Sunday, October 12, 2014

5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men

From AlterNet:

If you have a scrap of progressive politics in your bones, it's no surprise to you that sexism hurts women. Like, duh. That's kind of the definition of the word.

But we don't talk as much about how sexism hurts men. Understandably. When you look at the grotesque ways women are damaged by sexism—from economic inequality to political disenfranchisement to literal, physical abuse—it makes perfect sense that we'd care more about how sexism, patriarchy and rigid gender roles affect women than we do about how they affect men.

But men undoubtedly get screwed up by this stuff, too. Not screwed up as badly as women, to be sure... but not trivially, either. I care about it. And I think other feminists—and other women and men who may not see themselves as feminists—ought to care about it, too.

More here.

Patriarchy isn't individual men.  It is the cultural, political, economic, and institutional ramification of the fact that men continue to dominate society at all levels.  This definitely plays itself out in the form of individual men, in interpersonal relationships, but it is definitely more of a zeitgeist or attitude permeating the very air we breathe.  It affects us all.  Of course, men get a lot of rewards from this, a lot of privilege.  And women take the brunt of it all.  Indeed, patriarchy offers very few rewards or privileges, if any, to women: instead, women are oppressed by patriarchy.

But so are men.  In different and obviously less destructive ways, of course, but patriarchy DEFINITELY diminishes and oppresses men, too.  As the author of the linked essay observes, men have a stake in ending patriarchy, too, if only for their own self-interest.  Patriarchy, as an informal but omnipresent social system, hurts us all, and I have long been of the opinion that what benefits I get from it just aren't worth the cost, to me, to other men, to boys who will inherit such attitudes whether they want them or not.  Definitely not worth the cost to my fellow human beings who aren't men.

Really, I'm just sick of this shit.  I'm sick of the ongoing question of "what it means to be a man."  I'm sick of righteously aggrieved women calling me out, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, for my own perceived sexism.  I'm sick of trying to figure out what's sexist and what isn't.  I'm sick of men siding with men and women siding with women in knee-jerk response to divisive issues.  I'm sick of men, which sometimes includes me, being threatened by women asserting their rights as human beings.  I'm sick of liberals ganging up on people who just don't know any better, instead of trying to help them understand. I'm sick of men and women alike reviling the word "feminist" even while they support everything feminists believe.  I'm sick of the whole damned thing.

I just want to do the what's right.  I just want the patriarchy to end.  I just want us to find a way to be equal.  But patriarchy seems to grip us, all of us, around our throats in ways we barely recognize.  It's deeply embedded in all of us.  I have no idea how to unwind it all.  Simply desiring an end to patriarchy isn't even a start.  But I know that until men do strongly desire an end to patriarchy, it will continue.

We've all got to get on the right side of history.