SOME men fear women. Some fear commitments. Some are even terrified of women overpowering them. But a different kind of fear may be unconsciously affecting the male species—femiphobia, or the fear of actually becoming a woman.

Social scientists are saying that more men are affected with this seemingly harmless trepidation without them knowing it. Surprisingly, its origins are in society’s highly patriarchal tendencies.

Social scientists like Deborah David and Robert Brannon in 1976 even enumerate four characteristics of masculinity: (1) A real man must avoid any feminine behavior; (2) a man must possess wealth, fame, and power; (3) manliness requires toughness and the hiding of emotions; and (4) men must exude an aura of aggression or the willingness to take risks.

On the other hand, it may be because of the male superiority complex that the birth of such apprehensions against the other sex came about.

The bottom line, however, is that even in the sanctuaries of people’s different fears, there exists proof that discrimination and prejudice is ultimately reflected in the male psyche.

Feminist critics like Sandra Gilbert have called for the re-writing and reconstruction of history to include “herstory”. But does it follow that the historians who wrote our so-called “history” are femiphobic? Does it show that our historians were afraid of being called sissies by their contemporaries?

Perhaps they merely wrote mankind’s story based, not on their fears, but on the image that formed in their minds. Then again, fear is an elusive enemy as it is a playful and mischievous guide.

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Whether we are afflicted with femiphobia or not, it is necessary to realize that our fear is not an excuse to continue being chauvinist pigs.

Feminists have a point. The fact that our constitution extends a bit more space for protecting women’s rights shows that the playing field where men and women stand is not even.

I can only imagine a psychiatrist telling us to face our fears and not to let them continue to haunt us. But one thing is for sure, there truly is nothing to fear but fear itself.

And whether it is fear that drives men to be prejudiced or not, it is important to note that discrimination in any form can be regulated or tempered with just an open mind. Man, after all, is given the intellect to comprehend logical equations.

Although our generation may never see another Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, our brethren may have learned enough to apply the same principles on gender issues as well as racial, social, and economic divisions.

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