Feminism is for men too. Traditionally, boys are told they shouldn’t cry, or feel scared, or show weakness in public. Women are supposed to be empathetic and nurturing, while men suppress their emotions and are “rational” and aggressive. Feminists (including male feminists) argue that strict gender norms damage men as well as women, and that in reality individuals fall on a spectrum. Feminism, accordingly, is good for men.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Hermann arguing that men and women are just different and, therefore, it would be better to accept these differences (and even foster them for the benefit of society). Is he right? Or is that just an excuse to reinforce the social construction of gender roles?

To get a response, we spoke to Jens van Tricht, the founder and director of Emancipator and author of “Why Feminism is Good For Men”. What would he say?

No, sorry, Hermann. I can agree that men and women are different, but Hermann and me are also different, and men between themselves are very different, and women between themselves are also very different. This is proven by the research reports that we get about the differences between men and women. Actually, they all state something like: we’re talking about the differences between men and women, but if we look closely there’s actually more overlap between men and women than there is difference between men and women, and the differences among men and among women are bigger than the differences between the groups. So, we should beware not to homogenise men and women as opposites and then overlooking the differences and the changeability of men and women themselves.

This discussion of biology and nature vs nurture always comes up, and I think it should not be too difficult to see how much proof there is of the differences we make as a society in how we raise children and in how we have arranged social, political, and economic orders. If we stop all that and leave nature to itself, then maybe we get a view of what differences there would be originally. John Stuart Mill wrote something centuries ago like: it is impossible to speak about the nature of women as long as we have not seen women or been able to observe women in their natural state of being. And this world is far from a natural state of being, this world is full of creation, construction, cultural influences, institutions and norms and values that have nothing to do with biological roots. That maybe claim those, but they don’t dare to let events happen themselves because they need, apparently, to put them into rules and structures and regulations and norms…

Next up, we had a comment come in from Adhayan, who believes that feminism has already accomplished everything it set out to, since women can do anything men can these days.

Is that correct? We asked Catriona Graham, who is responsible for political campaigns at the European Women’s Lobby. How would she respond?

Adhayan makes a point that we hear quite often in the European Women’s Lobby, from people who think: women have access and access equals equality. But I think we need to scratch the surface a little bit more to recognise that, first of all, not everybody does have access, but perception of access really depends on having so many different types of privilege in our lives. So, just because you can see one woman has broken through that glass ceiling and you have had a woman become the President of the EU Commission, or a head of state, or topping the polls and the charts, or earning the most money somewhere, that doesn’t equal equality. We need to have slightly better expectations than that. We need to accept that the fight will only be won when we have equal opportunities to men, when the experiences are equal, and when everybody is able to access the kind of life that they would like to…

There is a study done periodically by the European Institute for Gender Equality called the Gender Equality Index, [and] overall, if men’s experiences are one hundred percent and that’s the target, women’s experiences are still only at 67.4 %. That means that we only have two-thirds of the access that men have, across areas including access to traditional forms of power, such as political decision making; access to health services; education; the amount of work that’s unpaid in terms of, say, carework, etc…

Finally, we had a comment from Kicki, who argues that men also benefit from the achievements of feminism, as it questions not only the gender roles of women, but also men. For example, it is still often seen as “weak” or “girlish” when men admit mental problems. What does Jens van Tricht say about Kicki’s argument?

Yes, Kicki, thank you for that. And I would even say it is worse, because what is wrong with being ‘weak’’, ‘emotional’, and ‘girly’? This is proof of our humanity. So what is the problem with being human? I would like to stress here as well that feminism has been saying this all the time. Feminism is not against men, feminism is in favour of men and has been opening up spaces for men to be more themselves, to connect with their emotions, to relate with men and women and children in different ways.

I want to recall the speech at the UN in 2014 that Emma Watson gave, in which she called for men to join the movement for gender equality because they are needed for the rights of women, but also because of exactly this, that she had seen so many friends, fathers, and other men suffering from these dominant masculine norms that patriarchy dehumanises us by.

