Feminism deserves more than one gender

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

By Josh Burton | Contributor

The Baylor Lariat Editorial Board published an editorial on Oct. 23 titled “Feminism deserves more than one year.” It was a well-written article that highlighted important feminist issues and stated that although this year has been dubbed “The Year of the Woman,” there is still much work to be done in the years to come.

However, this editorial was written as a letter addressed to women, and I see no reason to limit the content of the editorial to a female audience. Unless the feminist movement does a better job of enlisting the support of men, it will always be fighting with one arm tied behind its back, and the feminist progress could easily stop after just one year.

This year has brought attention to social justice issues ranging from sexual assault and reproductive rights to job discrimination and inequality of pay. These issues are very pressing matters for many women in the United States, but I would argue that they are human rights issues. They are not exclusive to women, and they certainly will not be solved with support of only half of the country’s population.

Women have a long and tough battle ahead of them to secure equal rights across all aspects of life. However, their enemy in this battle is not men. It is injustice.

For this reason, feminist media, protests and conversations need to invite participation from all people in the country’s population with a passion for justice. Protesting the patriarchy and creating an us-versus-them mentality is counterproductive, because it provokes resistance rather than fostering collaboration.

Feminism is a human rights issue that affects everyone, regardless of gender. Like Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This concept can be demonstrated through King’s differences with Malcolm X. King fought peacefully for justice by appealing rationally to commonly shared principles of human equality, while Malcolm X took a more militant approach that pitted black people against white people even further. There is a reason that the civil rights movement was so successful, and that we have a holiday to commemorate King’s efforts.

The same could be said about the feminist movement. There are inclusive, reasonable activists who encourage collaboration amongst all people to fight for equality and justice, but there are also “feminazis” who are hindering the movement’s progress by excluding and offending the rest of the population.

While the Baylor Lariat Editorial Board’s editorial was by no means militant or reminiscent of “feminazi” propaganda, it still suggests that females are the only people who can advocate for feminist issues. Instead of “Dear Women,” the article should start with “Dear Americans.” Instead of “shattering the glass ceiling,” why don’t we collaborate to remove it?

If this editorial should be addressed to only one gender, it should be men. Women live these issues every day. They are aware of the challenges they face. By contrast, many men lack a genuine understanding of those struggles, and in fact, most of the challenges are brought on by a lack of awareness from men in the first place. Why not inform them and invite them to join the movement?

Josh Burton
Senior economics major