Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Male Feminist

This is the re-posting of something I wrote for the Livingston Patch. It wasn't edited by Eliza so sorry for any grammatical errors (decided to leave it the way it was originally posted on Patch).

Feminism is a label generally associated with punk rock chicks, nature worshiping hippies or businesswomen in power suits. Being a relatively clean-cut suburban white male, I am not that. However, I am a feminist.

I find it unfortunate that other males feel the need to fit into the gender role society has constructed for them. While I am a male with distinctly masculine characteristics (sports, aggression), I am also brave enough to embrace my feminine side (crying at movies, being sweet). I do not seek to renounce my gender, but rather to pursue gender equality. When I look at the American congress, I see an unrelenting masculine clash. The problem is they all think they need to be right, and are not willing to compromise for the greater good. It goes to the point where you stop fighting for what you believe in and start fighting for the sake of winning the argument. I wonder if we had a more feminine government, would there be so much irrational fighting? Would we have entered Iraq? Would we have lost 4500 US troops? We try to ignore it, but every troop is someone’s child. I have a feeling that if we had more feminine leaders in government, we would be more responsible and less trigger happy.

At a previous job of mine, my female boss told a fellow female co-worker that she had to be stronger and more aggressive. The co-worker agreed, reconciling how this will be helpful over time. I find this a little bit upsetting, as she was essentially telling my co-worker to be more masculine. The reality is that business was established by and for men. I am still trying to comprehend the implications of this, but one clear example is the highly vertical nature of organization structure. Vertical business structure caters to the benefits and drawbacks of male aggression. Males seek victory, and have trouble working together. By having a vertical structure, it allows for decision making to override the never ending arguing. What if we started incorporating more teamwork and horizontal orientation into business? This would allow more feminine employees to thrive in business environments. I think these things are occurring in business now and one could argue this is happening as a result of the integration of women into business.

This country is extremely male oriented, and this needs to change if we're to progress or if we want to make our delusion of a sexism-free society a reality. It's quite unfortunate to see another election go by without a strong female candidate. When will we reach the point of having a society where we effectively utilize femininity instead of considering it a weakness? I imagine this will not happen in my lifetime, but hopefully I can help begin the shift.

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