Category Archives: Men for Feminism

The Manspread: The Bane of Working Women

By Sabrina Schnurr

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.58.20 PM

Manspreading: “the practice in which a man adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat.”

This behavior – most commonly spotted on public transportation – is often attributed to a man’s “intrinsic need” to assert his authority and subsequently undermine a woman’s space. The prominence of manspreading on transportation in big cities poses a daily struggle for professional women on their way to and from work, and the newly noticed trend has attracted attention all over the internet and new sources.

Spinal neurosurgeon John Sutcliffe explains that the art of manspreading could in fact be a matter of physicality, rather than sheer egotism. Sutcliffe states that the “overall width of the pelvis is relatively greater in females and the angle of the femoral neck is more acute. These factors could play a role in making a position of sitting with the knees close together less comfortable in men.” He also suggests that most men “adopt the more spread posture”to avoid testicular compression from the thigh muscles.

I call bullshit.

While this is biologically true, humans – as an advanced species – have the ability and willpower to exhibit behavior that overcomes historically biological instincts. Men have the brain capacity to notice how much space they are unfairly consuming and to make a rational decision that would equally benefit those around him.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.58.31 PM

Spain’s capital has recently taken a stand against manspreading: Madrid’s Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) has installed new signs in all of its vehicles reminding transport users to “maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board.”  These signs serve as a visible warning that assuming bothersome seating positions is prohibited in the city’s transport system. The move comes after months of campaigning by women in Madrid led by the group Mujeres en Lucha.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.58.57 PM

A similar movement has grown in the transportation system of NYC, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled public service ads that encourage men to occupy only one seat in subway cars. However, whether or not they will pay mind to the new ads is a whole other question. The ads have, of course, received criticism from many subway riders; a 20 year old man recently made comments declaring he’s not going to “cross my legs like ladies do. I’m going to sit how I want to sit … I’d just laugh at the ad and hope that someone graffitis over it.”

While I think that enacting a law to force men to sit courteously seems a bit extreme, it is quite upsetting that it has been deemed necessary. Once again, we are policing behavior with the wrong mindset; is it too much to ask for men to simply take up one seat? This is yet another example of our failure to raise our children to think civilly and merely respect the women around us.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 3.59.15 PM

On the flip side, Mic released a video showing what happens when a woman manspreads on the New York subway; blog editor Elizabeth Plank wanted to see the reactions when a woman spread her legs in the same manner as men in public. Her male coworker, Nick, tagged along. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth attracted notably more glares from the men compared to Nick, who received very little.  While virtually no one noticed Nick’s manspreading, Elizabeth was made to feel uncomfortable and even shamed in her chosen posture. Nick – whose behavior was seen as just something that guys do – had to move only when people directly and repeatedly asked him to, whereas Elizabeth’s behavior was seen as both rude and unladylike.

How do these misogynistic and bigoted standards persist in an “evolved” society? While women continue to make strides in prominent areas through activism, how do we – as a society – go about shaping the minor habits of men that have drastic impacts on the minds of young girls and the women they grow up to be?

For starters, we must remember and defend our right to space. Although it is easier said than done, women need to protect our right to travel to and from work in the same manner as men. And we must recruit men that share in this belief.

 

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/manspreading-scientific-explanation-revealed-men-behaviour-public-transport-etiquette-a7862771.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/mandspreading-madrid-spain-ban-public-transport-bus-metro-behaviour-etiquette-a7779041.html

Why I Am a Feminist

Benedict_cumberbatch_is_a_feminist_and_you_should_be_too-e1463075272796

by Priest Gooding

Last night, I was at a café with friends; at some point during our otherwise innocuous conversations, the differences between men and women were brought up, After I gave my opinion (which certainly was not unexpected by those who have heard me discuss the issue before), one of my friends looked at me and said with a tone of surprise and disgust: “You’re a feminist?” Continue reading Why I Am a Feminist

Appearance Does Not Define a Woman

By Kelsie Merrick

There is a universal theory amongst our society that the reason for fewer women running for political office is family concerns and responsibilities. In 2011, a study was conducted that surveyed a national random sample of men and women who were deemed “equally credentialed” in the four fields where political candidates commonly emerge. These are law, business, education, and politics. 62 percent of the men questioned admitted to having considered running for office whereas, only 45 percent of women had considered running for office. Jennifer Lawless, a director for the Women and Politics Institute at American University, analyzed this data and realized that family structure or family roles did not account for the 17 percent gap. She believes that “women are less likely to be encouraged to run and less likely to be considered as a potential candidate when a position opens up.” The negative self-perception and self-doubt among women is also a factor behind why they are not as involved in office races because of the scrutiny women are under once they enter the political field.

