Men Fight For Women’s Rights

1381765742000-SaudiThumbsupFrom Saudi Arabia to Egypt to Iran to India to America – and points between – men are supporting women’s rights.

Over in Saudi Arabia, women are taking to the streets to drive. It’s actually not illegal for women to operate vehicles in the Kingdom. The country just won’t issue driver’s licenses to them. So these “women drivers” simply get licenses elsewhere.

And some Saudi men give two thumbs-up. Video here.

Or, see this parody of Bob Marley’s classic, “No Woman, No Cry” renamed, No Woman, No Drive,” from Alaa Wardi on YouTube

Meanwhile, in India today women and girls are bombarded by sexual harassment and threatened with rape. 12-year-olds attend rape seminars, and a new phone app allows women to double-click the power button to send an SOS and location information to friends and family.

delhi_rape_protest_statisticsBut the bad guys are now facing good guys like “Delhi bikers,” biking enthusiasts who are committed to changing men’s attitudes, and who offered a public apology from Delhi men to Delhi women.

Or, Jonathan Abraham helped found India For Integrity. He says,

In the protests after the Delhi gang rape everyone was talking about punishment for the perpetrators but no one was asking “How can I change and make Delhi better and respect women more?”

He and others have set out to do just that.

Volunteers create safe zone to prevent sexual assault.

Volunteers create safe zone to prevent sexual assault.

An Indian New York Times letter-writer adds,

During the demonstrations after the fatal gang rape on a New Delhi bus, men of all ages took to the streets in equal numbers as women… Watching the country of my birth from afar, I was feeling distraught at what had been done to the young victim. Seeing the men and their outrage was, for me, the saving grace, the reason to feel hope that things would improve, that women would not automatically be blamed or considered victims.

Others respect and aid women in everyday ways. On Indian Airlines, businessmen can be seen holding babies, burping infants, and entertaining toddlers, who are not their own, to give moms a break and a chance to eat.

Meanwhile, at Egyptian political protests, where sexual harassment and rape were common, men used their bodies to create a safe zone for their protesting sisters.

And earlier this year when an Iranian court “sentenced” a man to the “humiliation” of wearing traditional Kurdish women’s clothing in public, other men posted pictures of themselves in women’s wear on social media.

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Masoud Fathi, poet, journalist, political activist, and feminist, put up the first photo with a sentence that became the campaign’s theme: “Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone.”

092512night3_0It all reminded me of the American men who don high heels and “walk a mile in her shoes” to protest rape culture and to support women’s freedom to dress and walk around whenever and wherever they want.

Sometimes it’s individual men like Patrick Stewart – a.k.a. Star Trek’s Capt. Jean-Luc Picard — speaking out against violence against women. Mr. Stewart knows the horrors, having grown up with a violent father. He has made a plea for action, but — “not an action that will make things better in six months’ time or a year’s time but action that might save someone’s life and someone’s future this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning.”

And when Cinnamon Cooper posted on “How to be a feminist without anyone knowing” for Splice Today, she was surprised that a few Princeton men spoke out, asking,

“Can’t men be feminists too?” … “Why are you only writing about what women can do to be feminists? What about us?”

And boy, was I proud of those boys.

I’m proud of them, too. And I’d like to thank them.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Is Sexism Men’s Fault?
Real Men Don’t Beat, Rape Women: A Guy’s View
Male/Female Friendships Help End Rape

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 1, 2013, in feminism, men, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. A good post about good men :D

  2. What a great post in support of women and men!
    The video clip of the woman driving was cool. Have a great weekend, hugs Paula xxx

  3. This is one post that actually made me truly happy for a change. Thank you for it.

  4. This gives me hope. For any group fighting oppression, the support of those considered “normal” is essential.

  5. If only we take one second to put ourselves in females’ shoes, the number of rape, battery, and incest would have gone down. This post is a motivation to all “male feminists” to keep on going on their struggle for women’s right.

    I know we will make it happen!

  6. It takes a brave person to stand up to those in power in Saudi Arabia. They behead people . Maybe they are finally seeing the truth that women deserve the same rights as men. Time to evolve past our insecurities.

  7. It’s amazing to see all the different cultures of men sticking up for women. I just found a picture the other day showing Egyptian Christians forming a protective circle around Egyptian Muslims as they prayed & vice versa. I had no idea that there were so many male feminists outside of the U.S. & Europe. I have a few guy friends who consider themselves to be feminist & are a bit effeminate themselves. They deal with getting called “gay” & aren’t even phased or offended. They just say, in a matter-of-fact way, “I’m straight, but I’m not offended by being called gay, since it’s not a bad thing to be”. Most of my guy friends are very into women’s rights & yet the way they discuss women who are promiscuous or how they dress sometimes is still unsettling to me. Every stride we make in becoming less ignorant of other’s cultures/lifestyles is a step in the right direction, even if that means baby steps.

  8. Mei Yan Anson Lui

    I was consoled by this article as I kept worrying about the sexism in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and India. It is because I thought patriarchy has been dominated in these countries and thus minifying the women rights and status. However, I am glad that the world is really changing that start evaluating a new perception on women. For example, feminism nowadays is not just occur in women’s perceptions, but also in men’s world. Men started doing something to protect women from rapes or humiliations. Furthermore, businessmen in Indian Airlines help mothers to take care of their babies or children for sake of giving mom’s break and a chance to eat. Although it seems kind of wired, it is good to see the rise of women statuses and feminism is spreading to the patriarchy’s world.

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