There is no logic to feminism.
First they ask us to believe that gender is a social construct; that men and women are exactly the same. But then they want us to encourage women to act more like men — because men hold all the power and women want it for themselves. And now, according to this op-ed in Harper’s Bazaar, we’re supposed to encourage men to act more like women so that femininity is held in higher esteem. Supposedly we’ll all meet in the middle someday, having constructed the construct that gender is a social construct.
Jennifer Wright, who authored the piece in Harper’s Bazaar, writes “[W]e’re still living in a world where the feminine is seen as inferior to masculine.”
We are? For proof, she offers hypothetical quotes: “‘You’re like a guy, you’re not like other girls.’ ‘You can hang with the boys.’ ‘You’re able to have sex like a dude.’” (That’s literally a bunch of dialogue you made up, Jennifer, and yet none are examples of seeing feminine as “inferior” — just as “not masculine.”)
Wright then makes the point that women receive positive feedback for doing masculine things (like wearing football jerseys and having casual sex) but men get negative feedback for doing feminine things (like watching Sex and the City and dressing up like Princess Leia). “If there is anything out there that women seem to enjoy,” Wright says, “rest assured, it will be mocked.”
Wright’s logic is impossible to untangle. On the one hand, she — rather refreshingly — acknowledges that men and women have different interests, priorities, and needs (things “women seem to enjoy”). On the other hand, she’s suggesting that men should behave as if they are not different from women … to prove that women, who must not be different from men, are great. And on the other hand (whatever, she has three hands now, that’s not even close to the most confusing thing she has going on), she says men would benefit from acting like women — who are not different from men — because “rejection of all things feminine isn’t born into boys.” In other words, gender is a social construct but feminine and masculine are real. (I have a headache.)
In all seriousness, though (sometimes I take feminists seriously just to practice my serious face), let’s assume that Wright’s basic premise is true: men get mocked more for acting like women than women do for acting like men. I think there actually is truth in that. But what if the solution is not encouraging men to act like women, but encouraging women to stop acting like men?
If, as Wright says, women are acting like men to be as powerful as men are, and if, as Wright also says, men and women are inherently different, then feminists have been going about this all wrong.
We shouldn’t be looking to give men a handicap — as in “men, you have to act like women so everything will be fair, okay?” — we should be looking for equal value for our difference. Women, with all their feminine traits on full display, ought to be just as inherently valuable to society as men are. Which is different (for all you feminists following along at home) from saying that men and women ought to be the same.
If women want to do traditionally masculine things and men want to do traditionally feminine things, they ought to be able to do them. By the same token, women who want to do traditionally feminine things and men who want to do traditionally masculine things should be allowed to do that. And since masculine things are masculine and feminine things are feminine, we’re much more likely to encounter men who want to be masculine and women who want to be feminine than the other way around.
The trick is in understanding that it’s okay to be a masculine man or a feminine woman. Desirable, even.
But when you acknowledge that men and women are different, then you must also acknowledge that their value to society is different, too. So “proud, empowered” women might look like homemakers, and “non-toxic” men might look like breadwinners. If gender isn’t a social construct (which it isn’t), and neither gender is inherently better than the other (they aren’t), then men acting like men and women acting like women is going to be the norm.
That’s just logic. Wright is wrong — which is pretty much feminism in a nutshell.