In Defense of Men.

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Mar 10, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

When did it become okay for women to be sexist?

I like men.

Oh, I don’t mean just like that.

I value men. I value my friendships with men, the contrast of masculinity to femininity. And yes, I know we all have both. And yes, we’re all equal. But I don’t pretend that being of equal value means that we are the same. We are different. And vive la différence!

I’ve noticed something disturbing lately.

A male friend was telling me a story about when a female yoga teacher told him in the middle of a class that no shirts were allowed. Everyone laughed and he rolled with it, and made a joke about not wanting to make anyone feel insecure. No big deal, right?

Another friend told me about a female colleague who routinely puts him down and tells him his work is “mostly dumb shit.”  If he says nothing, she keeps tearing him down—often in front of other co-workers. If he speaks up for himself, he’s told he’s being too sensitive.

I asked another friend I consider a gentleman, a good guy, if he had ever experienced anything like this. He sort of sighed and looked uncomfortable for a minute. Then, he reminded me that our mutual friend was in the habit of calling him “dumbass” and “f*ckface” instead of his name most of the time. He said he’s thought about telling her it hurts his feelings, but didn’t want to deal with the confrontation and more ridicule.

I started asking around and realized most men I asked had some anecdote about being verbally slammed by the women they knew, and then often called “too sensitive” if they bothered to stick up for themselves.

The sharing of these anecdotes all ended the same: a shrug. A slight bite of the lip. A “this kind of sucks but I’m not sure what to do about it” expression. Maybe they don’t seem like a big deal to you. Men can take it, right?

But what if the genders were reversed?

What if a male yoga teacher told a female student to strip down to her sports bra if she wanted to stay?

What if a man routinely disparaged his female co-worker’s ideas and put her down?

What about a man calling his female friend “bitch” or “c*nt” instead of her name?

How do we feel about it then? Starts to feel like a bigger deal, doesn’t it?

I’ve also noticed an ever increasing tendency—particularly among feminists or equally empowered women–to treat men as targets, not equals. Man up. Suck it up. Idiot. Jerk. Bastard. And it goes downhill from there. When did women being empowered start to equal beating up and devaluing men?

Why did God make men? Because a vibrator won’t take out the trash.

Why can’t men get mad cow disease? Because they’re all pigs.

Why do men name their penises? Because they don’t like the idea of having a stranger make 90% of their decisions.

All of these—and these were a few of the kinder ones—were from a chain email from a woman I know considers herself a feminist. Why the hate? Why does female empowerment have to go hand in hand with emasculation?

What’s even worse than the blatant, tacky jokes is what masquerades as mindfulness. A woman writes about her sexual experimentation–she’s empowered. A man does the same—he’s a pig. If a woman posts pictures of a shirtless guy, the comments are “more, more, more!” If a man posts pictures of a woman in provocative dress, he’s likely to have a mob of angry commenters after him. If a woman speaks up about rape, we rally behind her. If a man speaks out—it’s often a joke. Women being stalked or victims of domestic abuse? We react in horror and want to help. If a man…oh that’s silly! How funny, poor guy–hahah!

Being strong should have nothing to do with cutting someone else down.

I’ve learned a few things from the men I know. Things that make me pause before I respond to them as if they were made of bricks and steel instead of flesh and blood like me.

1. Men want to be listened to and heard. In our culture, many men have this need filled exclusively by the women in their lives.

2. Men want to be valued. It doesn’t feel good when your opinions are met with a slap in the face–verbal or otherwise.

3. Men are vulnerable and insecure and our society says it’s not okay for them to be either of those things. They want friendships and relationships where it’s okay to be vulnerable.

4. Men want to be respected.

5. Men want lots of different things and can’t be pigeonholed into any bullet-pointed internet list of what men want or who they are—any more than women can.

Most women I know want the things on that list too. Men want many of the same things we women do. And they aren’t from Mars or Venus or whatever the hell that book was. And they aren’t just women with penises and more body hair. We are different. But it isn’t the difference of silk and steel. The ways that they are stronger don’t mean they can’t be broken. The ways that they are different aren’t flaws.

(Photo: Pinterest)

Men aren’t made of bricks any more than we are delicate flowers.

