Defending Women Doesn’t Make You Less Of A Man

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If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a tendency to speak out about hot button issues that affect us as a species and as a society. Issues that treat others unfairly or unjustly. The latest of which in the pop-culture mainstream is the leaking of hacked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, and multiple other female celebrities.

Inevitably, I notice a specific backlash in the comments both on this blog, and on Facebook. Typically, it comes from men. Rarely do I ever face resistance from women when speaking about equality and human rights. Why is this? Perhaps it is because women have lacking these basic rights for centuries and they still feel the sting, no matter how big or small, here in 2014.

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Could it be fear? Fear that someone else being equal to you somehow puts you on a lesser level than you would be if they stayed subordinate? What kind of deep-rooted insecurities must one have to be overcome by this idea?

What is often perpetuated is the idea of men having a “right” to women. A right to her body because he was polite to her. A right to see her photos because they are out there anyway. A right to objectify her because that’s what she should expect with the career she chose. When will we, as men stand up and say NO – you have a right to nobody. They owe you nothing.

Within society men take on a position of self-professed masculinity. A position of trying to be “one of the guys.” A position of being a man’s man and their vision of what macho means. This is not about Jennifer Lawrence. It’s not about naked photos. It’s not even necessarily about women. It’s about being human, and respecting each other as such.

It’s about understanding what it means to really be a man. To be a member of the human race, and to treat others with the respect that you expect from them in return. It’s about recognizing people as people and not as objects. Not as possessions. And certainly not as proverbial trading cards to be passed around because, well, you haven’t seen that one yet.

Where there is objectification, there is one who is doing the objectifying. While we see plenty of male underwear models showing us what perfection looks like, eating disorders, and body shaming put on men as well too, it is admittedly a higher profile topic for women. Perhaps this is because men are too ashamed to speak about it. One man who I commend for speaking out is my friend Brian Cuban, who suffered with eating disorders, depression, and drug addictions for decades. I highly recommend checking out his book or listening to his story.

But I digress. I submit to you – this does not make it a “women’s issue.” It does it make it two other things though: A men’s issue, and a human issue. Anyone who is perpetuating the objectification of another becomes at fault. They will also continue until someone stands up and says “This is wrong.”

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But it is taboo to realize this. It is taboo to point this out, and that is why it doesn’t get spoken about. Because if you are sitting around with your friends playing Call Of Duty or watching a football game chugging your beers (I’m obviously being overly stereotypical) and someone makes a joke about how they wish a woman was there to go make them a sandwich, are you going to laugh?

You could always say “Not cool, man.” But, will you?

Someone has to. Someone should. And the person who does will inevitably become less popular immediately. They’ll be the downer, or the one who switched sides. Or the one who killed the joke. Because it was just a joke anyway, man. I mean, wasn’t it?

I have admittedly been that guy on multiple occasions. I am being that guy by writing this. By writing this blog and speaking about the issues I do, I am subjecting myself to the criticism of millions in the hopes that a second person will stand up, and then a third, and then a fourth. And then, we’re making a difference. But it has to start somewhere, and the place that it starts is with the realization that defending women does not make you less of a man.

I ask, if you were to hold on to the current view of masculinity, what action fits better: To sit by and observe the perpetuation of things you know and feel is wrong, or to stand up and defend those being disrespected?

The image of masculinity is changing. It is no longer knocking a woman over the head with a club and dragging her to your cave. We have learned. We have developed. We have evolved.

And it’s time we started acting like it.

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9 Comments

  1. Nancy Cokinda on September 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    It is ironic that today’s male erroneously believes that being a responsible leader makes him less of a male, and being a Beta male—acting like a Beta pack member and fearfully trying to fit in among the other Beta males—is what manhood is all about. The men of the “formal generation” knew how to be a true responsible man, and so did some of our older “Baby Boomers.” What happened during the development of Generations X and Y, and how did we wind up with so many little boys in adult bodies? Flashback to “Lord of the Flies”—when adult leaders are not around, and little boys raise themselves in a Beta pack.

  2. Natasha on September 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    *Defending Women Makes You More of a Man

    • James Michael Sama on September 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      While I agree with you Natasha (obviously), the title is designed to be a response to much of the criticism I receive. Hence the way it is worded. 🙂

      • Natasha on September 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

        True, makes perfect sense in the context of defending your posts. 🙂 Though, as you say, “the image of masculinity is changing”…and therein lies the benefit of flipping the script to put the focus on how respecting women actually reinforces one’s masculinity.

        You had a great insight: “Could it be fear? Fear that someone else being equal to you somehow puts you on a lesser level than you would be if they stayed subordinate?” Yes, that’s exactly what it is. Only weak men are threatened by strong women, or women on equal footing as themselves. Only weak men are so insecure that they feel the need to keep women below them. If strength = masculinity, then being strong/secure enough to respect women as equals, and defend their rights, make you more of a man.



  3. lovelygirl on September 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for the great post. I dont know how frequently this occurs during male interactions. However, Ive often seen the other side of things where other women try to demean or discredit other woman.

  4. rickyzg on September 3, 2014 at 8:11 am

    You all should be grateful by James personality as human being and lovable person, of course he has flaws like we all does but aspiring to be great spirit will always have consequences from violent opposition from mediocrities and that’s fine because some monkeys “cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”

  5. Mia on September 3, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Reblogged this on Wanderlust and commented:
    Worth a read

  6. ipaulesbronet on September 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Sometimes I Wear Tiaras.

  7. Jayce on September 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Articles like this are agitating. Your not fringe for having or sharing these common views. I more than welcome equality, as long as its actual equality and not this crap that gets peddled. I’m also fine with having no claim to anyone else, as long as all claims to me are relinquished. You will not get one without the other.

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