There’s something called racism. It is any bias discrimination of one against another based on race. As such, if a white man discriminates against a black man, it is racism. If a black man discriminates against a white man, it is equally racism. It doesn’t matter who the object of discrimination appears to be.
Equally, there is a word called “sexism”. It is the act of building social roles on the bias of biological functions. Let me explain, women can carry babies, men can’t. That’s a biological function. On the other hand, coordinating a mass choir is a social function.
Now, to build or prescribe social functions based on biological functions is simply sexism. For instance, to argue that women ought not to be religious heads because of their biological functions is simply sexism. To argue that a man should never be afraid or shy because of his biological functions is simply sexism. The list goes on and on.
We assume that by virtue of masculine features men are stronger than women and thus, a man ought to protect the woman. This protection, however, has been drawn far beyond physical actions. It goes even financial. Thus, a man must fix the woman’s bills, not because she’s incapable of meeting her needs, but simply because he’s a man. Not because he’s more financially stable, but because HE’S A MAN.
With such orientation, we paint the notion that a woman cannot venture into sociopolitical systems and activities in the way men do. As such, indirectly, we infer that her highest ‘give-out’ is her sexuality. The implication is very simple, men automatically become sexual predators. When persons engage in sex, we see it as though it is the female giving out a meal to the male; something like “Amaka giving an akara to Emeka “. But in the real sense, it is Amaka and Emeka eating from the akara. We fail to see sex as a mutual act, instead we see women (by virtue of being women) as sexual objects and sexual victims, and men (by virtue of being men) as sexual subjects and sexual predators. No wonder rape is most defined only in respect to the female body. A woman is applauded for virginity, a man is not.
By virtue of being masculine, man is expected to be hard, to be tough, to be industrious and not necessarily homely. So, a man and a woman give birth to a child, they are both parents yet it is expected that only the female parent goes on a parental leave while the male remains in the ‘fields’.
A man and a woman intends to get married yet it is expected that the male pays a certain price for a union that involves both the male and female. The average man grows up with these society-inflicted scars on him simply because he is male, yet we assume gender injustice affects only the female. Remember our definition of sexism.
Obviously, through the so called patriarchy and stereotype , society and culture ends up placing an unjust weight on men too, and not just women.
Feminism says “let’s get rid of sexism, regardless of who the victim appears to be”. So in the actual sense, feminism is not just for women.
WRITTEN BY Obiene Solomon
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