In Defense of Men.

Via on Mar 10, 2012

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 the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

33,066 views

171 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. http://susanfaludi.com/stiffed.html

    Great article, hope it seeds some discussion.

  5. 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.

    • I think there are times where it's necessary to seek to re-balance power. I'll use the analogy of labor unions. They have been a tool for necessary change at some times and in some situations. In others, they've become a hindrance. I think the same is true with feminism.

      • yogasamurai says:

        It's hard not to become part of the problem once you become mainstreamed and institutionalized. It's been called the "iron law of oligarchy." We also live in a pretty strong entitlement culture these days. Everything's taken as a right, as something there "for me" by law – and that affects a lot of people's thinking. They're in a hurry to get to …..nowhere.

        I think feminism has also become angrier in some ways because frankly, many women have gotten what they say they want – and on the soul plane, they're not necessarily happier for it, either.

        I do think in your own generalizations about men – and the validation that you seem to think that we need from women – that you may be missing another large trend – male disengagement.

        Many are going their own way – and quite happy about it. Others are just disconnecting. And the number of men – and women – who are literally "disappearing" into pornography, cable TV, and other escapes – ahem, social media (lol) — is truly staggering.

        Relationships are more balkanized by race, gender and class than ever. We have "diversity" but we don't "have" unity, just a kind of "tolerance" that can easily spill over into conflict. Happy Sunday!

        • Balkans says:

          Men may be “withrdrawing” into tech, but at their own peril. Women have taken over tech as a vast resource for international identity and coliation a la Donna Haraway Even in the US, women have entered the workforce at an extraordinary pace, and will soon outpace men in both income and cultural domination. Political power is only the next frontier. So stay in your resentful, withdrawn, D&D gamer world. You’ll always have sympathetic crooners like this girl whose pic you can masturbate over! They rest of us are so done with you boyz. Really. If you’re fuck-heads, you are. If you’re Homer Simpsons, so be it. You’ll be relegated to the dust-bins of cultural history, b/c as the US empire inevitably expands, we’ll have more and more options besides you. Kate can have you, Yogasamuri. No one else has any interest at all in your or boys like you.

          • yogasamurai says:

            I'm not in that world, and I'm very happily coupled. Many women like a man who holds his own, so do keep your pushovers? It's obvious that you're the angry one. I'm not at all. So why not look at why? (Or don't, ni modo)

            Women are a long way off from having anything resembling economic "parity" at the commanding heights – men have largely "cut you in" at the middle level management level, mainly.

            And political power? Forget it. You guys are further behind than you were 10 years ago.

            Hey maybe that's why you're angry. It's this female chauvinism that's the problem really, but rock on Sis, see how far it gets you.

          • Sammi says:

            It's obvious that you are the angry one here. Become a feminist and join with your sisters to eradicate sexism, and you will become part of the solution.

          • yogasamurai says:

            By the way, fastest rate of pornography use now is among women, not men. It's not a male-only thing. If women had more guts, they'd be hiring hookers – and some are, in a more disguised way. Ever seen who all the young Latino illegals are "servicing" in cities like Los Angeles? Rich Hollywood bitches – and rich gay men. And social media use generally? Who do you think is the the utterly mindless foundation for most of these far-flung "friendship" sites? Ain't dudes, Honey Bun

          • Jon Harrison says:

            Balkans,
            Thanks so much for flying the true man-hating colors of so many who are attracted to this blog post like moths to a flame. You are showing us that for so many, the goal of feminism is noy the replacement of patriarchy with equality for all – but rather a new matriarchy standing on the necks of men (and enjoying it).

            It was never about equality for you, its always been about supremacy.

          • A cog in the machine says:

            Make no mistake; on any number of fronts, women are rapidly outpacing men – whether it’s school scores, college enrollment, or job earnings (irrespective of what you may have heard about the wage gap, professional women in urban environments are storming ahead on pay).

            But consider this: who collects your garbage? Who drives laden-down trucks from one end of the country to the other? Who are the people getting killed in accidents on fishing boats, in lumbar yards, on the factory floor? Who responds to the police dispatches, the three-alarm fires, the pile-ups, the soldier’s drum beat?

            At the lowest level, America runs on the daily blood, sweat and tears of men. It’s not glamorous work and it most certainly isn’t something you’ll see Feminists pushing for women to overtake. But it has to be done; and for hundreds of years, men have been doing it – and without complaint.

            The last thing – the very last thing – you want to do is convince men that they aren’t needed, their contribution isn’t welcome, and society will function just fine once they check out. Because the day that happens, is the first day of the end of civilization as we know it.

      • huh? says:

        Check out “fear of feminism” by lisa hogeland.

