Feminism | Posted by Bryan N on 12/26/2011

Why I’m So Passionate About Women’s Rights

a message from a male feminist

a message from a male feminist

People often ask me why, as a man, I am so passionate about women’s rights. The answer is that I got into women’s rights because I have seen so many women put through so many horrible things. There is so much that women go through that most men don’t have to worry about.

I have dated survivors of abuse and sexual violence. I have many friends who are survivors of assault. I have seen the way it destroys their lives. Almost every girl I know has been cat called and verbally harassed on the street. Almost every girl I know feels or has felt ugly because of the media and society setting impossible standards of beauty. It hurts me seeing such naturally beautiful women constantly feel fat and ugly. Some of my friends have even resorted to starving themselves. I have listened to my female friends talk about all the safety measures they take when they go out to make sure nothing bad happens to them: they walk in pairs, they don’t leave drinks out of sight in case something is slipped into it, etc. I don’t believe that society should be this way.

In Massachusetts, the government slashed funding to rape kits and rape crisis centers. Not all schools even have rape crisis centers. In Kansas, there was talk of decriminalizing domestic violence in order to save money. Women are told that if they have sex a lot or dress a certain way then they were asking for it and should somehow take the blame. I could repeat countless stories I have followed where women take blame for sexual violence. This shit has to stop.

It is up to all of us, men and women, to fight sexism where ever we see it, as well as fighting the system of capitalism which systematically oppresses women. I see it as my duty as a man to challenge this system of sexism. I see it as my duty to reach out to men and let them know that real men join in the fight against sexism and women’s oppression. Real men refuse to cat call, verbally harass, abuse or rape women. Real men challenge what society teaches us about manhood. We have to break free from the notions that manhood means being tough, insensitive, violent, and sexist. This combination inevitably leads to violence against women. We have to reach out to men and change this, as well as get rid of everything, such as the media, that teaches these notions.

I am a firm believer that if we all work together we can end oppression. I encourage every man to join in the struggle with me. I know it can be scary sometimes to call people out when they do something sexist. You might be afraid that it will cause a conflict, that maybe that person will beat you up. More often than not, though, that person will think twice about it, even if only a little bit. Don’t be afraid. Men and women must join hands in the fight. Together we can make a better world possible. Women’s rights issues are men’s issues too because the oppression of women doesn’t benefit men, it harms all of us. That is why I am a women’s rights activist.

Please join me in the fight to end sexism and misogyny.

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  • Ashley @ at 11:09 am, December 26th, 2011

    Wow, thank you for sharing your story. It’s always nice to hear a man’s point of view.

  • Ariel @ at 2:57 pm, December 26th, 2011

    Ditto to Ashley.

    Also thank you for working with women, actually getting it and doing something about it. Generally being active towards womens right. And thank you women for doing everything you have done too.

  • Emma E @ at 5:29 pm, December 26th, 2011

    You, my friend, rock. I wish I knew more guys like you. Also wish you would become friends with my brother :/ who is turning into, not a misognist exactly, but some of the things he says are starting to bother me.

    But anyway. This post makes me smile. :) So happy belated Christmas, Hanukkuh, Kwanzaa, etc, etc, everybody!

  • Cara @ at 8:52 pm, December 26th, 2011

    This is awesome! We need more people like you!

  • jasmine @ at 3:48 pm, December 28th, 2011

    THANK YOU soo much this post makes me so happy. as a fellow feminist and a 17 year old girl who has seen how lots of boys my age act:( i thank you! have a great new year.

  • Matt SS @ at 6:14 pm, December 28th, 2011

    Since you are a male feminist I was wondering what your position on Schwizzy is?

  • Katherine C. @ at 9:33 pm, January 4th, 2012

    :D This made me smile so much. Thank you for not only listening to the women in your life, but for paying attention to the world around you and drawing your own conclusions.

  • Claire @ at 10:39 pm, January 7th, 2012

    Bryan, it is always great to see men passionate about equality and feminism. Keep up the activism! :)

  • Laura C. @ at 10:47 am, January 11th, 2012

    Bryan, you are awesome! I hope to read more of what you have to say :D have a happy new year!

  • Merlin @ at 7:34 am, February 29th, 2012

    Absolutely wicked article, I’ll share it around a bit. It’s nice being reminded that there are other men out there who support the cause rather than belittle it and anybody who espouses it.

  • Maya @ at 2:43 pm, June 6th, 2012

    Amen to that! More guys need to know about this, and see women the way you do. It’s good to know that we’ve got a few men in the know and at our back. :)

  • Elizabeth @ at 3:05 am, June 7th, 2012

    Great essay, but I’m going to do it, cause you said we should; I’m calling you out.

    When you were talking about your own group of female friends, you referred to them as “girls” twice in a row.

    The thing is, the problems you mentioned…they are dealing with as adults, and it’s all, at times, pretty stressful. They deserve to be thought of and referred to as women, adult, self-realized women.

    Thanks, and keep up your passionate feminism, we need you!

  • Bryan Newman @ at 9:33 pm, July 3rd, 2012

    Thanks for the comments everyone. @Elizabeth Thank you for pointing that out to me. I will think about that in the future and any disrespect was unintentional. I guess when I was writing it the word girl first came to mind because I was thinking back to high school a lot and a bit of the people that I was close to that were going through it were 14 15 or 16 years old. In the future I will use the term woman instead of girl. Thanks for the feedback.

  • - @ at 4:49 am, August 17th, 2012

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  • Tess MacGregor @ at 10:07 am, January 20th, 2016

    Started crying when I read this. It’s so nice to hear how passionately a man cares about women’s rights. I didn’t call out my (male) friends the other day when they made an inappropriate joke and it’s a huge regret! We have to stand together and, like this feminist said, call out even those who we love, when they cross the line into sexism and misogyny. So YEAH A BIG APPRECIATION POST AND THUMBS UP FOR THIS POST!

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