Guys need to say the F-word

Beware, I’m going to use the F-word a lot in this piece. I’m just saying you’ve been warned. So here it goes, I am a feminist.

That probably wasn’t the F-word you were expecting and while it might be disappointing to some, today I am going to talk about feminism.

Ever since I was old enough to form my own ideas I have considered myself a feminist. It only seemed natural to me. I knew that my sisters and I were as worthy as any of our male counterparts and that we should not be viewed as less worthy solely because of our gender.
Everyone in my family, my dad included, are proud feminists. I emphasize my dad because throughout high school, I have realized how rare it is to find guys who openly identify as feminists.

I want to clarify one crucial notion before I continue though, I am not bashing guys.
This is not a hate piece where I claim that all men are trash or that all men are to blame for sexism. Those are not my beliefs. There are good men out there who routinely help combat societal gender roles, and I believe there could be so many more if they were included in the discussion.

Society has many systems that routinely work to oppress women and while we don’t discuss them often, there are systems that oppress men as well.

Too frequently, we cast feminism aside and simply view it as a woman’s issue. But feminism advocates for gender equality, meaning that it is beneficial to all people. While feminism fights for equal pay and for women to be able to wear whatever they would like, it also fights for men to be able to express their emotions without shame or judgment.

But since feminism is viewed as a woman’s issue, many people don’t see the need to include men. While that might seem odd, it happens every single day.

I am a member of Girl Up, a club which fights to bring things like health care and education to girls in developing countries. Since Girl Up was founded at New Trier, we have struggled with getting guys to come to club.

I have also been a member of UNICEF club, which usually has equal male and female members. UNICEF and Girl Up have many similarities. They both work to provide healthcare, education, and safety to people in developing countries. The major difference is UNICEF focuses on children, while Girl Up focuses on girls.

So I know there are boys who are interested and want to support Girl Up’s message. Yet it is still difficult to find guys to come to Girl Up or openly support feminist issues, and I believe a large part of this is because they are not included in the discussion.

Take the recent Bright Pink assembly which was only for girl adviseries. While male breast cancer is rare, it is possible, and even if they don’t experience breast cancer, it is likely that someone close to them will. The assembly wasn’t just beneficial to girls, but since it was discussing breast cancer guys weren’t even invited.

Additionally, there was initial hesitation from the administration to let Girl Up go to male adviseries for our Period Product Drive. While we were eventually able to go into all adviseries, this reflects how our culture often doesn’t think it is necessary to have men involved in these discussions.

It’s no wonder guys are detered from feminism when they only see girls in the conversation.
I know many people have been advocating for the need to include boys in these conversations, but we can’t do it alone. It is much more convincing if they advocate for these topics rather than girls claiming there are guys who are interested.

So men, say the F-word and say it loudly, and if you are interested in advocating for these rights come to room W306 after school on Tuesdays.