And when we’re done there, or when we have some energy to spare, we’ll also fight for the men, because they and their sons are also unequal.
They aren’t allowed to feel the feelings, aren’t allowed to consider being stay-at-home dads, do not have “father and expecting father” parking spots, are not allowed to like cheesy, romantic movies; are not justified in asking others to do basic maintenance, are not allowed to be scared of duty, draft, or danger (or at least not allowed to verbalize that fear).
They are not socially allowed to seek counseling for trauma, they do not have the number of brothers to turn to in times of anxiety that women have, they are repeatedly told they are better men when they belittle, objectify, and out-rank.
Their sons are always complimented for being tough and strong before they are complimented on being kind or smart.
They are bred on “heroic” depictions of Harrison Ford forcefully kissing Alison Doody (who tells him to stop but supposedly actually wanted more). They are born of 007 womanization woven through the entire fictional being of the most patriotically-inclined hero of moviedom. They are taught at the feet of advertising campaigns that call hoodies “hoodlum” sweaters. They are fed by the hands of rapper-gods who rave about how “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” (including one such rapper-god, who, by the way, was held up on a pedestal by the supposedly feminist-minded Katy Perry . I mean, here, boys, have a side o’ fries and some mixed messages with that feminism).
They are told to grow a pair, to stop being a pussy, to put some hair on their chests (but then shave it off, by the way, because ain’t no girl gonna take a Hasselhoff anymore; that was so three decades ago).
They are supposed to lift like Heman, look like Bieber, woo like Matt Bomer, and never, ever go bald (unless they can pull off a Patrick Stewart, which is basically impossible). Oh, and they’re all supposed to like girls. And only girls. But not for who they are, just in general. It’s a numbers game, really. They just all have to be female numbers…conquests.
No dolls (wouldn’t want them growing up thinking their place is as a father), no fashion (that’s a badge of honor you only get to pursue if you become a rock star, son, sorry), no art (ditto to the last explanation, except that it’s never actually a badge of any honor at all), no dance (seriously dude, you completely lose your man card the second you have to wear tights for any purpose at all), and especially, especially no crying. Ever.
Maybe this is more a social fight and less a political one. I’m not positive. But there is certainly room for change. There is room for acts of “consent” to not include penetration when the female is clearly the aggressor and the more powerful in the dynamic (I mean, do we scrutinize female victims for whether or not they got wet?). There is room for paternity leave. There is room for men to earn trust and be trusted with children. There is room for men to be treated kindly no matter their interests and needs. There is room for fighting (through government or through a profound showing of authority like this march) for giving every working male a way to be more involved in their social circle and their family by putting less emphasis on their dollar signs and more emphasis on their sincere influence. There is room for upholding better icons, for appointing better leaders, for listening to and awarding better role models.
Because there is room for finding a way to eliminate or counteract the messages that teach women to sit still and look “pretty” AND that teach men to grow a pair and stop whining.