Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Men should reject sexist media

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Whoever coined the term “feminist” wasn’t really thinking about men and their role in it, or else they didn’t take into account how silly it might sound to call yourself a feminist when you are not female. And why would they? Men have been in charge since the beginning of time, and it’s not the job of feminism to make us feel better about our privilege. Unfortunately, the truth is that there are a lot of men who think it’s emasculating to call oneself a feminist. Luckily, they are wrong.

Like any other movement, if feminism wants to succeed, it should take into account the psychology of the group that oppresses it. The dominant force (in this case, men) is going to push back against opposition; most people tend to dislike change that doesn’t directly benefit them, and so the world winds up with people who can’t hear the word “feminism” without frothing at the mouth.

So can you be a man in a world where, hypothetically, feminism has become the predominant ideology? I don’t just mean physically being male or identifying as male. Can there be a male identity in such a world? As far as I can see, there absolutely can be, even if we are all equal. After all, if we reach a point where we can comfortably acknowledge our many similarities, then why would we suddenly be uncomfortable with our differences?

Proponents of feminism advocate for the political, social and economic equality of women and men. Disagreeing with this goal publicly leads to shaming regardless of your location. At the very least, the Internet will find you. Having said this, merely agreeing with the idea of equality for men and women is not enough for any kind of activist movement’s goals to be satisfied. For that to happen, there needs to be institutional change, which is where male opposition comes in, because this means listening to and acting on the criticisms presented by the feminist platform.

Three big issues facing feminism today are the pervasiveness of rape culture, the objectification of women in media and the lack of female representation in public discourse. This is not an exhaustive summation of feminism, but from my own experience and for the sake of simplicity, these are especially troublesome issues in the male psyche. Feminist criticism along these lines has been directed at car culture, sports and videogames, and so the tone of the movement is often confused for an assault upon all three. Like most people, men don’t like change much, especially when it somehow interferes with their day-to-day life, which for so many includes sports and videogames, and other elements that fuel sexist media.

But this shouldn’t be the case, because eliminating the objectification of women in media (or taking steps to do so) is worth changing sports, car and videogame culture over. However, the truth is that feminism is repellent to a lot of men for that reason, which sometimes makes it difficult to be a man and a feminist. Fortunately, there is one thing that has always been revered more than patriarchal power structures.

Money is the primary tool of the male feminist. Your economic footprint can reflect that you are tired of the objectification of women and that you will not have the things you enjoy ruined by it. The information age has given us all access to whatever media we want, and now more than ever we can be choosy and confident about it. There will still be people who feel rage at the very mention of feminism, but like any successful activist movement, feminism will be one that relies on action.

More than ever, that action is simple, even easy. Do you like strong female characters? How about regular female characters that aren’t a caricature of women in general? Well, there are people out there greedy enough to flood the market with them if we provide enough demand. Even better, by not watching media that does objectify women, your vote is cast against it in the market. As for anyone who thinks that feminism is “girly,” it isn’t too late to make confidence in oneself a part of the male identity moving forward.

Julian del Prado is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    Genghis KhanMar 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I will absolutely agree that porn (as an extreme example) is degrading to women, and contributes to the sexual objectification of women.

    Ironically, it is pro-porn women (like that Duke university porn star) who claim that being used and degraded on camera is “empowering”, and that slutting around collecting notches in their conquest belt through hookups, that results in men regarding women as nothing more than f*ckbags.

    When you get the milk for free, why buy the cow?