Feminism is for men, too
To the men of Rutgers — and by this, I don’t mean all men. I mean men who have a penis and for some reason feel that this simple fact, this chromosomal trick, imbues within them a superiority otherwise undeserved. Many of these men are referred to as “bros” by others, though in truth I feel they must be only children, orphans, or else have only male siblings as I cannot fathom someone with a sister or mother they care for acting this way. Let me give you some advice to begin. You know that “rule” about racist jokes? If you have to look around to see if someone of that race is around before you tell it, you shouldn’t tell it. That rule. I hope to help you understand that this rule applies to more than just racist jokes. It applies to speaking about women as well.
While riding the bus today, to and from class, I witnessed something I feel is far too common: men talking about women in degrading ways until a female actually sits nearby, and then quickly shutting up. Just today I’ve heard things like, “She was only a six, but then she opened her mouth and turned into a four” and the somewhat more disturbing, “So I was drinking with this slut who wanted my ‘D’ but she wasn’t hot enough, so I went and got my bro, and he did her instead” the reply to which was a chorus of “Yo, you gotta make sure your boy gets some action.” Now I’ll admit, it’s a bit passive-aggressive of me to write a letter instead of confronting you in person, but I’ll be honest, when there are several of you and one of me, I’m not likely to confront you over words, no matter how hurtful and damaging they can be.
This isn’t a personal problem — it’s a cultural one. Our society is growing at a rapid pace, but the ignorance, intolerance and cruelty that spews forth on a daily basis at Rutgers alone is heartbreaking. I consider myself to be a feminist and yes, I’m male. I know that word scares some of you. You think feminists want to take away your rights, your pride, your mojo, whatever. To some of you, “feminist” means “man hater.” Let’s make one point clear: Feminism is not about putting men down — it’s about raising women up. It isn’t about taking men’s power, it’s about equality for everyone. Admittedly, there are some feminists who give the ideology a bad name, but in fairness, many of you give men a bad name. In many ways, the problem is bigger than misogyny alone. Many of these men are the same ones who frequently call things “gay.” Is your Expository Writing course, for instance, two same-sex people in an intimate relationship? No? Then I believe what you’re trying to say is that it displeases you. This isn’t news to any of you and your actions clearly show this. After all, why else would you stop talking the instant a member of the group you’re disparaging sits down nearby?
I know that change is difficult and that some of you have been gay bashing, slut shaming and bragging about your conquests for so long that it has become normal for you. But I want to tell you that not only can you change, you need to change. It is a moral imperative. Now, I know none of this applies to some of you. Good on you — you’re an awesome person. But for the rest of you, do me a favor. I want you to take a moment and look in the mirror. Be honest with yourself and ask, “If I were someone I wanted to sleep with, knowing completely who I am and how I act, would I want to sleep with me? Would I like me? Would I even give me the time of day?” If you can’t answer yes to all three of those questions, you have some work to do.
John Fowler is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore.