I’m a privileged white feminist. I write about lady issues because they’re interesting to me and because not enough free-market types are doing it. And when they do it, they do it super badly. Honestly, I think racism is a much bigger issue than sexism in America right now, but I don’t write about it much because I don’t feel qualified to speak on it as a privileged white feminist.
I believe sexism in America is still primarily targeted at women. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think American men still have legitimate, male-specific grievances. So, here are the top 5, according to me.
Girls really don’t need to worry about being creepy. I feel bad when I recoil in fear when a man comes on a little too strong. It’s not fair that because other men violate boundaries and get violent, I’m going to back away when a harmless-but-socially-unaware man gets just a little out of line.
4. Custody/Child Support
The only reliable way to prevent a pregnancy as a man is to get snipped or use a condom. Not using a condom means trusting fully a woman to use birth control correctly or get an abortion, something women routinely lie/change their minds/are ignorant about. Those aren’t really good options. And once a woman gets pregnant, if she keeps it, a man is legally forced to pay out his nose for 18+ years. Did you know that in many states, a judge is legally allowed to confiscate a man’s earnings up to what will put him below the poverty line? In New York state, he’s on the hook for college too. Not cool.
3. Affirmative Action/Quotas
Reverse discrimination is still discrimination.
2. Gendered Expectations
Hearing their whole lives that women are bad at certain things and belong in the home makes it harder for women to succeed at work and in male-dominated fields. But it might be even harder for men to fully embrace and succeed at female-dominated fields, and, perhaps more importantly, in the home, when they hear their whole lives that doing so makes them un-manly. Sure, women are pressured to be feminine. But the taboo of a woman acting like a man is much, much less than the taboo of a man acting like a woman. That’s due to patriarchy telling society that women and womanliness are lesser than men and manliness. But it still sucks for those men who aspire to raise their kids and make a house a home.
1. A Transitioning Economy
This is related to grievance number two. It’s actually a really complicated issue. It starts with the fact that compulsory, assembly-line, one-size-fits-all K-12 education in America really screws boys, worse than it screws girls. That’s part of why women are now earning more degrees than men.
Time was, a man could work and provide for his family without a college degree. That’s no longer the case, due to degree inflation and America’s transition from an agriculture and manufacturing economy to an information and service economy.
Uneducated men are screwed. And the expectation that they will provide financially for their families only screws them further.
So there you have it. Let no one say I hate or don’t care about men. The charge is especially hilarious considering that anyone could tell you (especially my poor father) that I’ve always been absolutely crazy about men. A little too crazy.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Good stab, Cath. If I may comment (what a silly polite phrase… that’s the whole purpose, right?)…
#4 is really #1. Its compounded by, and much worse, than the enumerated #1, #2, and #3. The deck is not only stacked unfairly against men, its a virtual economic revolver in a woman’s hands, backed and loaded by the full force of the state. Its a somewhat taboo topic, not only because its a zombie whistle for the virulent/violent feminists, but also because the nature of sociology conditions males to want other males to step up to support progeny.
If there were one lynchpin that could make a significant difference in leveling the playing fields, it would be giving men and women equal power in their choice of proceeding/participating/supporting children.
Since coerced termination/abortion is not among *our* options, that would likely mean that during the period a woman *could* safely abort she would need to find and legally serve a ‘Demand of Decision’ upon the supposed father, who would then have some period of time (perhaps 60 days, or the end of her ‘safe period,’ whichever is later… not sure how to make it fair to both,) to decide whether he wants in, or not.
If he opts out, he is permanently separated from all aspects and benefits of fatherhood, but in no other way financially responsible for the woman or child.
There needs to be some form of voluntary arbitration as well for the woman who does not want to be a mother, but given that she has become pregnant *WOULD* be willing to carry and deliver (perhaps for a mutually agreed compensation agreement) so that the father can be a father.
Ultimately… our plumbings are all different though… so the artificial social constructs to try to level the playing fields will forever be flawed. The most effective is probably the most natural.
A few of beefs:
#5 – I think girls have to worry about creepiness as well, just in a different way. “Nympho” and “psycho bitch” are things for a reason.
#4 – I did some research on this a while back, and it’s not at all clear to me that bias in the court systems is pervasive: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-meyer/dispelling-the-myth-of-ge_b_1617115.html
#3 – Except that quotas have been struck down by the SCOTUS for public institutions repeatedly: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB124640586803076705
Though private companies can make quotas if they wish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Steelworkers_v._Weber
I’m not sure how prevalent this is.
#2 – “But the taboo of a woman acting like a man is much, much less than the taboo of a man acting like a woman.”
I think trans* men and women are probably equally discriminated against. That being said, I think that discrepancy does happen for the behavior of cisgender people.
Europe is about to institute gender quotas for all non-exec boards for publicly held companies.
You expect me to care about things that happen outside the US? Psha. 😛
In all seriousness, that is a good point. I just get the impression that most of the men I hear complaining about this stuff are Americans.
Before my libertarian days, a supervisor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wanted to hire me, but he was told he couldn’t because I am a white male and they were short on minorities.
What about dating norms (only men are expected to pursue a relationship, men are expected to pay for the bulk of dating expenses, men are expected to propose an engagement, etc.)?
this is why i’m gay…go dutch, baby
Matt J Scroggins
As a Creepy(5) and Bitchified(2) male I completely agree with this.
I agree with much of this…I’ve been very focused on masculinity constructs because I don’t believe feminism can succeed without bringing men into the discussion. I want to knock down some of those gendered expectations on both sides. I agree with the spirit of affirmative action but I don’t believe it has worked the way it was supposed to. I would actually say classism and poverty are bigger problems than either race or gender, but they are all related. I don’t think we should hesitate to speak about racism because we have privilege. I actually think that just as women need men to be feminists, white people absolutely have to acknowledge the problem of racism if anything is to improve. We do have to understand that we come from a privileged perspective, and we have to be willing to be called on it, and admit when we’re wrong. We can’t learn if we don’t try.
Women don’t belong in the military…….more than 50% couldn’t do three chin-ups in the latest Marine physical fitness test. The Marines are debating solving the problem by lowering the standards. Women also shouldn’t be police officers. Whenever a woman on patrol encounters a problem she immediately calls male officers to the scene. This cuts efficiency down by 50%. Women shouldn’t be firefighters. Same physical limitations.
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