Our donor list is predominately women. As a male, it is downright embarrassing.
The White Male Perspective
Women around the globe possess a unique standpoint in that their experiences have certain perceptions that are shared by the entire female population. Feminist thought can be studied, explained and recorded by people like myself, but it can only be produced by women. I am a white, middle-class male from the Midwest of America. I cannot even begin to grasp the observations and interpretations of womanhood, especially as it boils with turmoil and violence around the world. And of course, even women in America and other developed nations still have restraints to thrash as it pertains to political participation, economic empowerment, abortion rights and even contraceptives. These are commonalities among all women, but let us not assume too broad of a scope from our developed-nation standpoint. Even as a privileged white male, I understand that though commonalities of women are very much the same across our planet, the diversity of class, region, age and even sexual orientation shapes women’s lives in different expressions based on how and where they live.
Poor women in poor countries are quite literally the lowest class of humans in our social existence, and we all participate and are responsible for it. And it is my fellow brethren – the white male – who are most responsible for instilling this tyranny and mistreatment. And please know to all of our male readers, this is not some guilt-laden attempt to sway you into one such way of thinking; this is just the truth, and the truth shouldn’t offend you. If you are reading this in the first place, then it speaks to where your heart is. But the fact remains powerful white males, past and present, define themselves as the true actors and participants of the world and classify people of color and women in terms of their position in the eyes of said powerful white male. Women have been denied the authority to challenge these definitions, which perpetuates all forms of ongoing oppression.
True Masculinity is Feminine
A CBS Poll in 2009 found 24% of men in the United States claim the term “feminist” an insult. Four in five men refuse to identify themselves as feminist, but when its definition is given the number fell to two in five. An increasing number of men said that feminism had improved their lives in comparison to polls taken in 1983 and 1999, which is a great improvement in thought; however 60% believe that a strong women’s movement is no longer needed. Fellas, this is not acceptable.
True masculinity as it pertains to our progressive social paradigms has nothing to do with the predominant notions of proving our worth as men, our physicality or brawn. Real masculinity is so truly distant from the needs of the ego. As men, our masculinity should be represented by our deepest inner feelings, needs, desires and our inner strength. Unfortunately, we have suppressed them deep within, under the pressures of our perceived social masculine roles. As a result, we have lost connection with our true selves as men – our natural masculinity. In my eyes, natural masculinity is inherently proactive and positive as it pertains to the rights of, and justice for women.
Ironically enough, men across the world must liberate themselves from the sociocultural constraints of their own gender roles if they want to be a necessary part of feminist activism.
Don’t Stay Silent When You See Sexism & Oppression in Action
Men, join the conversation and the movement. Join us in our quest to empower women. Why would you not? Your virility as a man gives you enormous benefits in this big world – wouldn’t it be crazy if you did right by women? The Lovin’ Soap Project empowers women who live and work in deplorable environments, both physically and socially. Men make up half the population in this world and this organization needs the courageous and forward-thinking men of that enormous proportion to step up and help.
Contribute at www.lovinsoapproject.org. Tell your friends. Tell your communities. Tell your organizations. Change your approach to how you see yourself and the role you play with the rights of women around the world. And to all of the women reading this, please share this with the men in your life, and let’s see how far their activist spirit will take them.
Benjamin Aaron, Co-Director