her body? Men need to recognize that, while they are not women, they are voting bodies. Guys – it’s a numbers game. Like the Men’s League, you have a privilege that can and will determine the lives of women for generations. This time, however, women have the right to vote. Women now need strength in numbers.
I vote pro-choice because it is the right thing to do. Let me make something clear: I am not pro-choice because I am pro-abortion. I am pro-choice because I am anti-hanger. There is a very problematic misconception that the majority of women who receive abortions are these harlots who are killing a life because she could not keep her legs shut. This is completely wrong and sexist. Women across the world need this option due to life-threatening problems during pregnancy, rape, health complications, and, yes, perhaps an unwanted pregnancy when a she may not be ready. However, pro-choice, ironically, saves lives. Regardless of its legality, an individual will find a way to seek the assistance they need. This assistance, though, may not be the safest.
The argument for pro-life legislation often stems from religious reasoning. I am not here to dictate one’s religious beliefs. I am not here to judge you if your religious views influence your political stances and how you vote. I am here to remind you that we live in a country of religious freedom. We live in a nation of a multitude of eastern and western beliefs, not just traditional Christianity. I am here to remind you that we also live in a country founded on the separation of church from state. While you may feel our federal government should enforce pro-life/anti-abortion legislation due to Christian fundamentals, I disagree. Your walk with God is yours alone; it should not dictate how others live their lives. If you don’t believe in the right to an abortion, then don’t get an abortion. If you feel I am wrong, then I challenge you to adopt those unwanted children. I hardly see those who preach pro-life rhetoric actively adopting the children who are later born and given up. It’s easy to preach and cast a ballot, and then run away from the ramifications.
If a man needs any further reason or reminder as to why you have a responsibility in involving yourself in the fight for women’s rights, then do it on the grounds of being a decent human beings. Men fought and voted in the right to vote for women. White Americans fought alongside African Americans for civil rights. Straight allies continue to fight for equality for the LGBTQ+ community. You don’t have to be directly affected by the results of any movement to bring change for the greater good. You don’t necessarily have to believe in the cause or get anything out of it. You have to do it because you have a responsibility as a voting citizen. You have to do it because, as a man, you don’t have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. You have the right to fight for the freedoms that mankind (not womankind) has had since the beginning of time.
Women don’t need our help, they are very capable. However, the unjust, patriarchal institution that runs their lives was created by men. Like every past movement, it takes a united front for change.
Remember, you have a mother, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a co-worker, and a daughter, whether she be cis- or trans- gender. Don’t act as if you aren’t a part of this.
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