I’m a White, Middle-Class Man, Aged 18-40. What Could Feminism Mean For Me?

22 Jan

by Thomas Lloyd

Feminist writing, like most “-ist” writing, usually includes a discussion of oppression, stereotyping, disadvantage, privilege, and race-or-sex-or-able-androcentr-“-ism,”s. We hear about how society is structured a certain way to advance a majority that is a dominant “other.” The most universal privileged “other” described in “-ist” writing is the white, middle-class, young, heterosexual male.

As someone who received all but one of the aforementioned traits in the birth lottery, (I got sass and high cheekbones instead of heterosexuality), I have often struggled to find a place for myself within the feminist movement while simultaneously acknowledging my privilege. There were obvious ways that I cold find solidarity with the strong women in my life being that I am a LGBTQ person, but I was unsatisfied only finding a place for myself within the feminist movement as a gay man. Luckily for me, I think that feminist ideals have something that members of even ascendant majority should yearn for.

As a man, and especially as a more fabulous gentleman, I stand to gain by a deconstruction of gender norms. Every heterosexual man has “feminine” traits that necessarily “set him apart” from the accepted “norm.” I know, I’ve seen Taylor Swift listed as one of your favorite artists, or the pastel-colored shorts you walk around in with your shirt tucked in. Changing the norm, so that it is not necessarily masculine, not only elevates women, but it also frees men from the bro-tastic obligations we place on ourselves.

As a person for whom getting a tan warrants a visit to the dermatologist, I (and the world) stand to gain from the goal of diversifying those who hold office and are in positions of power. Diversity in leadership, of experience and, of choice will revitalize and expand innovation.

As a student at a Jesuit University, I stand to be more in line with my schools values of cura personalis. Only by engaging another’s identity can I truly serve them, or truly know myself.

As a (grand)son, I could find solace by knowing that my (grand)mother wouldn’t have to face roadblocks or bureaucratic obstacles simply because of their gender.

As a brother, I could find relief that my sister wouldn’t have to feel held back by societal constraints that I felt growing up as a gay man.

As a person, my own dignity would be reinforced by reaffirming the equality and dignity of every other person.

As a human being, I stand to gain from feminism.

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