It’s about complementing each other. It’s about being stronger because we work together. It’s the yang to the yin. It’s the jigsaw puzzle edges where each of us are different and the same. Beyond gender, beyond sexual orientation–it’s about respecting each other and delighting in the ways we come together and move apart. Enlightenment and empowerment are not about making anyone feel like they are less.

Let’s stop tearing each other down.


About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on and Barnes & She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


172 Responses to “In Defense of Men.”

  1. Ben says:

    Thank you so much for writing this.

  2. karlsaliter says:

    Just posted to Elephant Spirituality on Facebook.

  3. Robert says:

    Wonderful, Kate. Thank you for this. :)

  4. karlsaliter says:

    Awesome, Kate.
    Very perceptive.

    Have you read "Stiffed" by Susan Faludi?
    She wrote "Backlash, an early bible of feminism, then later took a solid look at male culture.
    Her message, essentially, is that money drives the bus, and it knows no gender.
    Men no more have a handle on this thing than women, and the "man's world" is a farce.

    Great article, hope it seeds some discussion.

  5. yogasamurai says:

    Feminism is largely a white middle class women's movement, with a distinctive ideological twist. So is the American yoga movement for the most part. Generally speaking – and I'm generalizing – Black, Latin and Asian women don't "diss" their men the way White women do. They come from "we" cultures more than "me" cultures, and they know their people have been divided and disempowered enough? Of course, there are real issues of sexism in every culture – but often discussed and fought over very differently.

    I would also say that there's generally a real rise in "Hate" speech of various kinds in our culture – and whether women, including feminist women, want to admit or not, they are now very much a part of that new culture. There's also a new coarseness to our culture that those of us who are a bit older are constantly surprised by. Just part of the ongoing moral entropy of our times perhaps.

  6. yogasamurai says:

    The basic answer to your question is easy:

    Every "out" group that wants more power proclaims a "universal" ideology – that is, "our liberation from oppression will free everyone, including our oppressors" – to rally support behind its new system of domination.

    Kind of like the rump Anusarans thinking they're going to free the entire Yoga World now?

    This is human nature – our lack of "intrinsic goodness" – or perhaps our inability to access and consistently preserve that goodness, which is there.

    Evey "ism" – Marxism and feminism, no less than any other – is about power, first and foremost. And it's always one sub-class or demographic slice even within the signified group that carries the torch – to install itself on a throne of self-glory.

  7. This. And i'll tell you where it hurts the most – sitcoms. I can't begin to tell you how sick I am of having women assume that I'm Homer Simpson.

  8. Kevin says:

    Very well put, you said what I have been struggling to put into words. I have been fortunate to have been spared some of the blatant abuse you outline in the examples, but I have seen it happen. Some women (fortunately, not all) seem to feel that to make it in a so-called "man's world" they have to behave like the men whose very behavior they decry. It is boring at best and supremely degrading at its worst. I don't appreciate being insulted by my male peers in an 'alpha-dog' environment, so I fail to understand why some women would really think its okay. It isn't. That one group (in this case, women) has traditionally and unfortunately been subjected to degrading behavior by another group (in this case, men) does not justify, excuse or validate the reversal of the degrading behavior.

    It is about power, and the pursuit of power, of dominance, is ugly no matter who is pursuing it. I'm not Ted Bundy, I'm nit Superman, I am me…and I am fortunate to have a woman in my life who thinks that is just fine!

  9. dulcy says:

    give me your list of poor names that originated in being used to slam men…then give me your list of names that originated to slam women…I love men dearly but I don't tolerate racist gender games…then take a look at the percentage of violence towards women sexually verses towards men…I warn my daughters about men…men you trust sometimes will rape you…that is true…also look up domestic violence…which sex is being murdered more in America in domestic disputes…which sex is totally judged about numbers of partners…be honest…sexism needs to be called racism…because that is what it is…go to Egypt…or India…see how you are treated as a woman…I guarantee you will notice a difference…I'm proud to be an American woman…and proud of the women and men in this country who have fought hard for equal rights and equal pay…now google the percent of female governners…female presidents…female senators…female representatives…we are not represented in congress in correlation to our population…racism towards women is accepted and so inbred into our culture it is hard to recognize…there are more women in America that speak out about poor behavior of men because our country has amazing freedom of speech culturally…in many countries it is accepted not to ever speak out…but to ignore impunities against women…almost 100% of the time when a woman is raped there is victim blaming…I read recently of an 11 year old being gang raped and the authorities claimed she dressed more like a woman…so…when things chAnge for the better for women…I expect to hear women speaking out…god bless the men and women who work for women all over this world…sexism is the only acceptable racism left…and that indeed is very sad~

