The original Medium article - Response to this
Yes, because men can't do it, can't "cheat" (as Simone de Beauvoir termed it, use the "escape hatch") and marry into power and money, or (excuse the term) screw their way to the top. Men have to go to war as well--women don't. Men have to work their whole lives away--they have a lot fewer options, certainly not ones which are sanctioned by society. Women should not be mocked for the pain of childbirth or their menstruations--that's cruel and mean. Making fun of people who are drowning if you're able to breathe underwater is also cruel. Women flaunting the fact that they can screw their way (sorry to be so blunt) out of responsibilities and obligations which men simply cannot is ugly, cruel, and mean. Men have to fight their way up the patriarchy, and deal with all the 360-degree bullying 24/7. Women are oppressed by the patriarchy, too, but they don't have to live in it for their whole lives. The Patriarchy is something that primarily oppresses men, it is the hierarchy we have to squeeze into and cannot escape, unlike women (c.f. de Beauvoir), who can use their God-given sexual powers to effortlessly glide in and out of it as they please (and if you don't know the truth of this, you need to do more research). Flaunting this and mocking men for how trapped they are is just cruel and mean. Hilary Clinton talked about applying for law school and the boys who were also applying were begging her to drop out since if she took one of their spots, they would be sent to Vietnam and die. Think about it. There is so much messed up about that anecdote that it's hard to know where to start. Unless you're so wrapped up in your own one-sided political agenda as to be blinded by it, it's obvious that there's a lot of oppression of both genders going on there. "You don't get to go to school, not because you're not smart enough (you are), but that if you get in and not me, then I get taken off to be killed." Where do you start at not being selfish and making the system better? Where do you start?
Wow, that's quite the "both sides" argument. And it's entirely slanted and self-serving! You think patriarchy mainly oppresses men? When has the patriarchy told men they couldn't be something? When has it denied men decision-making power over others? When has it told men that they are merely objects for baby-making and their place is in a domestic role, entirely dependent on their spouse and at the mercy of their whims?
You're living in a self-delusional fantasy, pal. You don't like the idea that as a man, and white to boot, the doors are open for you and objectification and discrimination are not something you deal with. Hence this, "it's harder to be a man!" diatribe. The truth is you have no idea, and if you traded places with a woman for five minutes, you wouldn't survive!
Male Fragility piece by Wil Wheaton
Wow. Since you went straight to personal insults, this is not a discussion and we're just "playing to the crowd." I don't know who you are, if you're really a white male claiming to speak for (some) white males, or a robot, or a nameless Nigerian catfisher, or a group of Korean teenagers, or what, but you have at least proven that one of the most significant accomplishments of "Third-Wave Feminism" is to make it perfectly acceptable to viciously attack perfect strangers on the flimsiest hint of departure from dogma. In other words, on any pretext. The world is less decent, worse off, thanks to you and your ilk. Shame on you!
Case in point: don't you find it a little silly for one white male to be telling another white male that he couldn't survive five minutes as a woman? That's like coöpting what it's like to be a black person in America. That's disgusting. I don't know if that makes you a TERF, on top of everything else, but that may be a whole other question. Perhaps the rest of your little diatribe is similarly flawed. You should be willing to consider this.
I agree, in principle, with everything you say, by the way. I don't think I said anything like "it's harder to be a man." I tend to assume the opposite, but not being a woman, I can't know for certain. I believe my post would be better summarized along the lines of "there are some things women have access to that men don't" and "being a man has some pretty awful aspects." Perhaps you should reread it (if you even read it once).
I have problems with the kind of cookie cutter crypto-pseudo-feminist screeds like some white men seem to trowel out. I can't say "it won't get you laid" because maybe it does. I don't know. One problem is that I believe it won't advance the cause of women's liberation. Another, related to the first, is that women are painted as somehow inferior to men, that everything's harder for women, that their victim status will never change, and they will need hand-outs and special consideration in perpetuity. And it's somehow all men's fault, but we never really say how. None of this is helpful, nor, I believe, correct, so you're going in wrong direction.
