by Lana Day
A message to Fourth Wave Feminism:
This is how you are ruining my perception of men.
I once believed, naive as I was, that women were equal to men in every way shape or form. I never saw this division when I was a child. I was never favored over a boy and never a boy over me. I was never neglected opportunities simply because of my gender. Then I grew up.
Coming of age allowed me to become more aware of the global issues around me. I was educated on the statistics that clearly favored men in our society over women. However, where was this oppression manifesting? Where was the establishment of this separation? As I continued to navigate the world, I heard awful allegations about men, poisoning my young impressionable mind. These statements came with horror stories, stories that often detailed disgusting actions that a man took that indefinitely changed individuals lives. These detailed accounts stuck with me throughout the years, constantly reminding me that men were the predators and women the prey. The stories often came in the form of women regaining their voice, stolen by horrible men were generalized to fit all men. This was, understandably, life-changing. I was a little girl, I was basically defenseless because of my age and sex. This made me terrified of every man I saw. I would quickly cross the street if I saw a man coming my way, no matter what. I was terrified, constantly.
Social media, unfortunately, made this situation much more real for me. Everytime I opened my phone, I saw new videos about how we can fight the patriarchy. However, this term became more diluted with time. Patriarchy no longer became an extreme term but rather a term to generalize every institution in our country. Essentially, how we can fight men, how we can destroy men and masculinity. I was shown masculinity and it was labeled toxic, so I called it so. I distinctly remember a trend on social media where women would say “Kill All Men”. Many perceived this, including me, not as a joke but as a trend to drive people to believe society would be more advanced with the absence of men in its entirety. These short videos, posted on social media, had persuaded me to hate an entire group of individuals for, virtually, no sound reason.
That’s when I opened my eyes. I began to see the world around me, the men around me. The father figures and helping hands. I also, unfortunately, experienced time with many awful men, with similar horror stories that I had heard so many times in the past. I realized in these moments that fourth-wave feminists are destroying the image of men. The monsters that I met made me realize that I was wrong. This movement I believed in for so long had it all wrong. Men are protectors, not predators. They love and live the same way we do, biology aside. That’s the epiphany that altered my perception from men being monsters to just being men.
First wave feminism was about allowing women to be equal to men. It began with allowing women into all workspaces, allowing women to vote, to divorce, to live a normal life. I wish the same could be said now. Fourth wave feminism has a different motive than their heroic ancestors. In my opinion, equality was achieved for a majority of women but we couldn’t stop. Instead of pushing for the equality of women still facing inequality, we reached into our history books and blamed the men living now for the actions of men centuries ago. We blame the loving and nurturing men of today’s America for the totalitarian men in their past. I strongly believe fourth wave feminism is not about building women up, it’s about tearing men down.
Perhaps working together, not for women, not for men, but for society should be the goal. Let’s work hard to lay a proud foundation for the many generations to come. We have to stop hating each other for things we can’t control, and we must start loving each other for the things we can.