  10. Dulcy says:

    ps your cmments about male and female rape absolutely make no sense at all…almost all rape victims are treated are blamed…no one I know of has ever thought that the rape of a man was a joke…perhaps those that do do not know what male rape includes…it is gruesome…

  11. Dulcy says:

    I do not appreciate the assumption that people who are feminist are anti male…that is ridiculous! I've many male feminist friends….as far as I know they are not male haters…

  12. Shadowgirl says:

    This is not sexism. It's people being assholes to one another. Sexism — in speech — is insulting some one in a way specific to their sex. Instead of calling a guy a fuckface, you'd call him a dick, a cock, fag, fairy, a cocksucker, pussywhipped, etc.If it's a woman, then instead of calling her a fuckface, you'd call her a slut, cunt, pussy, twat,dyke, dumb blonde, whore…. ever notice there are more sex-specific insults for females than for males? No accident there.
    I would call the fact that it's become more socially acceptable to see guys as "just being dumb guys" or "clueless guys" a better example of reverse sexism. However, even that was a stereotype mostly created and promulgated by male-produced tv: "The World According to Jim," etc.
    And, feminism is of course not a white middle class woman's movement. Feminisms — plural — originated out of the abolition movement, and the second wave orginated from the civil rights and New Left movements of the 1960's..There HAS been plenty of racism and classism among feminists, and many of them are brilliantly critiqued in the 1987 book This Bridge Called My Back.

  13. SQR says:

    Really enjoyed this piece. The stuff you mention seems pretty obvious to me and most of my friends, but it wasn't always. When I was younger, I noticed more of the behavior you're talking about, and though it seemed like an intellectual trap, I didn't have the means to articulate that to some of my friends who were caught up in it. I think the analogy to labor unions you used in a subsequent comment is a good one. As I (and my circle of friends) aged, these things more or less worked themselves out, so I guess in addition to addressing social norms we're talking about basic emotional maturity.

  14. heather says:

    LOVE THIS! I don't like bullying in general, but it's horrible when women emasculate their men! Really irks me.

  15. guest says:

    I am surprised the poster who felt J Peters post "condescending" didn't show up yet. Because he thinks men are ok and don't need any help or support. Your post is a great example that he is wrong. I consider myself feminist and I will stand up for a man if he is treated the way you mentioned here. just like I would help a woman.

  16. timful says:

    One of the biggest challenges I feel as a man is the expectation that I will play a traditional masculine role in romantic relations. Of course, socially skillful people have no problem adopting different roles in different situations. But, this is hard if you are trying to live from the heart. One or the other must be a charade. What does this do to us?

  17. melodie says:

    Thank you for writing this. I feel like sometimes I tear down the man in my life. Expect them to man up and so on. I want to change that. Thank you

  18. Seth says:

    This is a weird article. I agree with others that it should be more well-phrased and articulated.

  19. Lorin says:

    Anyone who truly embraces the feminist movement recognizes many of these arguments as part of that project. No one should be derided solely due to his/her sex. Language is important and can be used to disturb, or perpetuate, systems that limit the life possibilities of men and women. The U.S. is still a patriarchal culture, but that does not mean that specific men do not experience negative treatment in spite of – or because of – being male.

    It doesn't hurt anyone for us to be reminded to treat each other with compassion and dignity. If it's not a reminder you need, then good for you and move along.

  20. I am not going to sit here and pretend I know a bunch about feminism, or the movement, or whatever, I think this post is more about defining the way we treat one another on a very basic human level. Take away all the labels, and the "articulation", and the phrases, the stereotypes, etc.., strip it down, bare bone, that's what needs to be examined. The way we treat each other and the excuses we make for our behavior. In the end, that's not ok, and that's what I take away from this.

