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Equal Rights

What has feminism ever done for men?

Except ruin razor adverts, of course.

THERE’S A FAMOUS scene in Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian‘, where Reggie, a freedom fighter in Judea, attempts to disparage the conquering Romans who have occupied the land by rhetorically asking his group ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?‘. 

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However, Reggie (played by John Cleese), becomes increasingly incensed as his supposedly rhetorical question turns out to have a lot of answers:

Reggie: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace?
Reggie: Oh, peace? SHUT UP!

So yes, this was a misleading title in the vein of the Monty Python sketch because feminism has done a lot for men.  

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But before we delve into some of the things that feminism has achieved for society, let’s define what feminism is and is not.

Let’s start at the beginning with the basics: the word feminism.

The word feminism is potentially misleading: simply because by starting with the word ‘fem’ it can seem like it’s a movement or set of opinions that are only beneficial for females.

This is not the case.

Feminism is not a movement that says that women are better than men. Nor is feminism about gaining revenge for all of the years that men were exclusively in power and created laws that said that females couldn’t be educated, could be owned as property, couldn’t vote, etc. Nor is feminism just about gaining equality between the genders: if it were simply about equality then feminism would mean we would want an equal representation of arms dealers in the world.

So what is feminism about?

To quote Kathy E. Ferguson, an American feminist political theorist, feminism is about:

‘troubl[ing] power relations, imagin[ing] better worlds, and work[ing] to achieve them’

Here’s a very brief and by no means exhaustive account of some the ways feminism has made the world a better place for all.

Imagining Better Worlds

Studies have shown that post-conflict peace is more likely to last when there is a woman present at the negotiation table. This is because, eitherfor ‘naturally’ or socially conditioned reasons, women have a different approach to or way of looking at problems.

However, regardless of what difference gender/hormones might have on brains, having women at the negotiation table makes sense. The old saying ‘two heads is better than one’ can be applied to every single part of life: the more people, the more variation in views you have, to solve a problem the more likely it is that you will arrive at a solution that is best for everyone involved. 

Men’s Health

How many times when feminism is mentioned have you heard someone rattle off that men die younger than women? Jordan Peterson is fond of using this as a statistic of why men have it as bad, if not worse, than women. However, research says that men’s health is worse in countries were there is less gender parity.

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According to the World Health Organisation:

Living in a country with gender equality benefits men’s health and shows up as lower mortality rates, higher well-being, half the risk of being depressed, higher likelihood to have protected sex, lower suicide rates and a 40% reduced risk of a violent death.

The paper concluded that it was not biological differences that led to men dying younger, but behaviours that came from societal pressures in countries with more gender inequality. Seemingly men behaved differently to women, smoking and drinking more for example, and those behaviours are linked to cultures that embrace stereotypical ideas of masculinity.

Economic Sense  

Women entering the workforce and becoming financially independent has taken pressure off of men to be the only wage earner in a family. 

Alongside this, women entering the workforce has increased GDP. In fact, Goldman Sachs estimates that ‘increasing women’s participation in the labor market to male levels will boost GDP by 21% in Italy, 19% in Spain, 16% in Japan, 9% in America, France and Germany and 8% in Britain’.

As well as helping the economy, couples who both work have lower rates of divorce and report increased martial happiness. 

masculinity Twitter / proudresister Twitter / proudresister / proudresister

Feminism shed a light on sexual assault

A man is 230 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than to be falsely accused of sexually assaulting someone else. 

Increased bonding with their children

A deep and meaningful connection with another human is one of the best things about life. Feminism has enabled and made it more socially acceptable for men to play an increasingly more important role in their children’s lives.

shutterstock_1086342926 Shutterstock / Cultura Motion Shutterstock / Cultura Motion / Cultura Motion

Feminists have campaigned actively for parental leave, and the stats say that the longer a paternity leave is the more a man will bond with their child. Today, fathers spend triple the amount of time with their kids than they did in 1965. Without feminism, this hugely enriching and rewarding part of men’s life would not exist. 

Feminist men have better sex lives 

shutterstock_1058415815 Shutterstock / David MG Shutterstock / David MG / David MG

And of course, a sexual connection with another human being is one of the best things about life so guys should be delighted to hear that research shows that men who do their fair share of housework, including childcare, report that they’re happier and have more sex.  

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