The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Our boys deserve better

There are many preconceived notions formed about feminism. Some hate it, many see its value, but many miss the key goal of the belief: equality for all genders.
Feminism is not about females rising above men, it is about equality in all areas. While women are still fighting to obtain equal legal rights, it is important to remember in many ways men are confined to stereotypes surrounding masculinity just as much as women are limited to traditional ideas about femininity.
I understand how it is easy to believe men lead full and happy lives with their male privilege to ride on, but what we do not see is the emotional vulnerability and anxiety arising from the misconceptions of what it truly means to be “masculine.”
Jessica Lovejoy of the Huffington Post explains how men are not encouraged to practice self-love and embrace their differences in the media as their female counterparts.
“We have our own plus-size models and clothing stores that cater from size 14 upward, and even chain stores carry plus-size clothing. The fuller-figured gentleman does not have this luxury. You will almost never see a heavyset lumberjack-esque man gracing the cover of a clothing catalogue. Or a fashion magazine. Or an in-store poster,” Lovejoy stated.
I can say from personal experience, seeing all body types in advertisements can positively impact how you view yourself. Just as most women are not thin, busty and long-legged, not all men resemble Michelangelo’s chiseled-to-perfection David.
To make matters worse, if men have any worries about topics such as this, they will not speak out. While women are encouraged to embrace their uniqueness through marketing like Dove’s “Real Beauty,” “Always” and “#likeagirl” campaigns, this leaves out many men who were taught being emotional and talking about their feelings means they are weak and voiceless.
Michael Ian Black of The New York Times believes some men who bottle up their feelings for fear of seeming weak are prompted to engage in acts of violence, both on a small and large scale.
“And so the man who feels lost but wishes to preserve his fully masculine self has only two choices: withdrawal or rage. We’ve seen what withdrawal and rage have the potential to do. School shootings are only the most public of tragedies. Others, on a smaller scale, take place across the country daily; another commonality among shooters is a history of abuse toward women,” Black says.
Furthermore, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are 3.53 times more likely to commit suicide. Whether a reason for this phenomenon is a feeling of inability to express feelings or not, it would seem to be a sound cause.
As long as there are issues surrounding freedom of expression, feminism is still relevant. One must first love themselves to love others, so it is crucial to advocate body-positivity for all. Strength, regardless of gender, should not be weighed in how well one can withhold their feelings; and antiquated gender stereotypes of men as the emotionless and women as overly-so should be forgotten.
If our society focuses more on acceptance rather than dividing for reasons of political or religious beliefs, the world may be a less violent and cynical atmosphere.
I do not want my children growing up in a world where they feel as if they do not belong or feel as if they should not express themselves, so why would I adhere to or compel another to cling to close-minded and archaic ideas of gender?
Be a feminist and stand for equality and the freedom to be yourself.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Our boys deserve better