If, like me, you’re a child of the internet, than you’ll know the current topic well. If you’re not then you’ll be pleased to hear gender equality has been achieved. Yay!
You’ll also be disgusted to hear that all of men’s fears about feminism have been realized. Women have been given such power in society that it is now men who are being smothered under the crushing high heeled foot of oppression.
At least that’s the attitude of a rather large chunk of the population of reddit and various other internet communities.
*Disclaimer: Before the downtrodden men of the web jump down my throat, I am aware that this group of males, with whom you so unfortunately share a gender, is not a correct representation of all mankind and that many of you are infact decent people who do not share the views of these misguided, “friend-zoned”, man-children.*
The whole concept of misandry is so flawed it’s hard to know where to start. Misandry is really just defensive misogyny in a fancy hat.
Men are hiding their anger and hatred toward women behind indignation over a largely imagined hatred toward them. I say “largely imagined” because as soon as they voice these opinions the hatred does indeed become very real.
I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that it seems to be primarily white men between 20-35 who go on about this shit. You know, the least oppressed demographic you can find. It’s like a reaction to they’re increasing loss of privilege. They don’t feel special anymore and have to take it out on someone. They feel like everyone else has something to complain about and damn it they want to bitch too! Why focus on gender? They feel emasculated? Obviously. Mommy issues? Maybe. Getting laid? Almost definitely not.
The problem with the whole idea of men’s rights is that these guys are somehow under the impression that they’re the victims of society. The society they’ve dictated throughout human history. They blame women for issues they’ve brought upon themselves.
They like to bring up domestic abuse against men, and rape against male victims. Not to make light of men who are abused because that shit ain’t cool. Abuse against anyone is unacceptable, but statistics say most victims are women and that’s probably why you don’t hear a lot about it. Men say that’s just because men are less likely to report it. I agree that a man would be less likely to report domestic abuse or rape, especially at the hands of a woman because they don’t want to sound like a pussy. Why would they feel like a pussy? Because the masculine stereotypes men relish in say they would be. For the record, I think anyone that stays in an abusive relationship is a pussy.
At least I can understand that argument. I know guys, like real life people, who have tried to argue the average women has it easier than the average man. We get special treatment apparently. Like maternity leave. Because apparently paternity leave isn’t a thing. And even when it is a thing it’s not as long as maternity leave. Because you know, dads have post baby vaginal tears too and you can’t breast feed without dad around to supervise.
We’re also more likely to get full custody in cases of divorce than our male counter parts. This is true and of course it’s not right. This has to do with the enduring stereotype that women are all nurture and babies. Bearing children and cleaning house is what we’re good at and what we should stick to. You know the stereotype enforced by the male patriarchy. If a perk from this stereotype is “we’re more likely to get saddled with the wailing poop machine that destroyed our bodies and dictates every aspect of our lives from here on out” you can have it guys.
The most fucked up thing about the men’s rights “movement” is the implication that women’s rights have been fully realized. Just hearing a guy say that “feminism is pointless” or that “sexism doesn’t exist” is enough to piss me off. A man saying that sexism is no longer a thing is like me saying that racism is over.
As a white woman I personally do not encounter a whole lot of racism in my day to day life because of course I don’t. I’m white.
I was lucky enough to be born into the most privileged race in the world and I acknowledge this. As much as I try to understand what the world is like to someone who isn’t white I can’t. I have an idea what they go through but having an idea is not the same as knowing. Just because I don’t regularly see racism and people don’t discriminate against me because of my skin pigment doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist. The more I think about it, my whiteness probably makes me unqualified to be saying anything about racial prejudice.
The same goes for sexism. You’re a man so you don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. You can try to understand but you’ll never really know the differences in the way you’re treated unless you’ve experienced being a woman. As a man you aren’t going to be as adept at spotting sexism as a woman is. And that’s not your fault. Something you see no problem with might actually have some strong anti-woman undertones without you’re noticing.
It’s true that in terms of gender equality we’ve come a long way in the last hundred years or so. We can vote, we can hold office, we have the right to birth control, and sexual harassment is no longer publicly acceptable. I will never know the kind of struggles my grandmothers or even my mother experienced and I’m thankful for that. Things are pretty good these days but we aren’t there yet.
Sexual harassment still happens, many occupations still pay women less than their male colleges (77 cents to the dollar in the U.S.). Women are still disproportionately represented in sciences, the media industry (36% of all jobs in creative media are held by women.), corporate industries (women being in 32% of managment roles and 18% being partners of in major positions), and politics (according to Wikipedia “As of October 25, 2013, the global average of women in national assemblies is 21.5%”).
A common excuse I hear is that it’s because women just aren’t as interested in these fields as men which may be true. I wonder how much that has to do with social attitudes, lack of female role models, and the allure of spending your life in a testosterone drenched work field. All of the worlds most influential industries are still for the most part a boys club where men are more likely to be hired or promoted.
When I was studying film in University I was in a male dominated program. I was more than once the only girl on a crew. When in that kind of environment it’s intimidating and you can’t help but feel out of place. In my first term if I wanted to be heard or take a leadership role I had to be a bit of a bitch. None of the guys in my classes were assholes, or deliberately did anything to make me feel that way it’s just kind of how it goes.
I know I wasn’t the only girl who felt that way because on one project my fellow female students advocated for an all female crew. I along with some other girls chose not to participate. The guys in the class were defensive about it and I didn’t want to risk alienate myself from the majority of the class.
Even with all the inequality in the work force, these days the most common form sexism takes is in societal attitudes. Objectification, slut shaming and victim blaming are a big part of it. What it comes down to is society being uncomfortable with female sexuality. Women being in charge of their own bodies and making their own decisions about when they have sex and who they have sex with is really what guys have a problem with when they’re complaining about being “friend-zoned”.
They think that they should be rewarded with sex for putting effort into a friendship with a woman and they hate that nothing they do can make that decision for her. So they get mad. They call her and (often) all other women “bitches” and “cunts” because as it turns out Hollywood lied to them and there’s no magic password or sequence of events to get her to spread her legs.
We can go out by ourselves at night without a chaperone but if we do and we get raped there’s gonna be someone around to insist that we “were asking for it”. Everyone knows a girl can’t go out all dressed up, get her buzz on, and interact with strangers in any capacity and expect to not get raped.
We’re still being repressed. If I wasn’t repressed there’s no way I would spend half the amount of money I do on cosmetics and clothing. For centuries a woman’s value was based on how great of a decoration she made and those pressures to live up to an impossible ideal of womanhood are still kicking around. These men’s rights advocates would argue they’re under pressure too. Bitch please. Yes, you are also expected to conform to certain, muscular, standards that for most are unrealistic but that in no way takes away from women’s struggles. It’s great to want to add to the conversation but it’s not ok to try to derail it.
You know when you’re allowed to be mad at women for the unrealistic body standards you’re subjected to? When it’s women who are profiting off of your insecurities. You might be buying expensive clothes and gym memberships to impress women, but those are images sold to you by other men. You know, the men who we’ve already established are in charge of every major corporation pretty much ever…