Feminism for Boys
Honestly, this is a hard subject to tackle without sounding like I’m being critical of other groups; particularly movements; particularly feminism in general. I struggled to complete this post because I don’t want to appear to be stealing from the feminist movement or appear to be hating on it, but actually quite to the contrary. And when I say feminism, I speak of the non-toxic kind that seeks to make men and women equal – I’m not sorry but I have huge disgust with the type of feminism that elevates women over men, even when the person claims that to not be their objective. I do agree that there is an opposite version called toxic masculinity, but I digress.
So what do I mean by feminism for boys? Well, just that. If one goal of feminism is to bring women to a place where society recognizes then them in many roles once considered for men-only. For boys it would do the opposite; bring men (a particular kind of man – more on that later) to a place where they are then recognized by society in roles that once were considered for women-only. These roles include but are not limited to; homemaker, laundry, grocery shopping, raising the kids, etc.
Unless you live under a rock, you might have noticed a change in cinema over the last few years; a shift to writing better female characters or at least, representing women in stronger/authoritative roles. I understand that some might disagree with me and I can accept that since it’s difficult to prove what I mean. However, I will point to the number of movies last year that failed the Bechel Test decreased from 54% to 32% – by my own estimate. I know the test isn’t perfect but it at least proves that I was not imagining what I noticed between 2016 and 2017 during my trips to the movie theater.
Okay, so what about some examples; Wonder Woman, Beauty and the Beast, Hidden Figures, and (new) Ghost Busters would be four of my personal notable movies. All of these movies I left the theater with a “wow, that was good” (Sorry to those who hated a new Ghost Busters – I liked it.), as well as a slight sad depressed feeling. Why? Well, that is perhaps not so easy to answer. But let me try to sum it up from my own POV.
If you have read any of my past blog posts, you would know that I don’t identify with most gender-norms. It still feels wrong to say but I’ve come to identify as a woman in a man’s body. Honestly, I don’t actually believe that being born into a wrong body is technically possible but for this example, I’m using it for simplicity. From a very young age, I wanted to be a girl and sadly it is still something I struggle with to this day. There were various causes of my struggle and the reasons have evolved a few times since I was a child.
One recent reason, but not limited to, is the negative social changes that have come from toxic feminism. This sort of continues from my last post about over-idolizing masculinity but we have gotten to a point in society where we believe women can float between masculine and feminine personalities but men are put in a box and not granted the same privilege. And for the rare example, where men do manage to get society to allow them to do something seen as more feminine, such as wearing their hair in a bun or a braid, (generally known as metrosexuals) we have to come up with some weird a new name for it; such as man-bun or man-braid. This is even true in the lolita and my little pony communities; calling men who dress in lolita “Brolitas” and calling male fans of MLP “Bronies.” And in these cases, we affix bro-, short for “brother” to the word. However, when women do something normally seen as masculine, we don’t change the name or call them sis… ballers (Sorry, that came off wrong.) or lumbersues. Honestly, the only place I’ve seen the reverse of anything like this is the removal of “man” from profession titles, which I think is more the fault of the politically-correct culture.
This drive to mark men as only masculine and women as both. Labels people such as myself, in a strange gray area of gender identity. In many cases are now perceived as weaker or lesser than women. I can attest to this by comments I grew up with from my own parents, who would be critical of the sissy/queer male stereotype that was usually associated with gay men and more recently men who hold feminine professions or roles. Other comments that can be even more hurtful personally is when people like me are called “mentally ill” and “confused.”
And here is where things get very personal for me and why I believe “boys” such as myself need their own version of feminism. It is because of this new gender stereotype that puts me, as well as other boys, in the similar area of struggle as women. There needs to be a feminism that aims to give us the same opportunities and privileges to float between masculine and feminine if we so choose. The damage this stereotype has done to people such as myself is usually irreversible and I personally seek to one day fully recover from it – not just fighting it but also embracing who I am.
Sometimes I go through a relapse and experience an identity crisis. Sometimes it’s because I fear what people will think of me if I become more queer, other times it’s because I feel gross and revolted by my natural masculine side – which is usually caused by me just wishing I could be female and being permitted to float without questions asked. This includes but is not limited to, weight, facial hair, body hair, fearing hair loss, clothes (the necessities, as well as having to wear such big sizes), shoe size, and even the random unwanted erection. This also happens when I have caught myself looking at a provocative image of a woman and being turned on, I feel like myself at that moment splits. My body goes into autopilot, while my brain is once again is revolted at my sinful desire and it’s association with masculinity.
Anyways, back to comment about Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast. Both movies are strongly about badass women who stand up and do not accept the stereotype expected of them. And that is where I feel under-represented. This is not just an LGBTQ+ issue, it’s an issue that affects all of us men who don’t fit the masculine mold and in general, just go against the grain of society, essentially we don’t have our own Wonder Woman type story. Most popular culture is about men being one thing, being masculine – shooting guns, drinking beer, generally being gross. At least that is the type of masculine man I thought they were growing up with older movies and other men I knew, regardless that my own father was that nice guy stereotype. Some more recent movies I would list would be the Pacifier, Daddy Daycare, Mr. Mom, etc. The list goes on and on and they are all about tough masculine men who take a role or profession normally seen as a women’s job and turns it into a joke. Is it any wonder why someone like myself would feel uncomfortable about the stereotype society assumes of us?