Planned Parenthood president discusses if men can be feminists

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Jeffrey Hons, CEO of Planned Parenthood South Texas, talks to about 15 students on how men can be feminists March 7 on the fourth floor of Moody. Hons discussed his experiences being a gay male feminist. Mitchell Gawlik

Women still paid less than men, he said.

By Michael Smith

Jeffrey Hons, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Texas, said systemic inequality still exists at the “Can Men Be Feminists?” platica hosted by SAC Men Empowerment Network March 7 in Moody Learning Center.

Hons addressed police brutality as an example of abusing power.

“My father told me that as an officer, you should never draw your gun unless you have assessed the situation and can see there is someone who is alive right now who probably shouldn’t be,” he said. “If you cannot say that with certainty, then leave the damn gun in the holster.”

Hons then pointed out the imbalance of men’s and women’s wages as an example of inequality.

“Full-time women employees back in my day made 62 percent of the dollar every hour,” he said. “Now they make 80 and a half cents of the dollar every hour.”

Hons dismissed this slow progress as an argument men would use to oppose his stance.

“For all the men out here who think that’s great, you go out and work for the 80 and a half cents,” he said. “How would you like that?”

Hons said people should continue to push for change regardless of the progress made over the past few decades.

“This is all occurring right now in a world where women get more than 50 percent of the college degrees in the country,” he said. “So why aren’t the women making a dollar and a nickel for every dollar that men are making?”

Hons continued to speak on the unfair treatment of women, including the recent enhancement of rape kits and political figures who are survivors of rape, such as U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, former Air Force squadron commander.

“She was raped by a superior officer while serving this nation,” he said.

Hons said the problems in this country are caused by people in power who are afraid of losing it.

“We have to understand that with the structures that exist, not all people are given the opportunities,” he said. “Some people do not have the decision-making authorities that other people have.”

Hons said knowing of the wrongdoings that occur is what led him to become a feminist.

“I will be damned If I spend my life on this planet allowing this crap to continue,” he said. “I don’t care how small my life is on this planet. In the shadow of my life, this won’t fly anymore.”

Hons said that men can be feminists by taking a stance for change instead of allowing this current process of inequity to continue.

“I have to take my unearned privilege and my unearned strength in this world to deconstructing this crap,” he said.

Hons said that being a feminist is caring about the mistreatment of a stranger just as much as you would a relative.

“If that happened to me, my nieces and nephews, or my mother, it wouldn’t be OK,” he said. “Therefore, it is not OK for whoever it just happened to.”

Hons has also worked with family planning, sexual health and women’s health care since 1989.


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