From Fear to Fostering Feminism

The word “feminist” tends to frighten some men. At least, that’s how Robert Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, felt until the age of 30. Then he decided to face his fear by studying the feminist critique of pornography throughout graduate school.

Nearly 30 years later, a confident, and sometimes objectionable, Jensen stands in front of audiences speaking on behalf of radical feminism discussing his book, “The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.” With this, he shares different feminist arguments and how men can also support the movement.

Jensen dives into subjects typically kept hushed, like explaining how the feminist critique of the pornography industry is “objectified female bodies sold to men for sexual pleasure.”

“The book is my attempt to explain the problem of patriarchy and the feminist response to that problem, and specifically in a language that will be accessible to men,” Jensen said.

“Radical feminism is our best vehicle for trying to change patriarchy.”

Patriarchy, of course, can be defined as “a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity from women.”

Jensen also makes the point that “[i]f we understand the problem of patriarchy as the problem of institutionalized male dominance, we need a feminist analysis and feminist politics to challenge patriarchy.”

On January 21, 2017, at least 500,000 people (an estimated 5 million participants worldwide) protested in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., to advocate human rights, including women’s rights. Not only were streets lined with females, but thousands of males marched supporting wives, sisters, daughters and mothers largely due to offensive statements made by President Donald Trump aimed at women.

It was the largest day of protests in U.S. history, according to political scientists from the Universities of Connecticut and Denver.

“I hope to see the end of patriarchy someday,” Jensen said.

It looks like America (and the rest of the world) is on board.

I applaud Jensen for his courage and determination to overcome his predisposition of feminism and to dedicate his life’s work to educating others who may live in the same fear he once did. Challenge yourself to become part of a socially just society standing up for women’s equality, not subordination.

-JL Smith

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