How To Complain About Men And Be Sexist At The Same Time
What if I told you about an article that complained about how social media and instant gratification has eroded away at our social fabric? How we don't take the time to pause and reflect on how we live our lives? How we fail to really work at making the world a better place, and instead waste time building websites to share cat photos on? I'd think that it raised several important issues about modern society.
What if I then told you that the entire article only applied this to men? What if it was titled, “Why Men Aren't Really Men Anymore”? Suddenly, things just got a lot more sexist. In fact, that entire article is built almost entirely out of gender stereotypes. It's that subtle, classy kind of sexism; bigotry that hides behind delicate prose, hiding it's true nature. If the article were rewritten so that it described these issues in gender-nuetral terms, I'd be liable to agree with it. Trolling, aggression, lack of human interaction, billions of dollars being spent on worthless startups that solve first world problems - these are all real issues. Yet, to imply that men are the ones with these problems, to imply that any class of problems belong to only one gender, is sexist.
The article is wonderfully subtle in its sexism. Just look at how it claims “real” men should treat women:
- Women want manly men. If they think they don't want a manly man, they just haven't found one manly enough yet.
- Men are always the ones who should be wearing the pants in the family, because men always have to be the manly ones.
- Women shouldn't have more character than men.
- Women are allowed to be PMSing because they're women, and everyone knows women get emotional, but a man should never be emotional, because he's a man.
See, the reasoning behind all these is just “because men are men and women are women.” That isn't a reason, it's sexism. It's bigotry. It's enforcing stereotypes and trying to tell people how they should live their lives based on a set of gender roles that society arbitrarily decided on. It simply assumes it knows what women want, and goes so far to imply that the only reason a women wouldn't want a “real” man is because they haven't seen one yet. This is exactly like those annoying little assholes who tell you “Oh you just haven't heard good dubstep! You'll like it then!” Inevitably, after you still don't like it, they just tell you that something is clearly wrong with you and you have no taste.
At no point do they entertain the notion that, maybe, just maybe, you actually don't like dubstep.
Our society suffers from the same tunnel vision. We assume that when a women is working overtime and the man is doing laundry that it's the man's fault for not being manly enough and the women has been forced to become the head of the household. If she had just married a man manly enough, she wouldn't have had to do that!
It never crosses their minds that maybe, just maybe, the women actually likes it this way. Maybe some men just don't want to be manly. Maybe some women like men who aren't manly. Maybe you can't fit every single human being into nice neat little gender boxes.
It is not a man's job to be manly simply because they are men. It is not a women's job to be PMSing or making you a sandwich. It is not society's place to tell anyone how they should live their lives. You do not know what they want and you should never pretend you do. We can make certain observations about genders, like men tend to be more aggressive, and women tend to be more emotional, but we should never assume that men should be more aggressive, or women should be more emotional. That is for the individual to decide, not society.
A human being is something precious, something complicated, something that can't be easily categorized. Stop trying to stuff them into square boxes.