I used to be an absolute feminist. Every cause, I supported. Every fight, I fought. But there came a point where it all changed. It was when I realized that some of the issues that (a specific group of) feminists are fighting for are extremely unfair and sometimes emasculating. And if I am a self-respecting man, why should I have to stand for it just so that I don’t appear like a chauvinist?
As a man, it is easy to feel obligated to be part of the feminist movement. I suppose it is the gender equivalent of “white guilt”, except that I’m an Indian man and know nothing about that. But at some point, I have to draw the line between what is worth fighting for and what is just simply offensive when it comes to the feminist agenda.
I recently attended a seminar on gender equality. It was incredibly fascinating and heartbreaking to hear women from different parts of the world share similar experiences of discrimination. These experiences include the glass ceiling, equal pay, equal opportunities, sexism and oppression of women in terribly backward cultures. And while we are all unanimous about the need to eradicate this injustice, we are divided on what the new status quo should be.
But before I continue, I want to be clear that I’m NOT talking about every feminist. My problem is only with a small group of feminists that have unreasonable demands but claim to speak for every woman. And because they dominate the media, the world is left thinking that this is the true image of feminism, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
One unreasonable demand is the issue of equal pay. How can they just simply demand a woman be allowed equal pay for every job, especially when it comes to physical performance? I always hear the argument that female athletes soldiers should be paid the same amount as men. And while I am all for equal pay, I disagree with this sense of entitlement that certain women feel to justify their claim to equal pay.
When it comes to sports for example, athletes are paid based on their performance. So why should women be allowed the same wages if their performance is not always equal to that of men. Why should Rafael Nadal or Usain Bolt get paid the same as Serena Williams or Shelly Ann Frasier-Price just because there is a need for gender equality? Supply and demand shows that the audience is more attracted to the male athletes because the intensity of their performances slightly edge that of the females, and thus it is more exciting to watch.
If they believe this argument to be legitimate, then not only should females be paid the same, but handicapped athletes, student athletes, and elderly athletes should all get paid the same to eliminate discrimination. Because according to some feminists, we should not discriminate solely based on our physical abilities. For me, the term discrimination is used very loosely here just to support a woman’s claim to equality.
It doesn’t matter whether we are men or women, we are supposed to be paid based on our performance. If men and women can perform at the same level, then they are paid the same. If a man performs worse, he should be paid less. And that is what we should all be fighting for. There shouldn’t be any sense of entitlement here from either gender.
And if I were to push further, and based on this argument on equality in spite of ability (or lack thereof), why should women and children be the first to be rescued? Aren’t we discriminating against the men? If women want the same advantages, they should be susceptible to the same disadvantages as well, right?
And the next time a woman physically abuses a man; they should be just as liable to the maximum sentence in the court of law, because if the roles were reversed, hellfire and brimstone would rain on the man. He would be tried to the fullest extent of the law, and of public opinion. And it would be discriminatory if women were not punished just as severely as men based on their physical limitation to inflict damage. If the intent was there, the punishment should be the same.
Of course I need to point out that this is mostly true of many developed countries, but not for the rest of the world. In many developed countries, the law favors the women. But I think we all know that that is hardly ever the case in developing countries.
If these women want equality, and not just cherry-picking, they have to be willing to accept the disadvantages as much as the advantages. And what self-respecting man is going to stand for that? If you don’t want men to dominate you, what makes you think we want you to dominate us?
Some of you might think that as much as I say I am feminist, I’m really just a chauvinist and perhaps even misogynist. But think what you will of me. I can confidently say that I am neither. I simply have NO time for selective feminism. It is emasculating and not much different from the men who want dominance. We have to work together, not try to control the each other.
When I bring this issue up, many women give me the excuse that I don’t know what its like to be a woman fighting this uphill battle for equality. And yes they’re right. I’m not a woman. But I am from a minority race. And I’ve been subjected to many forms of discrimination that have hindered me in some way or another. So I am familiar with this battle for equality.
I would be the first to admit that we as men have such a long way to go in learning how to respect women. On some level, as much as I hate to admit it, I have a lot of learning to do as well. But with regards to the feminist movement, don’t let a select group of unreasonable feminists ruin the image of a necessary cause. It is a giant brick wall standing in the way of progress, where we should be making a real change together.