Look at the photo below.
For some reason, Instagram thought that I would be really interested in this image. Maybe because the person who posted it included #feminism, which I occasionally include with my posts as well.
I'm argumentative by nature, so when I saw this I couldn't help but comment. The issue that I took with the caption is that clearly, both people are victims of rape. Feminism is about equality between the sexes, and that includes tearing down harmful stereotypes towards men. The original poster, under the delightful username @deathtofeminism, then said that feminism used to be important, but now it's useless and terrible and blah blah blah.
Since they didn't actually respond to what I said, I replied that they had moved the goal posts, and that if they wanted to have a conversation about gender and sex and stereotypes, I was there for that, but if all they were looking for was an echo chamber, I hoped they'd have fun with that.
Should I be surprised that I was told to go fuck myself? Or that I was told using the words "logical" and "feminism" in a sentence together was an oxymoron? I guess not, but nonetheless, it surprised me. I'm pretty used to soft misogyny - people telling me, but not the grim faced guy that sits next to me at work, to smile; people who react with surprise when I mention that my boyfriend also does a fair amount of housework - but I very rarely encounter people who just straight up think feminism is a scourge upon the earth.
The real shame here is that this image should spark a conversation. There are a lot of ways in which men lose out because of gender stereotypes. A male teacher who takes advantage of a female student is generally viewed, rightly, as a predator; when the same thing happens with a female teacher and a male student, the response tends to be more along the lines of a high five. A drunk man is no more able to consent than a drunk woman. That doesn't change that fact that predators often use alcohol to lower the defenses of women in order to take advantage of them (which, in turn, does not mean that women should be kept away from alcohol in order to keep them safe), but it does mean that the conversation is more nuanced than it's allowed to be sometimes. If two people who are both blackout drunk have sex, and both of them feel like they've been taken advantage of the next day, who do you hold accountable? Do we just assume that the guy is always down for sex and must have taken advantage of the woman? But if we do that, doesn't that play into the old stereotype that men always want sex and women just want to keep it from them?
After our conversation, either they deleted the post and now I'm remembering the name of the account wrong, or they straight up took down the account. Either way, I think it's kind of a shame when someone brings up a potentially interesting issue, and then shuts down all conversation about it because they're that scared about someone disagreeing with them.
Anyway, that's why I need feminism. I need it because there are people out there who don't understand what it is, or who willfully misinterpret it because the thought of a level playing field is just that scary to them. Either way, I feel like it's important to get to message out, and let people know what feminism really is.