        Feminism is a ‘hindrance’ for a lot of women who wish to make sure their sexual alliance to men remains unalloyed. Pubicly unalloyed. As she points out, many women feel that feminism is a hindrance when it seems that it might interfere with their sexual relations with men.

        At any rate, it does seem that many of your “beefs” are better addressed directly with those you have them.

        The problems you raise have very little to do with feminism, labor unionism, or another civil rights movements.

        • Wasn't really making any points about labor unionism…just trying to make the analogy of something that was necessary at its onset and has become (at times) less useful. Not the best analogy…

          I do take these "beefs" up when they come up in the day to day. I put it out there because it seems to be a larger problem than just in my circle of friends.

        • yogasamurai says:

          Not "fear" of feminism – I would call it "post"-feminism. Quite a few men participate in their own world of spiritual, emotional and cultural celebration — and it's probably not one we're going to cut you guys into any time soon. And the fact that you don't want to be a part of it – so much the better. It's not for or about you. (Yes, there is such a thing still).

  6. 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.

    • I don't know if I agree with your first statement (being for white middle class women) but I think that feminism looks different in different cultures/demographics. I wish we all could see it as a "we" culture.

    • lol says:

      LOL, you don't know many black women do you? My experience is that they tend to be WAAAY worse than white women, if the black men tell me so!

      • Paul E. Annuh says:

        Know tons and have dated several. Many young Black men — many of my friends, actually — are in full retreat from Black women — they can't handle the accountability. But they do love their white girlfriend trophies.. I just think it's hilarious. Everyone's crossing over these days. Usually just to escape. The ones who have married usually regret it.
        Two of my closest Black males friends married white white Aryan girls — and they are now officially miserable. It's hard to generalize — but then again, no it's not.

  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.

    • Yes!!! I agree. In fact, growing up my parents made a big deal about not wanting us to watch shows where the dad was portrayed as an idiot (ie most every American sitcom). It's awful!

      • yogasamurai says:

        Sitcoms started as therapy for bored housewives who could get their revenge on screen, while toiling away in the home. Now we have sitcoms about bored feminists toiling away in the office and wondering what happened to the men.

    • tvman says:

      Tell those people to stop watching so much television.

    • stevengregg says:

      Which is why the History and Military channels are so popular with men. Men are heroes there, zeroes on network TV.

  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!

    • I agree 100% Kevin. Women don't like when men act like that, so why would we think it's okay for us to do it? It should be about humanism, not a power struggle.

    • oz_ says:

      "It is about power, and the pursuit of power, of dominance, is ugly no matter who is pursuing it. "

      Very nicely put, Kevin. And in fact the significance of this notion goes far beyond how women treat men – it is also at the heart of how humans treat the rest of the natural world, how government treats the citizenry, etc. Dominance hierarchies are dangerous and cause harm.

    • stevengregg says:

      What's worse is that it is supported by company policy. Have you ever seen or heard of a woman being fired for harassment? Only men get fired for that. The women in the typical HR department run the harassment program as a man-bashing program.

  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~

    • ? I'm very confused by your first sentence. Do you mean slurs? I'd be happy to respond but didn't quite understand.

      I'm not advocating against feminism. I'm advocating for equality for all.

    • oz_ says:

      Dulcy, are you maintaining that it is legitimate for women to disparage, belittle and devalue men? This is the general sense I'm getting from your comment, which I'm frankly having a hard time connecting to the article above. Hopefully, I'm misreading you. To be honest, more than anything else, I just get the sense of deep rage from your comment.

      The history of the world is a history of the mistreatment – often savage – of many groups of people, certainly none more so than women. And mistreatment and oppression and tyranny continue to be prominent features of even our modern world, and not just of women. however, this comment you've written appears to wish to create a sort of 'victim pedestal' for women to stand on all alone, and this doesn't seem to me to be likely to lead to healing, but rather to becoming the wound and causing further damage to all concerned.

      • I agree Oz. And I think it's this unaddressed rage that lies underneath this problem. Make peace with yourself, make friends with yourself, and all your other relationships become much easier.

        One of the things I hated in some feminist/women's lit classes in college was that they chose to highlight only authors who wrote about being abused and marginalized. Yes it happens. It happens too much. But let's work together to stop violence (verbal and otherwise) on all sides.

        • Let'sdobetter says:

          It sounds like your classes reduced the experiences of women with victimization TO their victimization. Maybe there should have been a better balance re: the empowere activism of women and men to stop violence. However, now you go into the opposite direction: post-feminist minimization of the gendered nature of even verbal violence. Your arguments are specious. Who is the "we" you write about? The examples you cite have no instances attached to them. Who is that that sees male rape as a "joke? And yes, the display of male or female bodies IS still more controversial for men to do b/c it IS still women, statistically, being used to advertise products (incl on this site), and still women, not men, who are the primary victims of more serious sex-selling, such as slavery. Yes Virginia, there is a patriarchy. Everything is context.

