!!!WARNING!!!: Strong language and poor punctuation ahead.
Lately there has been something of a shitstorm on social media around the idea of sexual equality. I've been of the opinion that assholes from both sides of the fence have sullied the questionably good name of both Men's Rights and Feminism, and that I would prefer not to be associated with either one. There is a fine line where justifiable outrage ceases to be meaningful, and instead becomes inward-gazing, shrill and masturbatory. Both of these groups have large factions that have gleefully sprinted across that line and kept going off into the sunset. Why would I want to be painted with the same brush as these people? Recently, though, events have forced me to re-evaluate how I identify in this debate.
I try to go through life treating people as I'd hope to be treated, and going under the assumption they have a working brain, regardless of where they fall on the gender scale. This doesn't mean that I think that deep down people are all the same. In my opinion they aren't, and honestly why would I want them to be? There are days when my wife tells me she feels safe in my arms, or I see a beautiful woman walk past, and I'll be grinning like an idiot for hours. A happy heterosexual male enjoying one of the perks of life. I'm not advocating for a boring world where people should hide what they are, or be ashamed of it. I want to see a world where people embrace their sexual identity, but still are able to see other people as something more than mobile sex organs, and possibly, just possibly, even treat each other with some basic fucking humanity. Just because we aren't all the same doesn't mean that we aren't all human.
Up until fairly recently, I had the mistaken opinion that my way of viewing the world was the norm, and that the dudebros and the angry militant feminists were the rare exception to the rule. I somehow convinced myself that these two groups were roughly equal and, like matter and anti-matter, they would hopefully annihilate each other in an expanding ball of internet flames, hate, and intolerance. Recent events seem to imply I was wrong. These two forces aren't equal. As a matter of fact, they are vastly unequal.
For every feminist website cheerfully calling for personal anecdotes of women beating up on their boyfriends, (looking at you Jezebel,) there are a dozen organized campaigns pandering to the douchebags who seem to think that having a penis and access to a computer gives them a free pass to be hateful, violent, shits. I'm thinking about #The Fappening, the treatment of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, and the reaction to Emma Watson's recent address to the UN #HeforShe. Because, let's face it, nothing lets the world know that you've got a rock-solid base to your motivations like invading somebody's privacy and the threat of rape and murder.
The truly nausea-inducing part of the whole thing is how many brainless fuckmuppets this has brought slinking out of the woodwork, most of whom seem to think that the ends justifies the means. Regardless of your motivation in identifying with these campaigns, or the purity of your intentions, here's the thing: Any time a group you associate with threatens to rape or kill because they disagree with somebody else's opinion, you might want to think about what side you are on because there is simply no excuse to be made. Let me say that again, just to be clear. I don`t care if you think somebody`s girlfriend boinked the entire NBA, NHL, and NFL in a bathtub of bribe money while singing, Ì`ve got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. There is no excuse.
So here I am, looking at the events of the last few months and sitting on the fence doesn't seem to be much of an option. Feminism has left a bad taste in my mouth over the years, but the outpouring of hate and entitlement on the side of these online campaigns spearheaded by men and boys has been repulsive to a degree I wouldn't have before though possible.
I have a wife, a daughter, mother and friends who should be able to receive the same respect and opportunity that I do. Hell, I have gay and transgender friends who will have to put up with bile and hate from these same dreadnought-class douche canoes. Why should I watch in silence while people I know and love are marginalized and debased because someone with a dick feels threatened?
Yes, there are women out there who hate men, and who call themselves feminists. Yes, there are times when being a man is a check mark against you, and it sucks. It should be noted though, that these kinds of feminists are the shrill minority, and the discrimination we face as men is minimal in comparison to the shit that the 50% non-male identifying part of the population has to deal with. It doesn't make it right, but neither does it change the facts. I don't agree with all of the different schools of feminism, but a majority of them seem to think that equality between the sexes is a pretty spiffy idea. So, if valuing equality makes me feminist, I guess I am. The other options are no longer anything I can live with as a man who loves women.