Cleaning is not the exactly the best part about camp but nonetheless must be done.

On the last day of camp, my cabin was assigned to clean the front porch of the Big House. As half of my cabin mates cleaned the cabin, the other half, including me, went to clean the porch. As we started to clean, someone made a comment to the effect that men can’t clean as well as women. It wasn’t meant offensively, but I felt offended somewhat because men are completely capable of cleaning a porch. The comment got me thinking about gender roles and equality.

The fundamental idea for feminism is that women and men should be treated equally. There are a lot of problems associated with gender inequality such as rape culture and the media’s portrayal of women, but when one advocates for feminism, he or she has to realize that there is a whole other view point: the male perspective. Some may say that men have it easier, but the reality is that men are also undermined by stereotypes and standards, just not necessarily in the same ways as women. The pressure to live up to stereotypes isn’t only a woman’s issue. Society has set expectations both for women and for men, and neither is fair. I think a lot of people forget that.

[one_third]It’s not just women’s equality; it’s equality for all. [/one_third]

Not all men are the muscled jocks portrayed by the media. When you hear “eating disorder,” what is the first image that comes to your mind? A woman at the bowl of a toilet? A woman pushing her lunch aside? Well, I don’t blame you, but the reality is that men can have body image issues and suffer from the mental disorders that result from them just as easily as women. In fact, men are less likely to share about having eating disorders because the issue is seen as a “woman problem”. The national statistic for men with eating disorders is said to be much higher than it actually is. When a man is having a bad day, he’s simply told, “Suck it up” or “Don’t be such a wimp” because “sharing one’s feelings” is what women do. When a man doesn’t necessarily like “man things” like sports or video games, and prefers things that aren’t necessarily “man things” like fashion trends, or when that man comes off as more effeminate than “normal men,” that man is considered lesser than a man.

On Fox’s high school drama Glee, the boys in glee club are constantly bullied and harassed for simply being in the club because it is viewed abnormal and feminine to sing about feelings. It may be fiction, but it does speak some truth. Feminism and masculism go hand-in-hand. The difference is that feminism is more recognized. I don’t remember how the conversation came up, but I remember that when I told my friend that men can get raped too, the reply was, “No, they can’t. How is that even possible?”

When a famous person passes away, the media shows family, friends, and fans in mourning. Unfortunately, if a less famous person dies at the same time, we seem to focus on the more “famous” death. For example, when Whitney Houston passed away, the world was in shock. On the same day, actor David Kelly also passed away but the news was overshadowed by Houston’s death. I don’t mean any disrespect to Houston but it’s just unfortunate that “small” issues are so easily pushed aside by the media and public opinion. It is the same with the feminist movement; everyone seems so focused on women deserving more rights socially and politically, but at the same time, everyone seems to be forgetting about the issues men have to face. They are both important. It’s really not just women’s equality; it’s equality for all.