Feminism in one form or another has existed for centuries.
There are still many supporters of feminism nowadays, regardless of the gender differences and fight for gender equality.
For example, the #MeToo Movement that revealed inequality in the entertainment industries in 2017, and the recent Atlanta spa shooting unveil not only the racial issues facing the Asian community in America, but also the issue facing women who happen to be Asian.
However, while there are many improvements in gender equality issues for females, and people’s attention primarily focuses on women, for some men their rights are now experiencing a downhill slide.
In 2017, a man in Shandong was sexually harassed by a woman on a bus, but eventually found there was no law to sentence the woman in China.
The law specifies that only “females” can be sexually harassed and assaulted.
It is not only in China that such one-sided laws exist.
Taiwan, a relatively open society among Asian countries, also witnessed gender inequality in the past – against men.
In 2013, the Ministry of Education in Taiwan entrusted the National Academy for Educational Research to make a video based on a true event called “If I only knew men could be sexually assaulted” to promote the concept of gender equality.
The video went viral, not because of its educational value, but instead because it was seen as a subject to make fun of.
Many people around the world still believe in the stereotypes that have been shaped over thousands of years.
And as time goes by, according to the feminist writer Sarah Rich, “While society is chipping away at giving girls broader access to life’s possibilities, it isn’t presenting boys with a full continuum of how they can be in the world.”
So the world is giving a chance for females to be themselves, but what about males?
Or even other genders?
As a man myself, and thinking like many of my friends, is society telling men what to do and who we should become?
Parents will tell their male children to be “strong” and “tough”, but not “sensitive” and “caring”.
In addition, girls being “manly” is now something to be encouraged and praised, but it is humiliating and disgusting for boys to be “girly”.
The news in February reported that the Beijing government is trying to force police to prevent male teenagers from being “feminized”, and even announced a list of male celebrities that should be more “masculine”.
Although afterwards the government explained that “masculine” does not mean behaving like a man, this still gives rise to many different public opinions.
Why can’t males be vulnerable and caring?
Why must we be masculine?
Why are we meant to be the men the public want us to be?
I have received many complaints in researching this piece.
Including myself, we are all – as men – the victims of such stereotypes expected of men.
For example, as an English major college student, I did try to earn some money as a tutor by teaching English.
Nevertheless, parents always emphasize “female only” when looking for a tutor for their kids, because males are seen “dangerous”, “reckless”, and perhaps with “sordid intentions”.
On the contrary, females are gentler, kinder… and so on.
Even if the law clearly states that there shall be no discrimination based upon gender, religion, race… in private we still face many restrictions.
Data shows that from 1979, to 2013, males’ salary levels decreased 21% while females’ salary levels increased 3% in real terms in America.
Due to the industrial revolution that replaced men with technology, men that labored lost their jobs, while females changed their careers into nursing and childcare fields.
Men cannot get into these fields as we face stereotypical expectations and restrictions in every kind of career.
Opponents will of course say that feminism is crucial since women have been suppressed for much of human history, but does that make it fair for men to be neglected – by just focusing on the females’ rights?
Men deserve gender equality as well.
Emma Watson, speaking at the United Nations said, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.”
No matter what your genders are, don’t let the public and societies identify who you are and what you should do.
It is YOU who should identify yourself.
Let us create a world that embraces all genders, a world without stereotypes, and discrimination, but one full of love.