It's always good to get back to fundamentals at times like this. Men and women are "equal" in all ways that matter. I consider this to be a scientific fact (it's a fairly basis result of the science of memetics, but that's a whole other thing). Men are on average taller and stronger, but evolutionarily this is probably mainly to impress other men, so a grey area. Women have the superpower of being able to manufacture babies, and since we're mammals, feed those babies. This superpower comes with menstruation, a downside, and the ability to exert powerful control over the other half of the species, potentially an upside. Men's existence is defined solely by the LACK of these superpowers, and also an extreme vulnerability to kicks to the groin, and the ability to urinate from a standing position (a HIGHLY overrated trivial superpower, by the way). More on that in a bit.
We spend millions every year on one-floor elevators and wheelchair ramps for disabled people. As a person with disabilities myself (but hey, I'm male and white, so none of that matters, am I right?) I'm in favor of that policy. But half the population, not some tiny percentage, get pregnant, have to nurse and care for small children, menstruate, and so on. Where are the millions for free daycare, support for nursing at work, unscheduled rest when pregnant, and so on? This is just the obvious stuff that a white male can come up with--I'm sure there's much more, but nobody's talking about it, least of all the self-described feminists. It's all pointing fingers and allegations that "you don't care enough." Such an easy way to avoid responsibility and still look like you're on the right side.
I've put my butt, my career, on the line time and again, pitching things like daycare and menstruation days 生理日 like they have in Japan. Some women support me at executive meetings and talking to HR and such, or quietly voice support afterwards, but some actively resist, just like the "bad men" do, saying it's unfair for women to get "special treatment" and such. Some women seem to think that they have to "act like men" in order to "shatter the glass ceiling" and be accepted in the "Old Boys Network" (which might be equivalent to "the Patriarchy" but more on that later).
I don't see that as "special treatment" (even if an accountant might see it that way). We're all one species, there are certain basic needs which we share, and that's the end of it. No cost-benefit study to be done, say I.
Personally, I rather prefer working with women engineers, for example. Aside from the fact of their being women, which is nice, I can be sure that they're engineers because they wanted to be, they did all the really hard stuff it takes to get there because they wanted to and were good at it, and not because "dad wanted me to" or any of the other dozens of reasons which torture young men. That's just me.
Women don't need "special treatment"! But they have a few, relatively minor, issues to do with their human physiology which it's just plain cruel to continue to ignore (as I wrote--maybe reread my post, I apologize it was a bit long and maybe you got tired). Oh, by the way, in Japan (Tokyo anyway) there's a birth center (産婦人科 a clinic that specializes in childbirth) every couple of blocks. You start to get the impression that Japan is a country that sort of cares about women and their rights. I wish the USA were heading in that direction, and I do what I can to nudge things that way, but it doesn't seem to be happening.
And that's one of my problems with the kind of stuff you wrote, which is pretty typical, is that it doesn't do any of this, it doesn't help, and it's offensive. It places vague blame on some group of people or thing, violently attacks anybody who opposes the rhetoric and dogma, and uses up all the oxygen that should be spent on actually making life better for women, and once we accomplish that, we might be able to look at making things better for men, but not until. I'm convinced it has to be in that order. If there are laws, or attitudes, or misallocation of resources that make things harder than they need to be for women, my answer is "stop doing that." I feel like you're saying that there is something intrinsically inferior or less capable about women. That is your tone. Everything is harder for women, and how dare I suggest that anybody else "has it worse" in any way than women do. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the kind of women I run around with--it just doesn't make sense to me. We can remove obstacles that women face. I think your post and those like it fail to do this. I grew up in Southeast Idaho in the 70s, in other words, the hellish epicenter of misogyny and women's oppression (in North America, at least), so "Yikes!!" Things have gotten much better, which is not to say there is not still a long way to go in terms of laws, de facto practices, and the attitudes still in a lot of people's brains. We need to solve all that, and my problem with what you wrote and the attitude that goes with it is that I don't believe it does that, but it deceptively sounds like it does, which is the worst thing possible.
