Unlike the color pink of breast cancer awareness, the official color of prostate cancer awareness remains an indistinguishable hue hidden within the other colors of our everyday routines. There exists No-Shave November, but many people believe that its funds are donated solely to men’s health initiatives. No-Shave November’s fundraising goal actually extends to all cancers—not just men’s health research. Where does this leave prostate cancer awareness? It’s left to be overlooked within No-Shave November’s general cancer fund.
Up until this past summer, I had been a lifelong feminist. It wasn’t until I watched a documentary called The Red Pill that I was able to reconsider my stance on gender equality. This documentary highlights the fundamental issues within the feminist movement, criticizing it for being too exclusionary. Feminism purports to be an effort to equalize the rights of men and women, but in reality, feminism aims to tip the scale in favor of women exclusively. Consequently, the male voice gets buried beneath the societal ignorance of men’s rights.
Men and women face greatly different obstacles, but there are hardships each gender faces that are incomprehensible to the other, making it difficult to empathize with the other sex. For example, only one in six custodial parents are men even though gender is irrelevant to parenting competency. This is only one case of lawful injustices that men experience, yet society is often unaware of the maltreatment due to the criticism men face for endorsing their rights. Suppressing the male voice only limits women’s capacity to understand the hardships that men face and in turn, merely exacerbates the tension and ignorance between the genders.
Last week, near the entrance of the McGinley Center, there was a multitude of banners with quotes that read, “Consent is sexy,” “No means no,” and other quotes that the students chose. As these were in support of the “#metoo” movement, the courageous individuals who spearheaded this campaign should be commended. However, there were a few banners that detracted from the movement. These banners had quotations that affronted the entire male gender. There are two issues with these quotations: Firstly, not all men are to blame. The male gender did not sexually assault someone; a singular individual did. We need to avoid inaccurate blanket statements that insult a gender as a whole. Secondly, sexual assault isn’t just a women’s issue. Many people are unaware that 10 to 20 percent of men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and these attacks on the male population perpetuate the ignorance surrounding men’s experiences. While the statistics are higher for females who experience sexual assault, we shouldn’t exclude men’s experiences from the conversation. Men are often afraid to seek help because there is a societal expectation of them to “just be a man.” In the military, only 10 percent of male victims, in comparison to 43 percent of female victims, report being sexually assaulted. In order to change this statistic, exclusionary rhetoric needs to be avoided, and societal expectations of both genders need to be dismantled.
According to the NCADV, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of domestic violence, but there are 1,500 women’s shelters and only one men’s shelter in the entire US. With such a close ratio, how do we continue to neglect men in this way? If more men’s shelters were opened, more men would be able to seek the resources they need in order to get out of unhealthy relationships.
Of all the chronically-homeless people in the United States, 75 to 80 percent of them are male, but the majority of the homeless shelters in the United States only accept women and children. Why do we discriminate against men in this case? Women are the lesser statistic in this scenario, yet they have more homeless shelters. If these statistics were swapped so that women composed 75 to 80 percent of the homeless population, society would have an issue.
As a woman, I am able to personally identify with the obstacles that females fight to overcome in society, but I’ve realized that being a feminist isn’t supposed to be a mutually exclusive movement. Not all feminists are man-haters nor purposely oppress men, but most feminists’ rhetoric is exclusionary. In the long run, this will only widen the gender equality gap. We shouldn’t aim to tip the scale; we need only attempt to balance it. Let’s start by wearing blue this November.