Sunday, September 19, 2010

Women are from earth, why did we export our men to mars?

All of my male friends and family are respectful to women, and deferential towards the feminist ideals. I've chosen to distance myself from men who were not, or who held views that I felt were counter-productive to my own development as an  autonomous individual without limits. That I have males I can trust and open up to regarding gender issues or concerns is a great gift; I've never  been concerned that I will explain to one of them that I was in a "gender-role differing" situation and they will judge me or shy away. They have often expressed happiness that I was able to be "female" in some situations, and act in feminine ways, and "male" at other times. I've never doubted their support.

However, since the fall of the second wave of feminism, we have seen a strange trend emerge. In popular media feminism is a bit of a  joke. Much like how atheism was once taboo, but now it is the religious that are teased or mocked in open public forums, feminism has fallen from its privileged place, and made an object of ridicule. Many see feminism as being "complete", that its goal is finished, and it is no longer necessary.  This is untrue. Not only are we still working towards un-doing the discrimination of decades of sexism, but we have neglected an entire fraction of society. Our men.

Although it was once considered taboo for a woman to wear pants, we now regard it as so banal as to be almost expected. But for a man to wear a dress, or a skirt, is a complete oddity that borders on obscene. Many males bring up their option of kilt, but even too wear a kilt is considered an eccentricity as opposed to a preference. They are worn as a lark, brought up as a small defence, and also too expensive to be considered a day to day item. Even something as simple as shoes. Even if a man desires to wear high heels, he is forced to hid them under the guise of "stacked heels" and is not able to enjoy the same footwear that women are. People assume that if men really wanted the option, they would simply take it, because they are the ones in power, aren't they? But it is precisely that view that keeps all of us in chains.

Male domestic violence is becoming a more prevalent phenomenon, but whether this is as a result of the recent empowerment of women or an increase in reporting is unclear. Men now account for 40% of domestic violence complaints but as the text says, we are woefully underfunded to accommodate these numbers. In England and Wales the proportion of women's shelters to men's shelters is 7,500 to 60. Within Edmonton there is one location for men, which is the Hope Mission, but this location also accommodates women and children. Recent research, including interviewing women who admitted to abusing their partners, indicates that the motivation is not simply self-defense, but is used to gain male's attention or coerce them into doing things the female's way. This finding is even more troubling because it suggests that even the abusers themselves are down-playing the severity of the event, a trend we also see in abusive men. There is much to suggest that both genders follow the same patterns of abuse, but the victims are treated differently; a study published in 1976 is the culprit for these beliefs, which stated that women were unlikely to hit men, and did so only in the form of self-defence, which the author has since recanted and published alternative papers..

As for choosing typically female-gendered careers or lifestyles, most men  are regarded as "gay", implying that a man must be feminized in order to enjoy female pursuits, and removing his male aspect. This is a disservice to both the gay community and the male community, who should be free to pursue life as he chooses, with whatever options he wishes to take.

Maternity leave consists of 17 weeks unpaid leave and is guaranteed a return to her position and salary at the end. Parental leave is added on to this, and can add from 12 to 52 weeks of additional unpaid leave, accessible to both parents. Paternity leave, however, is typically limited to a few days. Any time over a few weeks is unusual. If a father wishes to take long term paternity leave, he is considered on parental leave.

Men's life expectancy is considerable lower in many countries around the world. This is just accepted as "part of the fact of life" but in this modern society it is ridiculous to simply blindly accept something like this, when we could be looking into it, and ways to correct this problem.

Although there are many organizations and establishments meant to fight honor killing, they are primarily concerned with women's cases, but men and boys suffer as well. In 2002 it was estimated that 245 women and 137 men were killed in Pakistan alone as a result of an out-of-culture or religion relationship.From 1998 to 2004, 2700 were women and 1300 were men. There was even a recorded case of infanticide last year, where the victim was a male baby born out of wed-lock. The mother was punished, but not killed, by the assailants. In other countries, women are considered protected, their blood "dishonours" men, and so slights and injustices are "righted" through the blood of any male of the offending family. From 1992 to 1996, there were reports of over 5000 blood feud murders. Even annually there is an estimated number of 1,250 deaths from blood feuds, which is equitable to the amount of female honour killings in Pakistan. One of the most critical factors of this is that the blood feuds have been shown to be "forgivable", meaning after mediation there has been instances where the feud was over, and people were allowed to follow their normals lives. This makes this problem easier to solve than the honour killings, where few reconciliations are accepted.

This kind of gender inequality is unethical. We should be doing more to support groups like Parity or reading essays like Esther Vilar, who suffered death threats for her book on The Manipulated Man, Mookychick or, which is an interesting read, but I suspect it to be fabricated (80% of income is made by men, and 80% of income is spent by women: is this the attitude you wish to take to be taken seriously?). There must be more done to ensure true equality; as Frank Ludwig says: "Equality is, as you know, a female monopoly".

1 comment:

Roots said...

My stand on equality is very simple. As long it isn't illegal, immoral or life threatening, go nuts. You want to wear a dress and high heels, dude? Go for it. You want to shoot a gun and then have a 12 hour action movie marathon girl? Have fun.

That being said, I have one particular point that I may be guilty on inequality and that is my protection of others. If I see a girl and a guy yelling and/or fighting. I will break it up but will show deference to to the male for being a bigger threat (Unless physique suggests otherwise of course). I do not do this because I am pigheaded or that I believe that the woman can't fight for herself.

Granted I have a heart that was raised with chivalrous ideals in mind and if that makes me sexist then guilty as charged. However, it is true that the typical woman is physically weaker then the typical man. It's a statistical fact and I will abide by it unless observation suggests otherwise.