    Thanks Kate!

  21. Karl Saliter says:

    You are right, Jen. When Kate said “It’s about complementing each other. It’s about being stronger because we work together.” it was an effective summary. The need to love, tolerate and support each other is


    From a discourse grounded in mutual respect, genuine liberation emerges.

  22. Andréa Balt says:

    In defense of Kate:

    The very fact that someone like Let'sDoBetter (to quote one of the meanies above, unless it's the same one changing names – chameleon issues?) would take this post as an offense to whatever (womanhood, manhood, human race…) makes it only too clear that reality is not set in any way, but created by us with every breath we take. Not only did I not find this offensive or inappropriate or poorly stated, but after finishing all I wanted to say was "amen" because I know and care for a couple of those abused men, and it hurts to see them get hurt.

    You've written from the heart again about overcoming our differences and not working against each other but together – the true essence of feminism (not slaughter men, but appreciate them for who they are just as we ask them to do the same with us).

    So all I can really say is "thank you". I don't think your post is "out there" or that your arguments are not clear. It's not a PhD thesis, it's a short and compassionate post on a real issue happening to hundreds of men. It's well explained and stated clearly and if anything, it moves and inspires me to listen more to all those men I may have hurt with any of those socially praised and accepted, so-called "feminist"remarks we often and rather carelessly throw at them.

    It's a tough world for everyone. Sometimes we write in defense of women, others of men, others of animals, nature, ourselves… we're here to care. You can't say it all in one sentence, you can't "feel" the entire elephant, only a part. And obviously the devil is in all of us at some point. But so is God.

    So, I'm keeping this: "Being strong should have nothing to do with cutting someone else down." I'm definitely emailing the Sacred Feminine in all of us so she gently includes it in a new & more comprehensive version of the Feminist Manifesto – as the first and most important point, with a side note that says: "Read this, eat this, memorize this, before you read/do/say anything else and start creating a devastated world through your broken glasses, you sad & lovable creature!"

  23. Feminothing says:

    Feminism is a dangerous and divisive dogma. It is (or certainly seems to be) about hatred of men.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of men who support abortion rights and hate what’s going on in Virginia and other states where women’s rights are being restricted and narrowed excessively.

    Feminism has no mutual inclusion with women’s rights because there are many men and both-gender libertarians who accept the same views as feminism proclaims yet dispense with the Marxist bullcrap and passionate misandric ideology.

  24. Branáin says:

    On behalf of men everywhere (yes, because I am the Lorax and I speak for the men), thank you.

    I have met women who love to attack men in the ways you described, but I also have met men who are equally demeaning to women, and people who put down other races, dietarians, animals, car choices, etc.

    Mother Theresa said that she would never attend an anti-war rally, but would gladly go to a peace rally. You can't define yourself or your life as Not-X (unless you are practicing yoga, in which case you define your entire self as Not-my-body, not-my-emotions, etc.). You will never improve yourself by putting down others. I think we all need to be more mindful of how our comments or actions degrade others, no matter how subtle it is.

    Be careful, you could start out making fun of others for the laugh factor, but may one day find yourself labeled "that crazy b@#$&!" that no one wants to be around.


    P.S. Some days I am a brick…not quite a brick house, but still a brick.

  25. ValCarruthers says:

    This is such a terrific article, Kate. And so necessary. In the early Seventies when Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and others led the Feminist movement, they knocked down some major doors on behalf of women's equality. Maybe at that time it was necessary to say things things like the classic, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

    What's sad is that we've gone from slogans like the above to mindlessly abusive male-bashing. Slamming men in retaliation for what? Post feminism was supposed to usher in a brave new era of understanding and interdependence between men and women. For women to *come out on top* we must celebrate and support the men who are right there with us, whether we always see eye-to-eye. Otherwise this post-post-feminist world is not a pretty sight.

    Bless you, Kate, for speaking from your mind—and your heart.