So, yes, please, let’s all embrace feminism as a movement, as an analytical tool, but also as a practical perspective on how to evolve by embracing and developing those parts in ourselves and in our collective humanity that have so long been repressed, ignored, undervalued, even judged…

Is feminism good for men? Has feminism achieved everything it set out to? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Flickr (cc) Linksjugend NRW; PORTRAIT CREDITS: van Tricht © Jelmer de Haas; Graham© Sarah Halls Photography & Videography Ltd


81 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Prodan

    Most feminist are fine, extremists are the one that give them a bad rep

  2. avatar
    Raquel

    wtf! feminism is equality. good for anyone

  3. avatar
    Pedro

    There’s those that seek equality and there’s those that want superiority.
    I support the former and disdain the later

    • avatar
      Raquel

      THIS though the later shouldn’t be called feminists. They are destroying efforts for equality.

  4. avatar
    Cristi

    Keeping the tribe fed has been harming them for tens of thousands of years. Non complained because they loved themselves and everyone else in the tribe.

  5. avatar
    Христо

    I am for gender equality. Feminism however has nothing to do with it. They fight for female domination instead of equality. Which is a lost cause. Men and women are equal in dignity and opportunities. They are not equal in many other things. Women cannot be as good as men in insuring security in the family. Men cannot be equal to women in raising children. There are brilliant exceptions of course. But they only confirm the rule. So the answer is that gender equality is good. Agressive feminism is not.

    • avatar
      Stella

      Yes, and trying to say we have no differences is silly. actually statistics show that, when women are in a first world country and have options, they choose more often, feminine jobs like secretary, teacher, or just to be a housewife. However in third world countries when women have no choice and are forced by family, or just have no money, the try to get jobs such as engineering, lawyer, or other high stress jobs which are male dominated (and with good reason). so saying feminine behavior is socially constructed gender roles is ridiculous!

    • avatar
      Stella

      the more freedom of choice women have, the more feminine the task force becomes  <3

    • avatar
      Raquel

      in any case career should be a personal choice not dictated by gender. If you think like this you are feminist.

    • avatar
      Stella

      no, i mean, women do caregiving roles while men innately do business oriented goals

    • avatar
      Raquel

      I got what you meant but you seem not have got my opinion. Nevertheless the choice should still be of each person (personal) so all the genders should have the same opportunity to do one role or another. If you think that, the career path is a personal choice and shouldn’t be dictated externally using the gender for such than you are feminist.

  6. avatar
    Liudvikas

    Feminism isn’t good at all.

  7. avatar
    Stella

    feminism is bad for men and women! get it right please!

    • avatar
      Luis

      wtf? In which way?

  8. avatar
    Jan

    Men and women are equal….
    There. Gender equality solved. Your welcome.

    • avatar
      Dawood

      Many religions give rights to women according to their religions’ dogmas

    • avatar
      Dawood

      So technically its not solved all over the world.

  9. avatar
    Michael

    I don’t see much progress in rejecting gender roles for men whether by feminists or anyone else. Feminism is also often spoken of as if homogeneous, but people identifying themselves as feminists have radically opposing viewpoints on many different subjects. Some are against prostitution, some are for it. Some are against pornography, some are for it. This makes most debates that purport to be about feminism into little more than sterile arguments over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. I think it is more productive to talk about concrete issues than about identities.
    In Spain the feminists in the government are inexplicably dogmatically opposed to life imprisonment for rapists, which has widespread public support, because they seem more concerned with being proper leftists than protecting rape victims. In the same vein, they looked the other way and preferred to talk about the price of pink razors in Paris when Kobani was surrounded by ISIS as they were afraid to be thought “islamophobic” by drawing attention to it. It doesn’t make the best of impressions and there is more than enough that warrants severe criticism.
    People and issues should be judged by individual merit, though, not stereotypes or expectations or labels – particularly labels as ambiguous as ‘feminist’.

  10. avatar
    Andrie

    Feminism is good for the human race as a whole. Feminism is about breaking stereotypes and advocating equal opportunities for all. It isn’t only about women’s rights, it’s about LGBT rights, it’s about putting an end to gender violence and it is also about liberating men from harmful stereotypical ideas of manhood (like the ‘boys don’t cry’ or ‘men should always pay the bill’ ideas) and toxic masculinity.

