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07/11/2014 03:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Is Feminism Dangerous to Men, and the Way Society Views Men and Boys?

This question originally appeared on Quora: Is feminism dangerous to men, and the way society views men and boys?

I am concerned about an empathy gap being created.

Men serve longer sentences than women who commit similar crimes
Teaching is oriented to the way female students learn
Widespread mutilation of male babies' genitals is accepted

2014-07-11-egrimes.jpeg
Answer by Elin Grimes, Software industry

What concerns me here is the conflation of feminism and misandry. This is something I've seen around a lot, and it is just as flawed as conflating socialism with communism, or indeed, conflating your concerns about men's issues as misogyny.

Feminism is fundamentally an equal rights movement, it stands for human rights but specifically, it challenges gender stereotypes. People talk about extreme feminists being awful a lot, but I see VASTLY more "talk" of extreme feminists than I actually see of these alleged extreme feminists. Perhaps it's a matter of the circles you move in.

Interestingly, your question is a question made possible by feminism. Perhaps a few decades ago, it wouldn't have occurred to you "how society views men and boys" - feminism is the movement which first highlighted that there isn't "how men are" and "how women are", instead there is "how society thinks men should be" and "how society thinks women should be". 

Your first point is a contentious one. See this explanation Gender Bias and Punishment for a review: be it the 'Chivalry Theory' or the 'Double Deviance Theory' - stereotyping is problematic regardless. This is an aside as other answers have already addressed your three specific scenarios.

When I see people talking about men's issues, the problem is not usually feminists rejecting the issues as valid. The problem is usually the anti-feminism comments by people who assume (incorrectly) that feminism is incompatible with men's issues. This is the wrong view to take entirely. In fact, they go hand in hand, they are so firmly, so unquestionably interconnected that they MUST go hand in hand.

If you want men to be able to wear dresses with impunity, you need to get rid of the notion that there is something "inferior" about women's clothing, and hence "inferior" about women.

If you want men and women to be treated equally in the justice system, you need to treat men and women as individuals instead of as gender stereotypes conforming to preconceived ideas.

If you want more male teachers you need to get rid of the notion that traditionally female jobs like teaching are 'inferior' because they are traditionally female, and also the notion that women are naturally maternalistic, but men being good with kids is "weird" or suggestive of paedophilia.

Feminism is a win/win. There is no loser in demanding equal rights for men and women.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that men's issues are just as important as women's issues, they should never be marginalised and anyone who does so is wrong. But you're only highlighting precisely why feminism is needed: because as it stands, there isn't equality, and it needs to be addressed. They are often the same issue just from a different angle, and we need to address them together. 'Us vs Them' will not work here. Feminism isn't the enemy, gender stereotyping is.

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