          • It sounds like I hit a nerve. The "we" I am writing about is generally women in Western cultures, or more specifically female elephant journal readers.

            The examples I cite do have examples attached if you click the links. Obviously, the personal anecdotes do not. If you don't believe that American society treats male rape as a joke, clearly you've never watched a television show or movie comedy where a man goes to jail. The immediate joke is about whether or not he's been raped.

            There are many feminists (myself included) who don't hate men. There are also many millions of men who don't commit violent acts, are incensed by sex-selling, exploitation, etc. and truly believe in equality. If there is still a patriarchy (which I would argue, but too long for a comment) how is bashing men the way towards change?

          • Let'sdobetter says:

            You never got that argument from me, Kate.

          • Let'sdobetter says:

            But anyway. One, I don't see television as "society." I see it as the constructed imaginary of an extremely small sliver of the population — and, as anyone in Hollywood will attest, tv writers are still predominantly white men..Judging by that, you should take your arguments to those male writers. Two, there is no such creature as women "generally" in western cultures. You need to go back to college and take a composition class about generalizations. What hit a nerve is your unbelievably bad writing. Don't rely on links to demonstrate your points; make GOOD arguments that stand on their own feet. Three, patriarchy is political power. How many women in Congress, etc etc? Don't be ridiculous. This is silly post-feminism on your part.

          • oz_ says:

            LDB, you first write:

            "The examples you cite have no instances attached to them"

            then, when Kate points out that she did indeed attach instances, you write:

            "Don't rely on links to demonstrate your points"

            Seems your dogmatism doesn't permit consistency. But it does permit ad hominem attacks.

            And speaking of specious arguments, this notion you advance that TV is "the constructed imaginary of an extremely small sliver of the population" in order to dismiss it's gargantuan societal impact is about as specious as it gets.

          • Thanks Oz…was curious about that myself. Can't really have it both ways.

          • Mamaste says:

            Touche oz_ ! ~Mamaste

          • elephantjournal says:

            I agree with all your points, as I think Kate would. Congress, TV…But you dilute them with personal attacks. We can do better, argue with respect. ~ Waylon

          • irkedbythis says:

            Here, here, LDB. I agree with you completely. And the "hitting a nerve" comment she made previously is ridiculous – of course when someone is making broad generalizations which are unsubstantiated by any kind of real research or proof, it is going to "hit a nerve" just as any other ignorant comment or piece of writing would do. It still does not mean the work is worthy of being published, considered, or validated.

          • Needbettersources says:

            "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!"
            All the links posted here cite EJ articles,. This is a completely insular endeavor. You're even quoting yourself? And something Waylon posted about frat boys' attitudes towards male rape? Is that what you call backing up an argument?

          • Hey thanks! When I edited a blank space just now in my post I noticed the email address behind these comments and noticed you were one of my old pals who loved to beat up on me in the Anusara comments. So I'm all set. Agree to disagree.

          • Let'sdobetter says:

            Huh? Big sis is watching? No, Eight people share that email address. But thanks, babygirl, we've learned a lot about you too.

          • oz_ says:

            Sounds like you've got yourself a nice, insular little echo chamber, then. And the ad hominem attacks just keep on comin'…

          • elephantjournal says:

            You're blocked. If you'd like to be reinstated, which I'd like, my friend, focus your criticism on the arguments, not the person. ~ Waylon

          • heykate says:

            Don't take things so personally…WOMEN! What CAN you expect!

          • fred says:

            But, with that long history of male power came a tradition of taking care of women. Men may earn more money but they turn around and give it to women: women spend 85% of the consumer dollar in the US. Women live longer than men. The grass is not really greener over here.

    • mickster66 says:

      Domestic violence/abuse generally are issues that feminists have taken oer as their own, hence all the hysteria and biased research and reporting over the years, all part of the demonisation of men and masculinity over the past 40 years. Unbiased research will show you that women are more likely to abuse children, instigate the majority of DV and in the relatively few cases of extreme violence it is almost always reciprocal, women receive 40% of the jail time men do for the same crimes…don't just swallow the propaganda, theres more to gender issues than the current feminist zeitgeist allows for.

  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…

    • Have you ever watched any show or movie where a man goes to prison? What's the first joke that always gets made at his expense? I think it does get treated as a joke. Not across the board, but too often.