In the United States, during elections there is a tremendous problem with the media and the difference between how they judge female politicians in comparison to male politicians. When it comes to women, “media exposure is often belittling and irrelevant because newspapers and television newscasts focus on appearance and attire, rather than the candidate’s platform or attitudes about central issues.” Female politicians are acknowledged by their gender then by whether they can handle raising a family and being a politician at the same time as well as on their mothering styles. Then after the media is finished analyzing them on these two subjects, politics become the main focus. Men, on the other hand, are never questioned about their masculinity or family roles; they are immediately questioned about politics.

Two well-known female politicians that have had to endure the media’s crude comments are Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. They both ran during the 2008 presidential election and the media had a field day with sexist comments.

For Sarah Palin, there were plenty of topics for the media to critic her on while she was Governor of Alaska such as her defeat with big oil companies. Unfortunately, instead, she was “glorified over her participation in beauty pageants and cheerleading.” For this reason, the media immediately dismissed her as a serious candidate and continued to focus on her appearance, lack of seriousness, or lack of experience. She was also persecuted for her role as a mother. Palin, a mother of five with one child having special needs, “was constantly questioned if she would be able to devote enough time to the Vice-Presidency.” However, if she were to be a dedicated Vice-President, she then would have been labeled as a bad mother. Her credibility of a Vice-Presidential candidate was questioned even more when her seventeen-year-old daughter became pregnant. If a male candidate’s young daughter became pregnant, it is very unlikely that the media would have broadcasted it as much as they did with Palin.

Sarah Palin’s fellow female candidate during the 2008 race was Hillary Clinton. Unlike Palin, Clinton had an “impressive resume and strong qualities” but the media still “labeled her as old, worn down, and significantly less sex appeal than Palin.” Yet again, the media chose to focus on Clinton’s appearance rather than the extensive experience in politics she had. The media created a dynamic between the two women where Palin was the pretty candidate and Clinton was the powerful, manly candidate due to her “pantsuits and stout stature.” Clinton had to deal with comments about her “body, cleavage, choice of pantsuits, and speculation about cosmetic surgery.” Because of the continuous inappropriate attacks on her appearance and mannerisms, the public seldom saw any media coverage that was about her intelligence, experience or policies. Hillary Clinton being a Presidential candidate for the upcoming election has had to endure the same inappropriate critics she experienced in 2008. In April, Chelsea Clinton became a mother and this “set off speculation that being a grandmother would affect Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions” but Joe Biden, a man with five grandchildren, never once was asked about how it would affect his possible Presidential ambitions.

An article in the Huffington Post in 2013, spoke of Johanna Dunaway, an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Mass Communication of Louisiana State University, who conducted a research study that proved that the media covers female candidates running for office differently than men running for office. The research team employed in this study collected data from 9,725 newspaper articles from the Senate and gubernatorial races in 2006 and 2008. The team then looked at if the article focused on personality traits or political issues of those running and compared between the two genders. Their findings were that:

When only male candidates were running, stories focused on character traits 6 percent of the time and political issues 55.5 percent of the time. When only female candidates were running, the stories focused on character traits 9.4 percent of the time and issues 51.7 percent of the time. And when a mix of male and female candidates were running, the articles focused on traits 10.8 percent of the time and the issues 53.1 percent of the time.

The research team concluded that when there is a female candidate in a political race, the media tends to focus more on personality traits in general with an extra focus on the female’s personality traits over the male candidate.

On Minimization as a Patriarchal Reflex

By Matthew Remski

On Facebook, I posted a brief note about starting to learn what is painfully obvious to women: patriarchy inflicts the stress of constant bodily vigilance at best and acute terror at worse.

The post took off and the comments were stunning. So many stood out, like those that reported on strategies for increasing safety in taxis. One commenter wrote that she always video-chats with a friend while she’s alone in an Uber, dropping details that signal to the driver that someone knows where they are. If men don’t know about this kind of defensive labour, they’ve got to learn.

I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?

I have to climb a mountain, forty years high, to look a little boy in the eye and tell him it’s okay to feel his pain and sorrow. To tell him it’s a good thing, actually. That it will help him learn to listen, and listening will help him let other people have their feelings as well.