    • avatar
      Stella

      but the literature shows the opposite of feminist theory. Because when women are given more options on work types, they don’t go into STEM or other male dominated work, but rather more feminine work such as secretary, teacher etc. While in 3rd world countries where women have less power over their lives, their parents choose their work for them such as engineers, scientists, doctors, etc in order to feed their family.
      Thus,
      1st world countries = women have freedom of choice= they choose more feminine work
      3rd world countries = women have no/less freedom of choice, = more masculine work.

    • avatar
      Stella

      this shows that contrary to what feminists fight for, the femininity of women can not be cancelled because it is not a “gender role”

    • avatar
      Stella

      Rather, it is innate behavior… Lessons to be learned, we can’t escape reality.

    • avatar
      Ana

      where did you get the data to draw your conclusions? I thank you in advance.

    • avatar
      Stella

      Look up: The more gender equality, the fewer women in STEM on theatlantic.com

    • avatar
      Stella

      Also, “In countries with higher gender equality, women are less likely to get STEM degrees” on Weforum.org

    • avatar
      Andrie

      it’s not about anti-feminity if such a thing exists. It is about being able to embrace feminity. For instance feminism is about putting an end to gender violence so that we are able able to wear a dress and walk home at night without being harassed, it is about ending female genital mutilation so that sexual intercourse is a pleasure also for women, not a horrible ordeal, it is about excercising our right to breastfeed our children in public places when they are hungry without being forced to hide in dirty public toilets or sacrifice social/professional life for motherhood, it is about being in charge of our bodies, because our feminine bodies are ours to enjoy, not a commercial product, not someone else’s property, and definitely not a sign of weakness. And if you agree with me, congratulations, you are a feminist.

    • avatar
      Stella

      I don’t agree, so I am not a feminist. I don’t think a drunk woman should be walkin alone at night. That means she has bad friends, or doesn’t know how to handle her alcohol..

    • avatar
      Andrie

      I have female engineer friends, female doctor friends, and I am a professional scuba diver, unfortunately still a male-dominated profession. And this choice of mine was questioned so many times, because people still don’t think that a woman is able to excel in sports or work in high-risk professions. And I had to prove that my professional performance is just as good as a man’s, even though I am very small in size. I am a proud feminist. My mother was the best student of her year, but her dad could only afford to send one child to University, and he chose to send the son, even though he was a weaker student, because of the social pressure that men should be the main earner in a household. She still trained to be an accountant. I am lucky that I grew up at a time where thanks to feminists, I have a choice. So if some women choose humanities over sciences is not a bad thing, it’s about enjoying freedom of choice.

    • avatar
      Stella

      agreed though about mutilation, but thats mostly a Muslim practice in Africa.

    • avatar
      Stella

      your performance will never be as good as a mans, because your body is female, and that’s not a bad thing, because men and women are unique. Without a doubt, women can excel in sports, when competing against other women. This is why the Olympics genders categories.

    • avatar
      Stella

      i agree. Women should be free to persue their desire. But if you read the links I posted or the related literature on scientific journals it shows thst most women when they have free choice and equality, they choose feminine work.

    • avatar
      Andrie

      And eliminating the gender pay-gap, so that we can get paid the same amount as a man for doing the same job, this is also feminism. As I said before, feminism is advocating equal opportunities, so that we can have the same qualifications, the same job opportunities and the same salary as a man. Unless you are ok with being paid 25% less than a man, because this is approximately where the gender pay-gap currently stands.

    • avatar
      Andrie

      I never said drunk. I said wearing a dress, which has nothing to do with alcohol consumption, but more with our choice to wear the clothes we like. I enjoy solo travelling, (alcohol not so much but that’s irrelevant) and I want to be able to walk safely around the world, without my feminine body being seen as an easy target for assault or harassment, and without having to dress as a 16-year-old boy to go out at night. And I made that point because you said that feminism is anti-feminity, to which I replied that feminism is also about being able to embrace feminity without it being seen as a sign of weakness.