Again, we're playing to the audience here. This is not a reasonable and rational discussion given the immediate resort to personal insult. Clap for my post and post replies if you want to hear more.
My problem is that there are issues that men face which can never be removed until and unless we fundamentally remake our society, our world, and that may be impossible. Women should not want to be men. Being a man is not being a woman without all the red tape. To say otherwise is a travesty of the suffering of both genders.
Let me try to paint an image. It seems that every year the underwater intake grating at the San Onofrio Nuclear Power Plant needs to be cleaned of seaweed. A scuba diver needs to swim up a tunnel, where there's apparently a lot of radiation, since somebody who does this job is not allowed to do it again (or any other radiation work) for something like four years. But hey, they pay $250,000 for less than an hour's work (because more exposure than that and you'd die). It gets better. Since the intake of seawater cools the reactor, they can't turn off the turbine, so you're in a strong rush of water, and you have to hook yourself onto something while you're removing the seaweed and other debris from the grating. If your hook breaks, or anything goes wrong, you get swept into the turbine and on into the cooling system of the reactor.
I don't know if they "let" women do it. Not that a woman couldn't do it. My ex-wife, for example, could do it tomorrow. She's a highly skilled diver, much more so than I, and it wouldn't be the most demanding job she's ever done (though perhaps the most dangerous, even if you count her years as a racecar driver).
A male diver doing that job, we think things like "he died a brave and noble death," "to get a big reward, you have to take risks," "oh, well, it was a dangerous job," "the insurance will take care of his wife and kids," "he died doing what he loves," and so on.
I'm not really making an argument here, but I feel like there's something we don't like so much about women sacrificing themselves, in war, in dangerous jobs, whatever. Ted Cruz said that drafting our young girls into the military alongside our young men "doesn't make sense."
I'm not sure what you mean when you talk about "The Patriarchy." I assume that it means some kind of "hierarchy of males," which I take to be the horrendous system of bullying, torture, hazing, abject servitude to superiors, willingness (and obligation) to sacrifice oneself, and "I dare you to," "hold my beer," and so on and so on, and how one's only value in the hierarchy is the service one can render to one's superiors. Having no sense of one's own intrinsic value. It's one big trauma bond, and it's pretty ugly and awful, and also quite boring, I mean, most men will probably not want to admit this, and yes, having to be part of this whole game, and while it's often painful (physically and emotionally), sad, empty, terrifying, it's also a lot of the time just quite boring. Being bored and not being able to change anything is a big part of living day to day within the Patriarchy.
Oh, but it gets talked up a lot, how it's "brave," and "exciting," and we give out medals, and prizes, and build statues and have fancy titles, and we do and build and conquer and land on other planets and so on. It almost makes it sound like something worth joining maybe, yes? I doubt many men will admit to this. I'm a sociological researcher, so I have to call a spade a spade or I get nowhere.
Oh, before I forget, homophobia is a big part of it, and you could argue that misogyny and homophobia are closely linked, but that might not be a universal. Again, a whole other topic.
I did cite Simone de Beauvoir from Le Deuxième Sexe and how she pointed to the "escape hatch" and how they can get out of the Patriarchy, that hell that men are trapped in. This is a whole big issue unto itself. Women can come in and out. We shan't be able to dismantle the prejudice about women working, women serving in the military, even things like "equality in marriage" until and unless we come to grips with things like the resentment incurred from men because of this situation. You can't just say "be nice," or "don't fight back," and call it good. This is a huge discussion, and Simone de Beauvoir and many others have already written volumes about it. Please don't kill the messenger as my over-enthusiastic interlocutor has attempted to do. We have to understand this, and we can't just make oversimple, high-sounding slogans about it.
Okay, so if it's not (entirely) "the Patriarchy" then what's the problem? What are we fighting against? I put a lot down to "The Problem of the Legions." Whenever a country gets into a large war and their armies finally return, it's a big problem for the government. See Caesar's Rome, Europe after the Crusades, America after WWII, and WWI (the Bonus Marchers), and Robert Heinlein actually makes a fictional reference to this in Starship Troopers. Thousands and thousands of young men who've spent years fighting together, beating some great enemy, thoroughly trained to use weapons, loyal to a hierarchy of leaders, and all of them with no jobs or places to live. You have to do something with them. Since women have been keeping the home fires burning, running the country, running the factories and offices, the first thing you have to do is take all that away from them, give it to the men.