 

Read the entire post here

The Ultimate Move of BU’s Lady Pilots

By Priest Gooding

It is often with reproach that Feminism is received in contemporary conversation—c, a rebuke is made against the (usually false) idea that feminism is an Unterdrücker of men. There are various self-described “meninists” and intellectuals alike who reject the idea of feminism and the pursuits of feminists, often under the aforementioned pretense; even classical feminists (those of the second-wave cloth) often meet contemporary (so-called third-wave) feminism with contention. Certainly there exist those extremes of feminism which do fall under the pretense of Unterdrücker; however, these are, as stated, extremes. Nonetheless, the very volatile environment in which feminism exists today demonstrates the need for critical and dialectical conversation. Especially if feminism wishes to achieve its ends, there must be a social discussion (indeed, such is required to define the exact ends themselves of the movement!) of feminism. Lo! This is the exact stance (or purpose) of Boston University’s “Women’s Ultimate (Lady Pilots)”and their dialectical series of “Why I Need Feminism”, which includes women and men.

15129049_1454970514532889_1703831566964836586_o.jpg

In the vein of those so-called “meninists” and anti-feminists who seem to have popularized the posting of photos on the internet which display them holding signs which state why they do not need feminism, Boston University’s “Women’s Ultimate” have begun this series by having females and males post photos in which the individual presents a sign explaining why they do need feminism. The ultimate (pardon the pun) goal of this project is, according to the group, to help “people understand the definition of the word and movement of feminism, [which] is: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women EQUAL to those of men.” It is, thus, a project dedicated to dispelling the myths of feminist oppression, as well as those extremes of feminism, the Hasserinnen, which often become the embodiment of feminism for those against the movement.

15025629_1455731877790086_7385689818472594699_o

This organization, then, represents the necessary feminist dialogue in the pursuit of defending feminism from its often misguided detractors and misguided proponents. But what are the merits of such dialogue? Not only does such a project provide a counter to the “Why I do not need feminism” proclamations, it also demonstrates an intersectionality which is often absent from the extremes of feminism—that is, it presents the ultimate goal of feminism qua itself: the equality of man and of woman. This is a meta-project, then, which demonstrates feminism qua feminism, and feminism in terms of its merits and ideals—a sure way to initiate the very necessary discussion of feminism as a movement.

15042280_1458562927506981_5635819951208485432_o.jpg

This project is a rather stunning achievement, both of feminism and of college-age feminists alike. We look to the Boston University “Women’s Ultimate” with hope that they may ignite the passion of others, and that we may begin a serious and critical discussion on feminism and all that it represents. Let us be reminded of those great words of encouragement: “To the daring belongs the future.”[1]

15123410_1458562930840314_4607404448747487995_o

[1] Attributed to Emma Goldman

Source of pictures: https://www.facebook.com/buladypilots/?fref=ts

“He For She” and the Next Step in Feminism

By Anto Rondon

“He For She” is a UN Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality, founded by UN Women with the key support of Emma Watson, Wolf Blitzer, and Simon Pegg. At Hoochie, we believe this movement, which has as its main goal underlying the important role of men in the Feminist movement, is crucial for Feminism in the 21st century, and is evidently the next step in the Feminist journey. It is clear for us that for Feminism–the conviction that men and women should be treated as equals because they are–to work, men need to take part in the movement. Not only for their wives, their daughters, their sisters, but because it is the right thing to do. 

heforshe

Photo from: https://shoreditchsisterswi.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/heforshe.gif

The Feminist man, who is indispensable for Feminism to prevail, is often undermined as nonexistent or fake. As much as Feminism is about elevating females so they reach males’ levels of opportunity and privilege, it is also about educating males to understand that this elevation is right and natural. This is why all children have to be taught that for a woman to stand up for herself or to be an equal is okay, that there is no such a thing as an inferior gender. It is not enough for a woman to know her worth, if those around her (not only the other women, but the men) do not allow her to act on that worth. Teaching our children about gender equality is teaching our children about humanity. Not only can women achieve all that men can achieve, but men can also do things that are often exclusively thought of as womanly things. 

The “He For She” campaign addresses all of this, and allows us to get involved in the gender equality issues that matter to us: education, work, violence, politics, health, and identity. “Our mission is Gender Equality. Our stories make it matter. Our actions make it real”, reads the He For She webpage, advocating for the right fight for Gender Equality: the fight that involves both the female and the male gender. 

For more on this: Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign 2014 – Official UN Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkjW9PZBRfk 

emmawatson.jpg

Twit pic @VanityFair