Dear Man Who Cries "I Don't Need Feminism:"
You're right. You don't need to recognize the voices of the disenfranchised in order to get ahead in life. You don't need feminism to make money, to have casual sex without being shamed, or to get a job promotion. You don't need feminism to gain more power or more privilege.
You remain at the top of the social hierarchy — and will never know how it feels to truly be on the bottom.
You sit on a throne of privilege, even though it may make you angry to hear this. Having privilege is not a character judgment — it's the institutional power given to you based on the sex assigned to you at birth. Unfortunately, we women are not so lucky.
Dear men who say they don't need feminism: Feminism is about equity. We are all equal as human beings, but we are not seen equally by society.
Can you imagine being a woman with a disability, a queer woman, a woman of color, or even a woman who identifies as all of the above? Do you know what you might have to fight against or endure emotionally, mentally, and physically?
Dear men who say they don't need feminism: Our culture needs feminism because it not only helps women and marginalized communities, but it also helps men.
Embracing feminism can help us all let go for restrictive gender norms, which damage both men and women. Gender roles have been shown to physically and psychologically damage both boys and girls. The constant pressure to maintain either a "masculine" and "feminine" persona can induce serious anxiety, stress, insecurity, and low self-esteem in children of all ages.
Feminist ideals can help men express their emotions, even when it doesn't fit into society's prescriptive container of "masculinity."
Sociologist Dr. Maria do Mar Pereira found that gender norms "make boys feel constantly anxious and under pressure to prove their power — namely by fighting, drinking, sexually harassing, refusing to ask for help, and repressing their emotions."
When boys are conditioned to perform as "ultra-masculine," they are more likely to express themselves through physical, sexual, and psychological violence.
Tragically, men who are pressured to act "ultra-masculine" are less likely to seek mental health support; the overwhelming majority of suicide victims are men, due in part to a lack of public awareness, and a culture that reinforces male toughness.
What would a world be like in which boys did not feel the need to fit into a gendered box?
Feminism promotes such a world, where all people can feel safe to be themselves without the risk of harassment or discrimination.