As Women’s History Month rolled around, men were mad. Not all men, of course, but specifically a few in my Spanish class, whining about how unfair it is that men did not have a whole month to themselves. To which, one of them responded, “It’s okay; men have the other ten months.” Not quite, Jared, but your heart is in the right place.
Although the men of today are certainly not at fault for their predecessors’ actions, sexism still persists due to former societal standards that men continue to uphold. For example, some men think that women are less capable and therefore deserve lower pay, which results in the wage gap. Women certainly do not want to be paid less; the fact that they do not deserve as much is a belief perpetuated by men.
The wage gap is not the only problem faced by American women; we have to overcome systems of misogyny that have existed for years before us. So, under congressional declaration, America celebrates March as Women’s History Month to honor the contributions of noble women from the past who have impacted how we live in the present.
Up until recently, history was almost exclusively stories about men, written by and for men. So, it may be baffling to some men when the spotlight is not on them anymore – even for just a month. This urge to keep the conversation about them prompts movements such as meninism to demand men’s rights by counteracting feminism.
The myth of the oppressed majority is an intriguing one. When societal dialogue finally shifts in favor of a marginalized group by either recognizing their struggles or commending their successes, the majority tends to feel left out. Men have historically been the oppressors; thus, they do not have a month to commend their achievements. However, the notion of granting women something not offered to men feels drastically different from the norm. The majority is not used to these changing dynamics, so it can feel as though a movement for equality is somehow taking away from their own rights and freedoms.
We can observe this same pattern in other movements across the world. All Lives Matter attempted to silence Black Lives Matter while straight pride tried to undermine gay pride. “Reverse” racism, sexism and homophobia simply cannot exist because there exists “no institutional power to back them up.” Non-marginalized groups must learn to recognize their privileges rather than claiming mistreatment and erasure when it does not exist.
All in all, false activism aims only to hinder the progress of true, necessary movements. USA Today declares that we should “not get distracted by faux festivities that mask an agenda of exclusion.” We must understand that supporting one group does not mean hating another, and derailing conversation with inflammatory distractions is simply creating unproductive outrage for the sake of it.