Meet Our Allies: Interview with Kenneth Reyes
Every week, WE Int. highlights men who support gender equality and women's empowerment.
This week's #HeSupports interview is with Kenneth Reyes! Read our exclusive interview with Kenneth, discussing how men can benefit from supporting gender equality.
You were one of the first males to come to our general meeting. What made you interested in joining the meeting?
I wanted to show my support for a long-overdue organization in UTokyo. As everyone knows, the university's female population has been stuck at 20 percent for a while now. Among the faculty and other positions of power, I think it's even lower. An organization that looks out for women deserves the support of all like-minded members of the university.
What do you think about the gender inequality issue in Japan compared to your home country?
In the Philippines, the sexes are much more equally represented in schools, the workplace, and positions of power. Most men don't think twice about being under a female boss, and it is taken for granted that girls will go to college and wives would want a career. It was quite jarring for me to transfer from a university of majority female professors to one of almost no female professors. However, the Philippines remains backward with respect to the Catholic cult around female chastity and male virility. A Filipino man would have no qualms marrying a highly accomplished woman, but everything changes if she is not a virgin on her wedding day. Male infidelity is acceptable, female infidelity is unforgivable.
Is there any gender-related issue you’re particularly interested in?
I have a morbid fascination with the men's rights movement -- red pillers, incels, Jordan Peterson, etc. -- who believe that it's actually straight men who are being oppressed in society today. It's a symptom of the intensified tribalism of the Internet age: since people holding similar views can more easily find each other, echo chambers tend to form that push people into more and more extreme views. The men's rights movement is a small but seemingly growing community, and I'm worried it's starting to seep out into the real world. People who care about gender equality ought to be vigilant towards this.
How do you think men can benefit from a gender equitable world?
I believe diversity is good in principle. People are bundles of virtues and flaws, and when they interact with each other they learn more about themselves -- which parts are the virtues and which parts the flaws. Echo chambers are the death of personal growth. If half the population remains "invisible" to the other half, we end up losing a large part of the human experience. This is terribly important because solving problems as a society requires a well-honed ability to empathize with others.