Why we still need feminism

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It’s no surprise that the first annual Women’s March took place the day after President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration — the president has been quoted as saying “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” The 2017 Women’s March was “the largest coordinated protest in U.S. history.”

Feminism is the idea that men and women should have equal rights: equal pay, equal importance in the workplace, equal representation in the government, et cetera. It is not the belief that women are better than men. The term “feminism” can be a turn off for some men wanting to preserve their hyper-masculine personas.

However, what people fail to realize is that feminism benefits men as well as women. Traditional gender roles hinder both men and women in different aspects. Women are often criticized for their career choices — a 2012 Atlantic article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” argues that women who manage to go through life as mothers with careers “are superhuman, rich, or self-employed.”

Meanwhile, men are expected to be the breadwinners of their families, making enough to support the wife and kids, while having less of a say in the household’s affairs. Working women are still paid less than men, with women of color making even less than white women. “Man up” is often synonymous with suppressing one’s emotions.

This can take a toll on mental health — the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that “men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.” RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) reports that “one in six women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” For men, the number is one out of every 33.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that in “eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator.” These numbers may not be completely accurate, because many assaults go unreported out of fear that the victim won’t be believed, that they will be blamed for what happened to them, or several other reasons.

Rape culture in America often victim blames, or chalks the assault and harassment up to “boys will be boys.” The #MeToo Movement spread across the media as men and women both began sharing their stories of harassment and assault, outing the perpetrators in an attempt to bring awareness to this issue.

The Brett Kavanaugh hearings heard testimonies from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about Kavanaugh’s assault — yet Blasey Ford’s character and credibility were questioned, as if she was the one that had done something wrong. Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court, despite the accusations against him.

 For as long as gender inequality exists in the world, the need for feminism will be needed as well.

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