Men in Society and Feminism: How do we Find Common Ground?

Norah Grimes, Freelance Editor

Going to an all-girls school like Visitation gives us a unique perspective on the idea of feminism and what it means to be a strong woman; after all, we are surrounded by so many of them every day. It also means that our environment can sometimes shelter us from the world and how we perceive it. When we are brought together with so many extraordinary females through the Visitation Community, we benefit from all the advantages of feminism and the positive impact it can create in our lives. 

Conversely, it seems we are always constantly bombarded with negative news headlines about current events. This media coverage can often embrace ideas regarding men and traditional male ideals as toxic and destructive to society. Whether we agree or disagree with this notion is different for each person, it is our responsibility to constantly challenge our beliefs and grow to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others. The only question: how do we find a mutual understanding between our environment of strong feminists and a greater appreciation of men in society? First, we must find where we disagree, then be able to have a respectful conversation, and hopefully leave every discussion with more knowledge and acceptance of the views of others. 

We often find it difficult to challenge our own perspectives and would find life much easier without potentially having our beliefs jeopardized by information and conversations we have with others. But it is incredibly important to try and discover where we feel disagreement occurs. Especially regarding conflict between men and women, there is a misunderstanding of the other side. As women, it is easy to pick out the long history of a male dominated culture and the oppression of women throughout time. However, modern times have come far enough that most people believe there should be equality between the sexes. However, with the continued idea that some people view men as inherently problematic can only lead to a defiance of the people who depict them as such; namely, strong feminist groups. If we want men as allies in the pursuit of equality, we cannot treat them as the problem. Instead, respectful conversation is much more effective in finding common ground between men and women.

A civil discussion about hot-button topics such as men and women’s place in society can be hard to make a reality, but if we allow ourselves to truly be open to hearing views that differ from our own, it can be very beneficial and allow us to gain a greater insight into other ideas and opinions. As females, we should be willing to hear and acknowledge what men have to say without tearing down masculinity as a whole. In this way, they will be more receptive to supporting women and the fundamental ideals of feminism. If we follow these steps, we should be able to find some sort of common ground between men in society and feminism.