A Conservative’s Defense of Feminism


According to Fox News's Suzanne Venker, men are now second-class citizens.

This claim and others similar to the "war on men" mantra downplay the real issues facing both men and women in our society. Men and women both face societal inequalities and mistreatment based upon gender — let's not make this about politics or striking back at the other side. Such broad claims are damaging and polarizing. I wonder how many feminists out there will reject many of the arguments made by those who claim support for the "war on men" theory. Likewise, how many men out there discount the claims made by feminists based upon the "war on women" claims?

The war is not on one specific gender or the other.

The mantras are damaging, polarizing, and distract everyone from the real problems facing each gender.

As a conservative male, I'm going to disagree with many of my cohorts out there on some of this "war on men" business. No offense to my liberal friends out there, but this kind of strategy is right out of the left's playbook: accuse the opposition of attacking some group while playing the victim.

Conservative friends, don't stoop to this level. Don't play the victim. This claim, to me, seems to be a conservative strategy to take the offense. Far too often, in politics, conservatives get bullied into corners by political correctness and end up making ridiculous claims to try and escape.

Claiming outright that there is a war on men or that men are second-class citizens draws attention away from the actual problems facing some males who have been overly attacked by some based upon their gender. If an outsider took a look around, they would see Americans claiming that there is both a war on men and women. I believe both sides dramatize and go for a shocking approach to gather media attention.

While there may not be a real "war" on men, there are certainly cases, specifically affecting fathers and defendants in sexual assault cases, where men are assumed to be guilty. If self-proclaimed feminists or others perpetuate lies or slanted evidence on male aggression in the home, then we see some serious deterioration in the rights of fathers after a separation or divorce. A true feminist ought to work to promote the rights of both genders. It just seems to be culturally accepted that men are the aggressors in many cases; this default assumption needs to end.

Feminists need to remember that their cause can be advanced without putting down men.

This notion of a "war on men" creates a "crying wolf" scenario when real issues that adversely affect men come up. We do a disservice to these cases by combating them through a use of the "war on men" claim.

If you were to take a look at "feminism" in Merriam-Webster's dictionary, you would find two definitions; 1. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and 2. organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. 

In my opinion, this makes any sane, rational person a feminist. So you needn't be out screaming "war on women" to call yourself a feminist. If you believe that men and women should be treated equally in political, economic, and social affairs — then you are, by definition, a feminist.

I will also state for the record that there are obviously places where women are distinctly disadvantaged and are treated unfairly. Likewise, these situations exist for men as well. We see issues facing both genders. Neither side is immune to societal mistreatment. The only difference is the manifestations of such mistreatment. These are the places that the second definition of feminism has solid grounds to take a more active approach. Men, too, need advocates in the places where men are more at-risk for attack. Feminists should not look down upon one who is working to combat mistreatment of men.

One of the biggest problems is the link between self-described feminists and the pro-choice proponents of abortions. There is a crucial distinction: in the eyes of the groups opposed to abortion, being anti-abortion has nothing to do with a war on women and everything to do with a belief that a fetus is a person and thus deserves the right to life. Those opposed to abortion may not care at all about what a woman chooses to do with her own body — they simply care because they believe that a person exists within that body. Screaming about women's rights and the "war on women" in this case, does very to influence the other side. As conservatives need to quit it with the "war on men" stuff, liberals need to stop accusing conservatives of hating women.

If both sides want to make progress — quit it with the mantras. They inaccurately describe the problems. If we miss the real issues at hand, the only outcome will be polarization.