      And rape is gruesome regardless of gender.

      • Bart says:

        Rape is gruesome always, but statistically, it is perpetrated far more often against women and children than men. This is a stupid commentary. If you want the women in your life to stop harshing on men, say so to them. Stop blowing it up into Something Larger. You’re making an absolute idiot of yourself.

        • oz_ says:

          So….if I get your logic, then it's "stupid" to pay attention to a less frequently perpetrated injustice than to a more frequently perpetrated injustice. Which ethical system is this again? Oh yeah – one that, as with many of the other commenters here, prefers launching anonymous ad hominem attacks to engaging in substantive debate. Those who disagree with you are necessarily "stupid" – "idiots"- couldn't just be someone who sees things in a different way, could it? Sure sign of an ideological zealot, and it's all over this page. Might as well be reading the Christian Right's commentary on an article supporting evolution – it has the same scent of dogmatic purity.

          If Kate is "making an absolute idiot of" herself, Bart, simply for propounding a view with which you disagree, what are you making of yourself, who have personally attacked her for this heterodoxy?

        • Egalitarian says:

          Actually, men are often victims and women are often perpetrators, if you properly define rape. According to the latest CDC (US government) survey, 4.8% of all men have been "made to penetrate" and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women. Examples of "made to penetrate" are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her through violence or threats of violence. There is some confusion due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded "made to penetrate" and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include "made to penetrate" as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, women are a significant percentage of rapists, and the majority of male rape victims were raped by women. You can read the report at: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_R… Here are direct quotes from the report:
          "Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime"

          "For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%)."

          The above, lifetime stats do show a lower percentage of male victims (up to 6.2%) than female victims (18.3%) although this is far more than commonly believed. However, if you look at the report's stats for the past 12 months, just as many number of men have been "forced to penetrate" as women were raped, meaning that if you properly define "made to penetrate" as rape, men were raped as often as women.

          Here are some stories from male victims: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/v73r4/

  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…

    • I agree—I'm a feminist and have male feminist friends. Just commenting on something I see happening among *some* feminists.

      • Let'sdobetter says:

        Then maybe, Kate, write more specifically about those behaviors from those feminists….or take it to them. This article is all over the place.

        • Hmmm… not sure why you think it's all over the place. I started with specific personal examples I had seen and moved to trends I see in society at large that I find disturbing. You not agreeing with me is different than the article being all over the place.

          If you'd like to "do better" write it up and send it in!

          • effie says:

            I think you should learn to assert yourself in the moment to the specific people who irk you in their behavior instead of writing these articles about whatever. Grow a pair.

          • Absolutely—I usually do assert myself when I see this behavior. I feel it's enough of a problem that it warranted writing about.

          • oz_ says:

            Why the presumption that she doesn't do so effie? Do you in fact know that she doesn't? Why would you speculate about someone you don't even know?

            And why the ad hominems? "Grow a pair"? Really? What is this, 5th grade? And what's with all the sexist slurs – ""babygirl"? "grow a pair"? What's the deal with all you haters anyway?

            And why the suggestion to Kate that she should muzzle her opinion? I know I know – free speech is *so* overrated…especially when it happens to be speech with which you disagree. Wow, say one critical thing about feminists, and watch the haters come outta the woodwork…

          • I know, right? Kind of ironic & reinforces the angry, mean feminist stereotype…

        • karlsaliter says:

          It is clear from reading that Kate is not talking about all faminists, come on. This piece is cohesive and makes some good points. If you are so up on what to write and what not to write, maybe it is time to write your own articles, LDB.

    • stevengregg says:

      Oh, please, man-hating is the prefered sport for many women, doubly so for so-called feminists.

  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.

    • yogasamurai says:

      Having studied feminist theory and the history of social movements ad nauseam at UC Santa Cruz, I don't agree with all of your history here. For example, there are plenty of reverse cases – Margaret Sanger's birth control movement, the original inspiration for Planned Parenthood, was heavily inspired by the Eugenics movement, which was about Black population control. Women and women's movements have long had an ambiguous relationship to other movements.

      I do agree, though, that powerful movements largely led by men, in fact – civil rights, for example – have proven unusually inspiring to women – because let's face it, a lot of the claptrap expressed here notwithstanding, men – and the male archetype – is still unusually inspiring to women. Just look at all the Gurus in yoga, most recently John Friend.

      Though somehow I don't think that's the point you wanted to make.

  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.

