Feminism today stands as a movement of change, specifically targeted at men and a male-dominated society. Feminism seeks to alter the status quo and rearrange the system of patriarchy. The feminist movement seeks to change. Change is something humans are programmed to fear. In this case, the fear comes from the man, who finds that the switching of traditional roles and systems, may create a loss of status, and have undesirable outcomes. The system that is in place today is patriarchal. The system of men on top and women below them has been the norm for most of human history. During the dawn of modern agriculture, the invention of the plow required “significant upper-body strength, grip strength, and bursts of power to either pull the plow or control the animal that pulls it” (Giuliano, Gender: An Historical Perspective).
This was less than compatible with childcare, so women left the fields to care for their children. Pre-Industrially, there was the “male-breadwinner hypothesis,” with men working full-time and women dedicating themselves to housework (Giuliano, Gender: An Historical Perspective). This system was normal until the 1940s through 1960s, when women began to take on work outside the home. Today, women are still behind in leadership positions in business and government. They make up about 5% of Fortune 500 companies CEOs in 2017, and only 47% of the US labor force. (Geiger and Parker, Pew Research Center). This is shifting, however. Women’s median pay per hour was $16.00 in 2016, increasing from $12.48. Men’s median pay has stagnated and has remained at around $19.23. (Geiger and Parker, Pew Research Center).
Women’s median pay is increasing because they have been working in more lucrative positions. Women have also made strides in education. Women are more likely to have a college degree today “In 2017, 38% of (these) women and 33% of men had a bachelor’s degree” (Geiger and Parker, Pew Research Center). This change in women’s roles is what is making men fearful of the feminist movement. All humans are biologically inclined to fear change. In this case, the man fears change that the woman is putting on the traditional system. This does not apply to all men, but a select few may deem these changes radical. Only about half of men actually believe that there are not enough women in higher positions. (Horowitz, Igielnik, Parker, Pew Research Center). There is a sense of ideological defensiveness. “Social validation, group support, or peer pressure” (Jost, NYU) are all things that make humans resist change. In this case, men may be socialized through social validation and peer pressure to have the opinion that women are below men, thus making that idea concrete in their mindset.
This may be even more prevalent in conservative ideologies, that do not promote the changing of traditional systems. That social validation may also cause men to not support the change promoted by feminism purley because of rejection. Men may also be rejecting the change brought on by feminism because of sources they deem “credible, trustworthy, powerful, attractive, expert, and similar to themselves” (Jost, NYU). Men and women may feel these sources, even if highly biased, hold truth and logic. With sources to back up their arguments, and support for those arguments, men may be unwilling to accept change. “people resist change when it is advocated by those whom they regard as untrustworthy, unattractive, or dissimilar.” (Jost, NYU)
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