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I had a college professor who made a point of telling us on the first day of class that she was a feminist. Nobody asked her what she meant by that. But, anyway she made several references to feminism as the course progressed, and she also made a lot of sarcastic and negative comments about men, and especially white men in general. She didn't really explain herself, and I haven't really studied feminism, but I'm assuming it's about equal rights for women and not discriminating against people simply on the basis of their gender, or skin color and things like that.

So does that not apply to white males? If feminism is for equality and non-discrimination, why is it called feminism? Why not just equality, or some other virtue that doesn't depend on ones gender or color or something else that a person has no choice in or control over? Maybe I'm off base, is feminism about some uniquely feminine ideal or quality that's outside the realm of the masculine? I don't know, but at least she proved to me that women can be jerks too. She seemed to imply that white males where inherently bad, almost as if they were the root of all evil in society, and that it was OK to ridicule them. I can't believe that. I am a person. If I'm something bad it's because I made some bad choice, not because I am also white and male.

Well, maybe it's just about the white male's turn at that end of the wheel, huh? - Gary

I'm certainly not about to make excuses for your professor. However, I will say what I think feminism is and what I think everyone's role is within feminism. As your professor may or may not have explained, according to the dictionary, feminism is the movement for the full social, political, and economic equality of all people. Therefore, it's about liberating the individual - male and female regardless of race, sexaulity, class, etc. The reason there is emphasis on "liberating" women rather than the human - i.e. calling it feminism rather than humanism - is because traditionally women have been more likely to have their choices restricted or limited than men. This is the same reason that we had a black power movement and a civil rights movement - because white people, on average, held more power. So the point isn't to elevate women at the expense of men, but to give room for women and men to be as successful (and as mediocre).

Because I was not in your class I can't begin to interpret the situation, but I can say from experience that often times when someone is talking about what has stood in the way of women's advancement, we are talking about societal things - and those things have for the most part been prescribed or based on a white male norm. This is not to say white men personally, but more generically. Therefore, this may have been what your teacher was attempting to convey. So - I hope you now have a sense that feminism is as necessary for men's liberation as it is for women's liberation.


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