    • Let'sdobetter says:

      …..Well, except that if we're only emphasizing the "obstructive" nature of labor unions, even as an anakogy, that's pretty stereotyping. I'm a feminist AND a union member, and it was ONLY the presence of my union rep in the room that kept me from getting fired, recently, when I had spoken up about problems in our workplace. Nothing against you, SQR….I just wish Kate had written a more sharply pointed and well-thought-out commentary. While many of these verbal abuse behaviors do have to do with emotional immaturity, many people in positions of power have very little emotional and social maturity. Also, those systems of power still favor men over women, white over non-while, rich over poor, ownerclass over worker. So let's not be too quick to label either feminism or labor unions "obstructive." Particularly in dealing with work issues, etc, we still need unions and feminisms to fight back. I truly doubt Kate has ever even been in a union or needed one. Thank the gods for mine!

      • Actually, I was in a union as a teacher. There were times that the union was tremendously helpful, and times where it felt like more of an obstacle.

        I feel it was well thought out on my part. If you have an alternate perspective to share, write it up and send it in.

      • oz_ says:

        ROFL, sorry but this got me laughing. Up above, LDB, you wrote snarkily to Kate that "You need to go back to college and take a composition class about generalizations" – and yet here you write:

        "many people in positions of power have very little emotional and social maturity."

        Yeah. When Kate generalizes, she needs to go back to college – when you do it, I guess it's supposed to be totally justified?

        Sheesh, the commentary on this page is about the saddest example of logical inconsistency and personal slurs I've seen outside of blogs by members of the Religious Right. But then, not surprising – dogma is dogma I suppose…

      • SQR says:

        I guess I should say the analogy was good in the context it was used… I also see the need for labor unions to continue- many of my friends over the years have been members, mostly from my truck driving days (Teamsters), and having family from WV, the UMWA is usually well regarded around my house. I must say, though, I've never really understood how so many people where I live object to stores like Wal-Mart and yet wouldn't be caught dead in a UAW built vehicle- that's the only kind I run. Sorry- this all a bit off topic, I suppose…

  14. Heather Dawn 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?

    • That is beautiful Tim. I think we get too easily caught up in stupid rom-com scripts of how we are supposed to act in relationships. Here's to being socially graceless, unsophisticated and completely genuine instead.

  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.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Love to hear more about your thoughts…your comment could itself be more fully articulated, we welcome constructive criticism, it's healthy! ~ Waylon

  19. Lorin Arnold 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.

    • oz_ says:

      Nicely put.

    • Just a guy says:

      And yoga in the US is a matriarchal culture…something yoginis should remember as they marginalise men all the time.

      • elephantjournal says:

        Very true! ~ Kate

      • elephantjournal says:

        Agreed. For example, we post a sexy photo of Adam Levine, it gets 8000 views and 80 comments saying "I want to marry him" "more please" "dayuuuuum" "hotttt"…it's like hanging out with a construction crew. Nothing too much wrong with that, it's silly, healthy and happy.

        But we post a sexy photo of a woman, say from PETA, the woman has chosen to model for a cause, and we get (perhaps deservedly) 1000 views and 50 comments hating on elephant, not PETA so much.

        It's just an interesting double-standard or difference. I get that difference and why it exists–I was brought up by a strong, wonderful sweet mama and have considered myself a feminist. After a few years dealing with these comments, though, i just consider myself an equalist—as do many feminists and postfeminists. ~ Waylon

  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 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

    essential.

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

    • elephantjournal says:

      Well put, Karl. This isn't controversial or worth hating on—this is commonsense. ~ Waylon

  22. Andrea Balt 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.

    • Femisgood says:

      I was hoping to read one article that brings up gender (on the internet) without reading any feminist-bashing in the comments. Although your comment is not too bad, your name "Feminothing" says everything…
      Thanks.

  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.

    Branáin

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

  25. Valerie Carruthers 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.

    • Thanks Val! I agree, it may have been needed at the start, but we're at a different place now. In many realms in Western culture, it's much easier to be a woman than a man. The vitrol of some of the comments shows just how bad it's gotten. I'm at the point where I'd prefer to just call myself an equalist than a feminist. Or better yet—just a human being and leave it at that.

      • Mitschu says:

        Most of us call ourselves egalitarians, but equalist has a nice ring to it :)

        As an aside, would you consider writing a piece on the Men's Rights movement? It would be interesting to hear the perspective of an unbiased third party, since most of the movement's social face is filtered first (either from the praises of other MRA supporters, or from the damnation of radical feminism.)

        Having an objective article that doesn't paint us as the salvation of man, nor as the misogynist club, would be great. :)

  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.

    • I used to strongly identify as a feminist, and spent my first two years of college at a women's college (which was a poor fit for many reasons) but as time goes on, and mainly due to the wonderful men I know and love, I consider myself a champion of equality for all—not feminism.

  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.
    Love,
    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