Women are an easy group to give the shaft to at times like this. Obviously, it creates a "Men are good, superior, women are less than, subservient" feeling, and that's all part of it.
In order to accomplish this disenfranchisement, you have to change the way women view themselves, and the way society views them, and create some new role for them and tell them it's what they deserve, it's all they can do, and they should be happy and fulfilled about it, or that they should be terrified of speaking up, that they will be burned as a witch or a madwoman. This whole process has been going on since the Crusades, in law, literature, everything. We have to turn Rosie the Rivetter and Joan of Arc into June Cleaver.
So, back to my point. The Patriarchy is very, very bad for men. We're so trapped in it that we can't even talk about it. We probably cannot dismantle the Patriarchy or "smash the Patriarchy" as the battle cry goes, for various deep historical and anthropological reasons. We might not even want to (in the near term, anyway). If men are not trapped in rigorous self-perpetuating hierarchical systems, things might descend into chaos, massive endless vendettas, men murdering each other over women, and probably women getting raped a lot (more). Anyway, that's a whole other thing, so try not to freak out about it too much at this point. The existence of male bullying hierarchies, as such, may not necessarily by nature be harmful to women, since as Simone de Beauvoir points out, they are not themselves trapped in them. However, the cultural and emotional baggage generated in order to make women as a group take the fall to solve some kind of socio-economic or military crisis, e.g., the Problem of the Legions, is definitely a problem, perhaps even the main one.
Again, systemic misogyny and male hierarchies may not be the same thing, may not even be strongly correlated. If this is true, then "smash the patriarchy" may not make things better for women, may cause resentment among men and chaos, and make things worse for women.
Fun thought: more women in government, in office, might be good. Governments and other organizations are institutional hierarchies, not organic ones, like "the Patriarchy," and so may be entered (and exited and re-entered) via election, conferring power without disturbing the structure of the organic hierarchy, indeed, an "office" can become part of a hierarchical network but then occupied by anyone elected.
So yes, you're probably right. I am living in a self-delusional fantasy in that I believe that talking about real things and trying to arrive at actual solutions is somehow something to be attempted. For instance, actual women commenting on the kind of solutions I mention above, and men trying to understand and also voice their own concerns (and not "you wouldn't last five minutes as a woman" by the way), and accountants talking about how we can pay for it, among other things.
But maybe none of that will solve anything, so maybe you and I have more in common than the audience might think. Let me know in the comments, folks!
Clap and post replies if you like any of thing, have comments, or even questions. I've only scratched the surface on all of these topics, and apparently it was very badly understood last time. So let's keep it civil, folks.
PS: Interesting contrast between the USSR, America, and Nazi Germany regarding employment of women during the war. The Nazis got women out of the workforce by all kinds of ideology and iconography and propaganda about "German Motherhood" and so on (no doubt backed up by harsh laws), as a thin ruse to get their employment numbers up. If all the women are shamed into leaving the workforce and employment rates double as a result, Uncle Adolf looks pretty good, no? That's what happened. The Americans (and Canadians) on the other hand, encouraged women to get into the factories, and insane levels of production of munitions and tanks and planes were achieved, critical to the Allies winning the war. The Russians, taking it a step further, not only had women working in the factories, overwhelming the Nazis with their tank, aircraft, and munitions production, ultimately rolling them back out of Russia, but women fought on the front lines, including one of the greatest snipers in history, Lyudmila Pavlichencko, with 304 confirmed kills. Towards the end, the Nazis didn't have the troops and they couldn't man the factories thanks to the misogynist ideological corner into which they'd painted themselves, while the allies were rolling over them, and it all came down to how successfully these societies in conflict were able to include and utilize their women citizens. We have the same problem today. We had free daycare for women in WWII, so nobody can say it's impossible today.
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