“The War on Women: A Male Feminist Perspective”– J. Adam Snyder
Why does our culture hate women? While there are some deleterious aspects of our society that target men (washboard abs, have to be tall to get the girl, only “real men” hunt and act like aggressive jackasses etc….), the majority of it is targeted against women. It is never enough for females, constantly being told by our culture since early childhood that they are not pretty enough, slim enough, busty enough, light skinned enough, tan enough, blonde enough, curvaceous enough, or any other superficial quality that they feel they are thrusted to abide by in order to be someone worthy of value.
This sort of cultural policy has lead an entire gender to feel inadequate and made to suffer from body-image issues, the results of which can be severe. In some cases women develop eating disorders, either starving or vomiting themselves to death in the hopes of gaining a presented figure that is impossible as it doesn’t truly exists. Even if a woman is already thin, it’s still not enough as our culture will tell her she needs to change some other feature to be desirable. It never ends, and the sooner we recognize how asinine and dangerous these false “standards” are (for both men and women) the more empowered we as individuals will become.
It however doesn’t stop at asthetics, our culture also hates women in other facets, such as with sex. If a woman chooses to be sexually empowered, liberated, and proud of her body (something thar all individuals should be, male and female) she is often shamed as a “slut” by our culture. This includes a woman choosing to wear more revealing clothing, which is unfortunately often used to place the blame of rape on the female victim and the contents of her attire. Our culture essentially tells women that it’s wrong for them to feel sexy, yet has no issue with sexually objectifying them in the mainstream media. As long as they are seen as property and not as people, it’s fine according society.
I am by no means however suggesting that it’s wrong for women to portray themselves as sexy individuals, indeed we should all see ourselves as such. There is nothing inherently wrong with women being lap dancers or porn stars, provided that is truly what they want to do and they are treated respectfully in such industries. However too often they are not, and such women are falsely looked down upon by much of our society. Men who are sexually promiscuous or engage in the industry mentioned above are seen as being “studs” without facing the hateful judgment.
Why does our culture do this? It’s easy to control people if you make them bad about themselves as a strong, educated, and liberated woman is a threat to the old male-oriented power culture that still exists in society at large. Simple research into most major Government and Corporate establishments will reveal that they are predominantly controlled by men, white men at that who tend to be much older in age and much wealthier than the general population. This also goes for those who run the major media and fashion magazine companies.
One has to remember that for most of our history, women have been oppressed. Much of it due to religious and monetary laws. Women were property, and men could buy, sell, and marry as many as he wanted to. A man could divorce his wife (or wives) for whatever reason he wanted, leaving her with nothing but homelessness or slavery. A woman however could not divorce her husband, regardless of how he treated her. In ancient Jewish culture, according to the Law of the Bible (Old Testament) adultery was defined only if a man had sexual relations with another man’s wife, and not other women in general who were unmarried or served as sex slaves (concubines). For a woman, sexual relations with anyone aside from the man who owned her was considered adultery, and the punishment she would face for doing so (or attempting to escape from her marriage) was to face a savage form of capital punishment where she would be stoned to death. It wasn’t only impoverished peasant women who suffered under this system, women in nobility and royalty were also married off against their will, often with men who they were closely related to. All for the sake of keeping the power for the men in the establishment.
Fortunately with the rise of feminism, free thinking, body-positivity, and the sexual revolution the system started to change, although the values of the old system still remain embedded within our culture, only to a somewhat lesser degree than before. It is important to note that I am by no means blaming men as a whole for our societal’s failings, indeed for I am a man myself. I am only blaming the wealthy old white men at the top who want to keep the old system in place by passing on their harmful values onto their successors every generation to help ensure their power. Furthermore, aside from the exception of radical feminists (aka “feminazis”), the vast majority of feminists do not hate men (I happen to be a male feminist myself) and wish to create an egalitarian culture where both genders are respected and neither tries to dictate the other.
Though as the upcoming election proves, there is still a gargantuan amount of work to go in achieving that ideal utopia. With the popularity of racist and misogynistic Presidential candidates such as Donald Trump, and the Christian-right’s holy war against Planned Parenthood, the old system will die hard. The only way we can end the war on women (and to a lesser extent, the war on men) is for all of us to unite and declare that we are proud of our bodies, that beauty comes in all varieties, and that our culture has no right to try and tell us otherwise. The people should influence the culture, not the culture influencing the people.
©-J. Adam Snyder