Men are arbiters of identity for both male and female in patriarchy and this male identity consists of power and privilege: John Stoltenberg
Firstly, we should try to understand what feminism is and why it has came into existence. To deal with what feminism one should read author Bell Hooks. She said that feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.
Author Menon says that it is a means to understand hierarchal identities dominant and subordinate which are produced at different times and spaces.
If we look back we see how women were deprived of rights as right to vote, education, employment, property rights etc. This was because sexism was in practice as men is superior and women is inferior. This gender stereotypes led division of roles as men controlled both private and public spaces and women were restricted to homes.
JS Mill argued that the position of women were worse than slaves as they spend their capacities for the opposite sex instead for themselves. Simone de Beauvoir argued that women is not born but made, this construction led women to be submissive, subordinate, weak and to live for others. The forced sexual relations promoted by the institutions is gradually softened naturalised and promoted as consent based.
Women start talking about the issues of sexism, patriarchy and how it is managed maintained normalised and this group of women came to known as consciousness raising group. They made women aware about sexism, patriarchy etc. The early years of twentieth century has been referred as first wave of feminism focused on political demands as equal pay, franchise, education etc.
Second wave feminism sees reproductive rights as central in women’s oppression and focused on birth control and child care etc. They came to address personal issues which came realisation of personal is political that private is not away from politics and it is power based.
Feminism has created awareness of patriarchal violence. It is a home based violence based on a belief that powerful persons control others through violence. If we look at domestic violence, Bell Hooks says that it was considered as private and less brutal despite more women were burnt murdered at home and also children face violence at home.
When women’s concern gained a legitimate social political concern, men started examine their roles which are constructed in a patriarchal system. Sex role stereotypes turn men into violent, coercive and when women angrily react to this, they were not reacting to men but actually to injustice.
Feminism does not see men as problem but patriarchy and socialisation. There are stereotypes which say that men should be dominant with others as indicator of success. However, most men fail to achieve dominance and they became the subject of jokes humiliation etc. This lead them alienated as they are not allowed to play freely.
John Stoltenberg says men are arbiters of identity for both male and female in patriarchy and this male identity consists of power and privilege.
Many attempts have been made to call this masculinity as natural but Stoltenberg says this is learned behaviour that men should control rather than natural.
In patriarchal system, men does not only goes against women but also men who belong different orientations, race etc. Feminism is helpful to understand constructed differences.
Despite this patriarchal system which is going to benefit men, at the same time it effects their emotions feelings self etc and there are men also who are influenced with feminism because men in feminism means men does not like privilege, dominance, power, violence but equality.
Author is a student of Political Science