Where Are the Men?

Friday is Inauguration Day, a day when perhaps one of the worst leaders in US history will be officially inducted into office as our Commander-in-Chief, the leader of the free world, the President of the United States. That man is, of course, wealthy real estate developer and former reality TV star Donald J. Trump. This day will surely be a dark time for many of us.

But the next day, like a phoenix rising from the ashes , Washington, DC, will be filled with angry and energized voices ready to tell Trump exactly what’s waiting for him.

The Women’s March on Washington, happening Saturday, January 21, is anticipated to be the largest display of civil liberties activism in recent history. The march expects to see hundreds of thousands of people from all over the United States, perhaps even from other countries, descend upon our nation’s capital. Though the organizers of the Women’s March have made an effort to be as inclusive as possible in welcoming everyone who advocates for women’s rights to participate in this march (with the exception of pro-lifers), one group in particular appear apprehensive: men.

Will men be at the Women’s March? Sure, there will be men there. Hundreds of men, maybe even thousands. But, will there be enough men? Last week at the American Humanist Association’s office, I ran into two coworkers discussing the march. One of my colleagues explained that her very understanding and progressive husband had changed his mind about attending the march. The other colleague said her father, who I have been told is also quite progressive, recently changed his mind as well. Why are these “progressive, liberal, democratic, humanistic” men bailing on the march now?! I couldn’t help but ask, “Why”? To my surprise (but also not to my surprise), both of the men had the same reason: it wasn’t really their “thing.”

I think it’s safe to say a fair number of men view the Women’s March on Washington, and “Sister Marches” across the country, as an opportunity for women to come together to support and stand up for each other. That’s nice, but it’s completely wrong. What these men don’t understand is women need them to show up and support this cause. Men can be valuable allies to the women’s movement. They have access to an audience that staunch feminists, or even mildly opinionated women rarely do: other men. This march isn’t about women joining together to complain about men. This march is about women of all races, ages, abilities, nationalities, sexual identities and orientations, and classes being equally valued in American society, culture, politics, and the economy as men. This march should be a unifying event for personal people, men included, who agree that women deserve an equal slice of the pie.

So, if you’re a man and you feel like this march is “not the place for you” or “is a women’s thing,” you’d better do your homework on just how oppressing groups of individuals negatively effects societies as a whole. You’d better learn that when women are treated equally, granted equal opportunity, experience less harassment, and earn equal wages, all of our communities flourish. If you truly care about women’s equality, joint the march!

Better yet, march with the American Humanist Association, which is an official partner of the Women’s March on Washington. Learn more and sign up for the march on our Facebook event page.

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