  26. […] not sure whether I’m more excited for this to come out or The Hobbit. (Yes, I’m that kind of girl). Take one of my all-time favorite books, add a bunch of indie […]

  27. warriorsaint says:

    Oh, Kate, I am so with you on this! I grew up in a famiy of brothers and a father I adored. I could never understand all the vitriole of the early Feminist Movement and have never identifed myself as a feminist as a result.

  28. […] bitch, if you will: one century we’re witches, another, men-slaughterers… Did anyone say balance, s’il vous plait? Can reason and heart go out to dinner just tonight, if not every other […]

  29. Stacey Durant says:

    Let's just call this what it is; hate speech. I just wish more feminists could admit that some of us are engaging in hate speech against men, Denying it does not mean it isn't happening, it just means that we lack the courage to see it, admit it is happening, and stand up against it.

    If we can't even do that, then how can we claim that our movement stands for equality?

  30. leader says:

    Hello I really liked reading your blog. I’m considering beginning my own blog soon Thanks.

  31. […] And as for bitchy women, I, for one, would like to formally apologize on behalf of all women for fee… My heart just ached for you when you said, “We are centering the show on two very damaged men. What makes them damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.” […]

  32. […] no one right way to be a real man. Just like women, men are lots of different things. But I think we could all agree on this. The DNA Foundation started The Real Men Campaign to bring […]

  33. Josh says:

    Thank you for posting this. I have had a female friend laugh in my face when i told her i was cat called by a bunch of drunk women saying this like " show us your small dick" or " come back, what are you gay" yet one of the biggest things i hear feminist women state is the verbal abuse they receive. In highschool I had my butt grabbed all the time( more then i have toes and fingers) by girls that thought it would turn me on to them, that kinds of logic should have been left in the Mad Men days. It does happen to both sides the only difference is men don't have anyplace we know is safe, anyplace we feel we are free from judgement.

  34. I have to say, you've addressed a lot of issues I commonly complain about. I feel people mistake privilege for invulnerability, and that can lead to this kind of callous behavior.

    I went to a panel that talked about sexism in gaming, and when a young man asked the group what they felt should be done about the standards put upon men to be always strong, brave, and bounding with muscles like an archetype hero, the women running the panel responded that it was 'not their problem' because women are less privileged than men overall. I am a woman, and while I am not as well read on the issue as many here, I have to disagree with this attitude. Beyond the fact that furthering equality for women helps lessen the burden of unfair standards upon men, I find it just the wrong frame of mind to pitch us v. them to people who are actually of the mindset to further the equality cause.

  35. Erik says:

    What a nice article.

  36. Anthony Zarat says:

    Thanks. Men want and need women to stick up for us. Men and boys face very scary outlooks in life. Men and boys are the vast majority of the homeless, the victims of violence, substance abusers, suicide victims, accident victims, high school dropouts, incarcerated persons, and parents denied contact with their children. Women are almost twice as likely to go to college as men, live more years, enjoy more time off, and report higher levels of happiness.

    Men and boys need help. Somehow, feminists became the #1 enemy of men and boys. We desperately need women to stick up for us, visibly and publicly, to reverse this trend. This is our darkest hour.

  37. Mark Delignie says:

    I appreciate modern time articles like this, but it's rather late in the game already. The damage has already been done to our society. Women nowadays seem to have a free pass to disrespect men if they "feel" wronged while boys are taught from early age to respect women at all cost, no matter how rude or unsympathetic a woman behaves.

    I wonder where all the so-called "egalitarians" were a few decades ago in the 80's and 90's when I grew up as a little boy. If you look back now at that time period it's hard to believe how unbelievably self-centered and degrading women were when it came to men. Look back at all the female oriented tv-shows from that time, there was NO balance between the sexes. Women were always right and men were always wrong. No wonder little girls from that time grew up to be self-centered women with no regard for the feelings of men. Today this mindset is still very real for a lot of women and girls. There is hardly any respect for men although I have a feeling it gets better day by day.

    I hope we can get out of this mess as soon as possible, because I want boys AND girls to get a chance to love themselves for who they are by nature. That is real equality. Equality should be viewed from both sexes, not just one.

  38. evilshallwin says:

    Thank you for having the courage to speak out about men's rights. I'm going to show this to some of my friends who are being abused by women to show that they're not alone.

