Thoughts From a Fellow Traveler: Is there enough to go around?

It’s been too long since I was able to sit down and put some thoughts together. I had an idea a few weeks ago, but was never able to sculpt it into a piece I was willing to have others read. Over the last week however, I have had some interesting conversations in regard to the recent Fox News “War on Men” article. At one point the conversation began to center around the idea, as proposed in the article, that feminism is a detriment to men. Now, believe me I could probably ramble on about my reactions and counters to the article, but really, what’s the point?

This post is about an idea that crossed my mind when a question was posed about why feminism and feminist theory has been criticized by many, most of whom don’t actually have a clear understanding of feminism. In conversation, an example was brought up that essentially men have two cookies and women have one cookie: i.e. with inherent male privilege, men start off with certain unearned rights and standing in society.

Still following? With this analogy I thought about how many perceive the ideas of feminism as taking a cookie away from men and giving in part or whole to women. Leading to the notion that feminists are trying tear men and masculinity down, which has created a culture where people who agree with the general principle of gender equality, are unwilling or hesitant to identify with feminism. It has always been my understanding and belief that this is not the case. Call me crazy, but I have always believed in what I call “2 Cookie Feminism.” To me, feminism is not about evening out the gender gap by cutting men down, but by breaking down the structures and culture that create and enforce the hierarchy that currently exists.

I firmly believe that discrimination based on gender, race, class, ethnicity, ability, or any intersection thereof is a learned behavior; not a trait built into our DNA. Why is it so hard to just take another cookie out of the package? At the very basic, fundamental level, I believe that feminism allows men, women, and people of all identities, to be the best possible version of themselves. People who do not seek gain by reducing others, but on the basis of their own merits.

How realistic is this “2 Cookie Feminism?” That’s for people with more experience and intelligence than me to decide I suppose. What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.

Feel free to contact Paul with any questions, suggestions, or comments by email (paang@syr.edu) or follow Paul on Twitter (@PaulAng44)

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