Sometimes I effing hate men. Seriously. Not as a group, but certain behaviors that define masculinity and represent the ignorance that comes with patriarchal privilege. The denial of abusive behavior that borders on socially acceptable which defines certain masculine traits. The inability to see how they are treating women (and minority groups, especially the LGBTQ community) in the very ways that denote the emasculation they fear most. I hate the double-standards in everything from business to sexuality to appearance to chivalry and control to household management to entertainment.
And sometimes I hate it when women allow this to continue under the guise of deferment, making things work, and communal interest. The very reason that women can get so much shit done is a direct result of of all of these factors, and then some. But that doesn’t make it OK for us to constantly have to concede to get things moving forward. I’m usually the first person to promote and try turning a negative into a more productive, and hopefully positive, outcome. But I draw the line at continuing to co-sign such behavior in groups where men dominate the discussion and talk down to women as if we have no idea what they are talking about or can’t read between the lines or victim-shaming or other forms of disrespect. Save the Mansplaining for your private pep-talks to yourself in the shower… the only person who needs to hear those explanations is your ego. And if you’re offended by that term, I’m not sorry. It’s just one of many socially acceptable ways that men abuse women emotionally. In fact, all of the above are forms of abuse… and all are usually not meant to be abusive, but are insidious behaviors that often become precursors to other dangerous and abusive behaviors that are perpetrated on women by men individually or patriarchal societies, or which are used excessively, calculatingly, and manipulatively in emotionally abusive relationships.
We women know that men’s egos are much more fragile than men would like us to know… and it is long recorded in the annals of history that hyper-masculinity is the go-to defense mechanism when a man feels threatened or emasculated. I think it’s pretty safe to say that 3,000-plus years of war, colonization, and oppression have proven my point.
I’m certainly not saying that women have all the answers, or that we need to swing to the other end of the spectrum and have matriarchal dominance or behave toward men the way we are treated. I think that it’s important that we do learn to work together. However, this is a touchy subject for most guys. Some of the most well-meaning men that I know who do recognize issues such as privilege as social problems often don’t recognize their own privilege, and I don’t mean only Cisgendered, white, heterosexual men. I know plenty of men of color, gay men, and even trans men who don’t recognize some of the effects that masculine behavior has on women and minorities.
Until men can effectively recognize their behavior and learn to listen to our needs without needing to justify these behaviors, dominate the situation, dictate how we should respond, or otherwise capitalize on our grievances, we won’t be able to move forward.
It’s your turn guys… how do you choose to be more egalitarian in your life today?