A new study has discovered something that female feminists have known for years: feminists don’t hate men. The study, conducted at the University of Houston, interviewed just under 500 college students and asked them about their attitudes towards men. The respondents, a diverse sampling of men and women, had to correctly define feminism and label themselves as “feminist,” “nonfeminist,” or “unsure.” Their hostility and benevolence towards men was recorded on a scale of 0 to 5 and–well, what do you know–both white and non-white female feminists felt less hostility towards men than their non-feminist counterparts. Imagine that, a stereotype of feminists was wrong!
What makes this study interesting is that it illustrates how accepting a patriarchal society doesn’t leave women feeling any more satisfied with a culture that marginalizes them. Melina Kanner, one of the researches, observed a possible cause for this:
Our work finds that, indeed, non-feminists believe in traditional gender roles such as men being breadwinners and women being caregivers. At the same time, these non-feminists actually appear to resent the confines of the traditional roles they advocate, which presents a paradox for women and men in traditional heterosexual relationships.
This all seems pretty obvious to those of us who self-identify as feminists. Feminism isn’t about being mad or hostile towards men, it is about questioning a society that uses clearly defined gender roles to keep one gender on the bottom. What feminists–both male and female–are hostile towards is misogyny. So if you are a man and you get angry with feminists because you think they are out to destroy you, you should probably re-think what you think it is to be a man and what feminists are actually trying to “destroy.” If you think that being a man means being able to keep women in a submissive role, then maybe you need to go see a therapist.
That said, why aren’t more women coming out and identifying themselves as feminists? It would seem that if non-feminists were unhappy with men in a patriarchal society they would want to, you know, change that society? Why would you want to go through life being hostile towards men? Some, in fact most, men are actually kinda cool. And some of them don’t like the gender roles they are also forced to be a part of. I know a lot of women who say they don’t want to identify with feminism because they see mainstream feminism as being alienating to women who aren’t white, middle class and straight (a valid argument) but usually these women all agree with feminist principles. On the other hand, I also know a lot of young women (and men) who reject feminism because they think that all feminists are humorless boner-killing feminazis who are out to turn every woman into a weeping rape victim and cut the testicles off of every man who so much as admits that they are attracted to females. “Run for your lives, good gals and gents of America: It’s the FEMINISTS!” Hopefully, once those people see this study, they will realize that feminists don’t hate men.