  39. donAlvar says:

    That is all sexism. It is a shame. It is also the actual thing feminism fights against. Of course, anti-feminist rednecks will try to turn it upside down to make this kind of sexist abuse look like feminism.

  40. John Hembling says:

    Thank you so much. I found this so touchingly endearing (sigh).

  41. delicioustacos says:

    You make some good points. But the solution isn't for men to become more touchy and coddled; the answer is for both sides to get over themselves and stop obsessively seeking grievance out of self-pity. Society not giving a shit about prison rape is serious. If someone calls you "fuckface," that is not serious. Call her "cuntfungus" right back.

  42. Whit says:

    Thanks Kate for your support.
    1 small piece of Mankind

  43. Bonnie says:

    I was a bit amazed at some of these arguments against this article.

    I think the author was just trying to say that men deserve the same respect, and to do otherwise goes against the idea of "equal rights."

    When you go around verbally abusing someone because they are male, you are the same as a man who verbally abuses you because you are female. It's that simple. There is no justification for gender discrimination on either side. Just saying.

    Anyways, thank you for this article. :)

  44. […] Bartolotta wrote a good post, “In Defense of Men” that highlights the ways in which many women are being […]

  45. mladams520 says:

    I have a number of reactions to this post. First I'll say to Kate, very interesting series of ideas and very well thought out. Good post.

    But as a straight man, a father and a Native American, I have a few thoughts on this topic.

    First, I suspect some men are being treated poorly and in the end, if they are chided for being "too sensative" and they clam up in response, the fact is that they gave in. I think the last time someone said that to me, I smiled and said something like, "thanks for your concern, but I don't think I'm actually being too sensative, I think it is rude to call people demeaning names and I'd appreciate if you stop doing that to me." This pretty much ended the problems. I don't think this is unique treatment for men either, I think it is how people act. Other men have been rude to me as often as women and I tend to let them know I don't appreciate it.

    Second, men aren't victims (in general). Men still wield overwhelming power in politics, income and high level management. We have all the cards and most of the power. We are NOT as a class being discriminated against or victimized by a class of citizens who has less power than we do. This reminds me of the whole notion of caucasions being discriminated against, when the truth is that most societal and political power is wielded by caucasions. That form of discrimination is simply not happening!

    Third, you make some very valid points about men who are being victimized either by way of abuse, etc… We could and should as a society take some ground in that arena!

    One of your commenters talked about the Men's Rights Movement, I did a little bit of reading and think it is rather a bankrupt idea. Again, a class of citizens, who hold a disproportionate level of power are not in danger of losing their rights. Typically, when the majority, who hold the power are fretting over loss of their rights, it is less about their rights and more about their loss of ability to impose their ideas and will on other less powerful groups of citizens. This reminds me of the so called attack on Christianity. Some forms of fundimentalist Christianity are being prevented from imposing their religious views on society at large and in response, those groups feel they are being persecuted. Truth is they aren't being persecuted and neither are men as a class.

    There are groups of men who are being persecuted! They belong to minority groups though. Gay men are being persecuted, transgender men (whether gay or straight) are being persecuted, people who have sex changes are being persecuted, impoverished men (and people in general) are being persecuted.

    In the end, we ought to focus our efforts on the least powerful and most vulnerable if we want to create equality in this world. The group that comes to mind first for me…children. No political, economic or social power. Schools curriculum is written by people who don't know the first thing about education and whose purpose is to grind some political axe. Teachers and expecially classroom assistants are paid pawltry wages and being a day care provider, that pays crap. Being a stay at home mom or dad…not respected!