    • avatar
      Andrie

      scuba diving is more about technique than strength, but in any case, we are assessed with the same standards as men. So yes even though most of it is about technique, the framework of assessment is the same the athletic part of it such as swimming and rescue diving, and yes I have seen women outperform men in some tests. Men are by nature physically stronger but if I have to rescue someone it doesn’t matter if I am a woman, I am the rescuer. I still have to be physically able to do it, because a life depends on it, so that’s why the standards are the same for everyone. So the salary should be the same too.

    • avatar
      Stella

      but can you save an obese tall man? And your rate of pay is different? Is it because men are more likely to be able to save larger people, while women’s ability is less?

    • avatar
      Stella

      yes in theory I should be able to, which is why I have always trained with way larger “victims” than me. It is the same with lifeguards. And yes the pay should always be equal, because the duties are equal, and the time you spent at work is equal. Work experience/ relevant qualifications should be the only reasons why someone is getting paid more than someone else, definitely not gender.

    • avatar
      Stella

      in theory, but is it in actuality? I mean for example, this business has to do with physical strength so I understand. But lets say for example, 2 people apply to a customer service job, and when we apply for jobs men oftsn negotiate higher salaries. If women want to, they should step up their negotiation skills.

    • avatar
      Stella

      A salary is between the employer and employee, and if employee accepts the salary or requests it, it is the employees fault for not asking for more, women are inately more agreeable and will accept a lower salary.

    • avatar
      Andrie

      equal pay is a legal requirement in many countries, whether it is enforced or not is another question. It can definitely be enforced by law in the countries where such legislation exists, which means you can sue your employer if they don’t comply. The gender pay gap generally means that women are employed in lower-pay positions, while employers prefer men for the higher-pay positions, even if women hold the same or higher qualifications.

    • avatar
      Stella

      hmm, well it differs between private and public sector. In the private sector it is norm. In the public sector it is not.

    • avatar
      Stella

      yes, but the literature shows that women choose these, and of course there is a select few who do not, and they flourish, but most women decide to be in jobs like secretary, assistant, etc. When they live in a free, equal and western society.

    • avatar
      Stella

      well feminity is not sign as a sign of weekness, becausr femininity encompasses, compassion, agreeablness, care, etc. But sure, a womans body by nature is weaker and succumbs when against a male body, it’s just pure biological facts.

    • avatar
      Sergio

      Hear hear!

    • avatar
      Stella

      exactly! Freedom of choice shows that women love feminine jobs and men love masculine jobs. Though there are a select few that choose otherwise, especilaly in non free third world countries.
      Womens right to vote is excellent I agree, but now we have more serious issues like war, economy, sharia law, etc.
      We should focus on bigger issues. When we say women should be empowered to be big bosses, they most likely won’t choose it, so there is no wage gap, it’s a choice gap, based on gender and innateness, and free will.

  11. avatar
    Maria

    Feminism now is not good for anybody

  12. avatar
    Ana

    And who decides how to qualify feminism? Who decides what is extremist feminism and what is “acceptable” feminism?

    • avatar
      Michael

      No one in particular, it garners a general reputation on the basis of many cumulative individual assessments, like most things.

    • avatar
      Jozsef

      everybody has the right for his or her own opinion.

    • avatar
      Ana

      every opinion comes with a price: knowledge.

  13. avatar
    George

    i respect everyone’s opinion as long as they don’t try to impose theirs on me :)

  14. avatar
    Vivian

    Yes to feminism. One more -ism that has changed society so much that some people think it’s now irrelevant.

  15. avatar
    Andrea

    Feminism is inherently antiwomen. Is also against family and men in general.
    Is not for women’s legal or social equality with men.
    Ence the various pink quotas and lower physical standard for women in the army and police.
    Women and man have biological differences. These differences make them good at different things.
    Men are better at labour intense jobs. They have better upper body strength and heal better from wounds.
    Women have better biological resistance to infections. Men generally are more interested in things. Women in people.
    Ence the difference in participation in different career (when given liberty to choose) like stem and healthcare or languages.
    Feminist disagree with this basic facts, amongst others.
    They still push the gender pay gap bullshit that has been debunked so many times is just childish now..

