Feminism started with the singular goal of achieving civil rights for women, but has since blossomed into a more far reaching movement. According to bell hooks' succinct definition in 2000's Feminism Is For Everybody, "feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression," which means that yes, feminism benefits men, too. To be clear, feminism isn't about men, and men don't have to identify as feminists — because, let's be honest, not all women do either (although it would be nice if everyone did!) — but while feminists are fighting for reproductive rights, LGBTQ* rights, equal pay, sexual autonomy and the like, men are likely to see and feel some positive repercussions.
In a recent interview on Huffington Post Live, actor Edgar Ramirez succinctly verbalized the ways that feminism improves the lives of men. "Feminism is nothing but equality," he stated, "and actually, feminism benefits men because it liberates us and it releases us from many stigmas imposed by the macho culture on us as well." It's as simple as that, and props to a male public figure for getting it right.
Here are five ways that feminism benefits men :
1. It Challenges Masculine Stereotypes
As Ramirez said, "macho culture" can be stifling, and feminism helps to broaden the scope of gender identity for all. Just as women don't have to be sweet, selfless caregivers, men don't have to be strong, stoic providers — it's up to each man to define masculinity for himself.
1. It Offers Alternate Visions Of Masculinity
Beyond challenging masculine stereotypes, feminism also offers alternate visions of masculinity: take these high profile feminist men, for example.
3. It Encourages Better Sex
Feminism encourages bodily autonomy, enthusiastic consent, and the destruction of sexual stigma, which can make for some pretty liberated bedroom activities.
4. It Encourages Better Relationships
On top of all the hot, consensual sex that feminism can inspire, it can also make your romantic and domestic life far more evolved in the sense that each individual person is encouraged to decide what commitment, monogamy and intimacy means to them regardless of what society instructs.
5. It Expands How We Define Men
Men aren't defined by their genitalia. You get to decide what makes you a man, not society, and that's in large part because of the work accomplished by feminist and LGBTQ* activists.
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