  46. Sneaux says:

    Excellent post. I agree wholeheartedly. I absolutely adore men for who they are – the masculine compliment to my femininity. I've never been down with the men-bashing. I learned to respect, value and love men because of my Dad. And I carry that respect through to all men. I'm so glad you wrote this. :)

  47. Kasi says:

    Well. I had really liked Elephant Journal, but this poorly-thought out article disappoints me tremendously.
    Here's the thing. There are sexist women who hate men, just as there are sexist men who hate women. There are even (and these are not mutually exclusive from the preceding) women who hate women (e.g., Ann Coulter) and men who hate men… (some of these people hate themselves as part of this). Some people are assholes. Some anecdotal evidence of a handful of women mistreating men does NOT make an anti-man, hateful, bashing movement, and it does NOT (re)define feminism as about hate and injustice. I am wholeheartedly feminist, and while among self-identified feminists, there are a handful of hateful, angry, mean people – BECAUSE THERE ARE ALWAYS PEOPLE LIKE THAT, IN EVERY GROUP – does not mean that feminism/feminists/women is defined by and hateful, angry, and mean. In fact, being hateful to others based on their gender is the *antithesis* of feminism!
    Feminism is not worthless or terrible because a handful of feminists are jerks.
    I *absolutely* value men, my male friends, and masculinity, as I do women, my female friends, and femininity. But our society, our culture, does not give them the same value. Male individuals, values, and ideas, and masculinity, are valued more highly than women and femininity. Let me say it again: I care for and value men, masculinity, and male friends, and I don’t support treating anyone poorly because of gender. That said, I will also be clear on this: many of the “masculine” values our culture promotes, values, and espouses are *terrible* – for men, women, and society. These include such negative aspects of masculinity as aggression, desire for power over others via put-downs, enforcement of gender roles (e.g., bullying an effeminate boy), physical aggression, and a fear or unwillingness to be vulnerable and express any “weak” emotions (which is not all emotions, but many). Men are told (both directly and by our ambient culture) that they should abide by these values, and this hurts them; but bear in mind, women are told this too. Masculinity – including some of its negative aspects – is valued, and men simply have an easier time getting ahead – so just as there are men who listen to this message and act like jerks, there will be women who begin to act this way also – aggressive, bullying, putting others down to feel power over them, etc.
    I believe we should support better behavior in ALL people, men and women, and moreover, we should CHALLENGE gender roles that say men (or anyone) should hide emotions, fear vulnerability, relish power over others, etc., or that women (or anyone) should be passive, defer to the decisions of others regardless of their own opinions or desires, hide anger, distrust their own best judgment, etc. (this is just a handful of examples).
    This brings me to another point the article discusses – that these instances would be different if a man said/did them to a women. In the article, this is used as an argument why these women should not have acted that way (which I agree with) and why feminism is terrible and mean to men (which I whole-heartedly disagree with). The author is right that it would seem different to some degree if the gender roles were reversed, but she completely ignores WHY that is – i.e., the social context of degradation based upon gender. Why is it different for a man to cat-call a woman and make lewd sexual comments about her in public than it is for a woman to do that to a man? Because it is much, much more common for a man who does such a thing to follow up with further sexual aggression, assault, and even rape attempts – and for such "manly" aggression to be encouraged by his peers. Such rude language is inappropriate in both cases, but *the cultural context is very different.* There is a long and significant history of degradation of women based upon their gender, mostly by men, but also aided by women supporters (e.g., Ann Coulter, again). For example, the struggle for women’s suffrage in America, for example, took most of a century, involved much pain and suffering – and there were many women who argued against it (and still are!). On the other hand, there is NOT a significant history of male degradation by women. There IS a disparagement and belittling of men going on in our culture, but often it is by other men, and is a part of the *enforcement of hurtful aspects of gender roles.* For example, an above comment talked about the belittling of males characters by female characters in sitcoms – written by MEN, for companies owned and run by MEN, aimed primarily at a MALE audience – which is a cultural reinforcement of stereotyped gender roles that men are “naturally” inept at “feminine” things, e.g. house-keeping, or that poor/uneducated men are all stupid and inept (classism), AND negative female stereotypes such as that women are nagging harpies, etc. THIS IS NOT A FEMINIST INVENTION. In fact, this kind of hurtful enforcement of gender roles is PRECISELY what feminists fight.

  48. […] about men. I’ve written before about how it pains me when women, under the guise of feminism, tear men down and condense the idea of masculinity to a tired joke that only continues to divide the […]

  49. […] old-fashioned male bonding is more important now than ever. There is a consistent onslaught of emasculation available out there, as everyone adjusts to the profound ramifications of true gender equality as […]

Leave a Reply