Feminism: A view from the opposite sex

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One afternoon in October of 2011, I was reading my cultural anthropology book for the introductory course here at Marshall.

This was my second year of college, so I wasn’t yet aware that most students don’t even crack open the textbook. I would rather have been doing at least seven thousand other things (the XBOX controller seemed to be taunting me), but I’m happy I stayed with the chapter.

I can’t remember exactly what the book said, because I later sold the book, but it first introduced me to the fact that men can also be considered feminists.

To some, this might not exactly be a revelation. But to someone from a very conservative section of Southern West Virginia, this seemed crazy. After all, aren’t feminists women?

I put down the book and just sat and thought in my dorm room. After a few minutes, I spoke aloud in the empty room: “I guess I’m a feminist.”

It’s understandable that this self-identification isn’t always met with support or understanding. In the next months, I found myself mentioning it to my male friends during our lunchtime discussions. The comments more often than not seemed to draw some weird looks and a lack of comprehension. Not that it mattered.

I’ve also encountered a few women who think it’s sexist for a man to call himself a feminist. While I understand their viewpoint, I hope that most women can appreciate that I don’t think women need men to enact social justice. I’m just a believer in women’s causes and want to help in any small way I can.

Before I go any further, it’s important to clarify one aspect of this worldview. As a man, I understand that I can truly have no exact knowledge of the plight most women face in everyday life. Even my sympathetic eye does not present an unvarnished view, because after all I am living life as a member of the opposite sex.

In many ways, what shaped this worldview for me was growing up around strong women. My mother has an incredible work-ethic and so did my grandmother. When I first found out from my mom that women often didn’t earn equal pay with men, I was appalled.

This is in no way a political discussion, but it just doesn’t seem right in the twenty-first century that women would still be paid less than men for the exact same job.

So, in conclusion, I don’t view myself as a radical. After all, many men consider themselves to be feminists. I just believe in standing up for what I think is right.

It’s way past time that women be granted the full rights they deserve.

Kyle Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]

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