Dec. 17th, 2010

idiothole: (chillin')
For those blissfully unaware, there are two strands of "men's movement" as I see it in Finland today. There is the academic strand of Critical Men/Masculinity Studies, essentially a strand of Gender Studies that takes after the critical understanding of gender and how gender forms socially and applies these theories specifically to men, men's relationships (with women, children, other men), men & violence against women and other men. This is the one that parses how patriarchal society and its expectations not only harms women but also men, forcing them to adapt to ideas of dominant masculinity in the same way as women are trying to fit feminine ideals that exist in society. Patriarchy makes distant fathers and can rob a man from closeness to his own family, the very family patriarchy dictates he ought to work for.

Like Betty Friedan noted as she dissected the (white suburban American middle-class) housewife institution, nobody benefits from the arrangement. Not the man, not the woman, and not the children.

So that's one strand.

Then there's another strand, who hasn't as much as seen the vast literature of feminist classics, both old and new, at the library, hasn't read a single essay online, and probably hasn't even consulted a woman on her feelings on gender politics/ideals/roles/norms.

This men's movement simply sees feminism as an affront to gender equality because feminism has that pesky history of looking at, ugh, dare I say it, women. What about teh menz???? What about teh menzzz?????

Look here, feminists will say. Ours is a varied tradition that encompasses a vast amount of differing views and viewpoints throughout its history. Look at first wave feminism, look at the second way. Look at black feminism, post-colonial feminism, lesbian feminism, transfeminism, look at the critique that feminism does onto itself, look at the deconstruction of biological sex and social gender, look at the way that post-modern feminist theory has taken these concepts apart and found new ways of looking at it, completely taking out the idea of a simple gender binary. Look at equality efforts to make legislation catch up to the times with regards to LGBTQ individuals' rights.

But primarily feminism is a reaction to a phenomenon that is older than feminism - whether you want to call it patriarchy or whatever. It's a reaction to a concept that hasn't allowed women a voice. It's a reaction made by women because men didn't think the issue of women not being able to work certain jobs or earn or vote or own property or inherit money or go out on their own an important task to tackle.

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