  16. avatar
    Yannick

    Feminism is about rooting out systemic injustice. Any man or woman with a sense of social justice and global humanism should be a feminist, it’s as simple as that.

  17. avatar
    Paulo

    What they say feminism is, is one thing, but how feminist groups act is another, and its not good to anybody

    • avatar
      Amphib

      #notallfeminists

  18. avatar
    Isabelle

    My husband is a true man, and I am happy lijke that. For nothing in the world I would like him to change. Nothing ! Thank you, Mummy-in-law for having raised a such darling.

    • avatar
      Raquel

      You had your choice let other have theirs and by doing so you’re feminist.

  19. avatar
    Rajesh

    I thought Respect is earned never denanded..

    • avatar
      Arnout

      yes though women equality isn’t something earned. That’s like saying that you need to earn respect for basic human rights.
      Women equality isn’t a person.

    • avatar
      Rajesh

      have you ever treated any women differently

    • avatar
      Arnout

      we as society have yes.
      From voting rights to payment.

    • avatar
      Rajesh

      you have become part of the herd and outsourced your thinking capacity to others

    • avatar
      Arnout

      ah ofcourse. It seems like you atleast do not deserve respect.

    • avatar
      Rajesh

      definitely nor do i expect from somebody like you

    • avatar
      Arnout

      wauw you are so though a real stunner. GL with your life.

    • avatar
      Amphib

      @Rajesh ok, boomer

    • avatar
      Raquel

      @Arnout Thank you!

    • avatar
      Raquel

      Differently from what!

    • avatar
      Dawood

      Its not about respect the point is “equality”

    • avatar
      Rajesh

      equality is a eye wash..and myth .where is equality in coal minning ..where is equaluty in crab and tuna fishing trailers.
      Where is equality in high tensuon power line maintainance jobs..equality in bridge maintainance a d other dangerous jobs ..
      Equality is only for cushy soft jobs craved by those women who cannot bear the competation in the real .
      .world they hide behind equality.
      And those women who have balls of steel to compete they rise and shine.

    • avatar
      Dawood

      I dont know what is the point of respect in it …

  20. avatar
    Daniel

    in a liberal environment = ofc yes

  21. avatar
    Julian

    I think it is… but this is a stupid question anyways. Is anticolonialism good for european powers? Is prohibiting animal testing good for humans? Is the apartheid good for white people?

  22. avatar
    Emma

    It is 2020 and we are truly still asking that asinine question? The definition of feminism is equality for all. So how could it be bad for men? I think with your question you meant to refer to white-cis-men that hold certain power… since equality feels like oppression to those that are accustomed to privilege.
    We are not all equal so feminism has yet to be achieved. It is certainly important that the law changes and adapts to feminism ideology but it is as important as changing the ideology of our societies (of every single human being). Equality cannot and will not be achieved until every single person learns about the disparaging inequalities that still exist today and consciously works to change them. We must do better. It is not okay to still be arguing, discussing and commenting on the same points every news cycle.
    It is not something to debate: it is a well known fact that feminism is good for men.

  23. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Is feminism good for men?

    @ DE:

    Why ask questions that are controversial if you don’t want individuals to address the issue with their perception of honesty? Could it be fear of agreement against intended policies the European public reject, as they too disagree with them? Or, could it be these opposing views sound too reasonable?

    It seems that you can’t express an opinion on how you view the world nowadays. Presently there is a seed of reality being cultivated in our society, in every walk of life, that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to select the best. This is not how we should choose to move forward on this continent. Fear of speaking ones mind openly, can drive unhealthy undercurrents that are more difficult to deal with….not really progressive to deny free thinking being aired. As when you do it, it makes fear of alternative argument being correct very obvious.

  24. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Is feminism good for men?

    ‘Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. Freedom of expression. 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.’

    The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  25. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Is feminism good for men?

    Feminism, in its true objective and motive, is in no way good for the population, neither male or female.

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