Monday, November 17, 2014

Man Bashing For Fun and Profit

Anyone who doubts whether man-bashing has become a popular indoor sport need only walk down a greeting cards aisle.  Hallmark produced a card showing a woman in a baseball player's uniform, holding a baseball bat, talking about her high levels of stress.  On the front of the card is the sentence, "How do I get rid of my stress?"  Open the card and you find the sentence, "I take it out on him!" accompanied by a picture of the woman clobbering the man over the head with the bat.

Oh of course its a joke.  I have no doubt whatsoever that no one at Hallmark would actually advocate assault with a deadly weapon as a real-life viable method of relieving stress.  It's meant as a joke, and everyone knows that its meant as a joke.


If you were to reverse the genders, making the woman the victim of the baseball-bat themed attack, do you think anyone at all would find it funny?  Or do you expect, as I do, that Hallmark's legal department would suddenly be very busy fending off lawsuits and accusations and newspaper reports about the tasteless misogyny involved in such a card?

This is precisely the point that a lot of men's advocates are trying to make about how women are far from being the only targets of sexism in our society.  While it is considered wrong and improper to denigrate most demographic groups (women, minorities, children, the disabled, and so on), its perfectly fine to attack men.

And if you think that one card is an aberration, Hallmark produced another card (in the same series) where the woman is suffocating the man with a pillow.  The caption reads, "Men are always whining about how we suffocate them.  If you can still hear them whining, you’re not pressing the pillow hard enough."

Hah hah!  Funny joke!  
Isn't that a clever play on words?  What a laugh riot!  Of course, if a man sent someone a greeting card that advocated suffocating women, what do you think would happen?

Anyone?  Anyone?

If a man attacks a woman, he's a misogynistic monster.  If a woman attacks a man, it's a Hallmark card.

In my opinion, the most pernicious form of sexist behavior is the perpetuation of the myth that only one gender, the male gender, is capable of being sexist.  Hate to burst your bubble, Madame, but as Huey Long used to say, that's the biggest pile of hog turds I've ever heard of.

Ugly truth time:

The reason why it is so easy to ignore the abuse of men is because as a society we've been trained to ignore when it happens.  When a man has an issue with the way he is being treated by a woman, he's told to laugh it off and "man up", or that its his own fault, or that there's nothing he can do about it anyway.  And because of this, men are systematically ignored or discriminated almost daily.  No man ever bothers to make anything of it because he knows that the only reaction he will receive is funny looks and accusations of either weakness or misogyny.

A lot of the benefit women gain just from being women is predicated on no one making a big deal out of being mean to men just because they are men.

Most men get up early, work long hours, and come home tired to take care of their families.  They provide for their families without complaint and take care of every little problem.  They are good men, and worth of respect.  But they never get talked about in public.  All we hear about are the wife-beaters, and the rapists, and the child molesters.  The deadbeat dad makes the news, but the dad who willingly and devotedly drives himself into the ground and who dies at age 50 of a stress-induced heart attack because he's working hard to make things right for his family doesn't.

Is this right?  Is it fair?

Of course, the true tragedy of all this is that the battle against anti-male discrimination has already been lost because organized Feminism control the definitions.  The people who control the terms of a debate will always, always win the debate no matter what.  In "A Feminist Dictionary", compiled by Cheris Kremarae and Paula Treichler, Misogyny (from the Greek for "hatred of women") is defined as "a widely accepted social attitude in a sexist world", while Misandry ("hatred of men") is defined as "a refusal to suppress the pain of one's experiences with men".  Organized feminism has redefined sexism, and they defined it so it does not include anything women have ever said and done to men.

Similarly, women have controlled the definitions of "sexual harassment", "date rape", "domestic violence".  And if you think I'm kidding, you should be aware:  the FBI intentionally excludes female sexual assault against men from the official national rape statistics.  You read that right:  according to the US Federal government, when a woman forces a man to have sex with her against his will, she has not committed rape... because according to the official government, rape is only something men can do.

Its almost programmed into our collective brains that when it comes to issues of men vs. women, men lose.  Consider:  I spoke to a female acquaintance of mine who describes herself as a "classic Feminist."  When I brought up the fact that in our modern society, men are putting in longer and longer hours at work, and die younger and more often at the work place than women, she replied that "men only work har dlike that to keep their economic control over women".  When I suggested that maybe it was because the men in question wanted to provide more for their families, she rolled her eyes at me and actually said, "You silly, silly boy.  You just don't get it."

In addition to being incorrect (I get it just fine, thanks), she was also amazingly condescending.  I'm nearly ten years older than she is, and "boy" should be the last word she uses to describe me.

For a long while after my youngest son was born, I worked as a house-husband at my ex-wife's request.  She (my ex-wife) wanted to return to the workforce, so I stayed home with the kids.  I cooked, I cleaned, and most importantly, I bonded with my children in a manner that I had previously never experienced while I was working outside the home.   But I could see it in other people's eyes when I told them what it was I did "for a living":  I somehow lost their respect because I was not out there with my nose to the grindstone, bringing home the paycheck.

A woman who leaves her job to be with her kids is "exploring her options as a woman".  A man who does it... me, for example... is a bum.  Why do I, as a male and as a father, have fewer options than any woman is granted?

Oh, and while we're on the subject, I for one think the time has come for the constant bashing of males in television commercials to stop using men as targets.  Haven't we come so far from the early days of television, where women were portrayed with the white apron working so diligently in the kitchen while the man of the house goes off to earn the money to support his family?  Television is, for the most part, careful to avoid continuing the "classic" negative stereotypes.  The advertising world no longer portrays women as near-submissive housewives to their know-it-all husbands. TV commercials would never portray members of one gender as inept, or just plain stupid in the 21st Century, right?  That would be crazy!

But they do, and no one seems to care.  Men are fair game for just about any abuse in the ad world these days, and it appears to be getting worse.  Take the commercial for Sears air conditioners which seemed to run forever:  It's a hot day, and husband and wife are sweltering in their air-conditionless home. He apparently promised to order a Sears air-conditioner the day before, but didn't do it. She says "yesterday you said you'd call Sears"…he says "I'll call today…" which she answers sternly.. "You'll call now!"  He sheepishly agrees.  "I'll call now?"  (I've always wondered why, since she was such a strong confident woman that she could bully her husband like that, why doesn't she just call Sears herself?)

Or even worse, in my opinion, was a Pizza Hut commercial in which Dad gets stuck cooking dinner for the kids because Mom is out of the house for some reason.  And, of course, he calls out for pizza from Pizza Hut because he, like all men everywhere, obviously, is utterly useless in the kitchen.  I find this commercial personally insulting for a very important reason:  I am a trained, educated, highly certified chef, and as such I can cook rings around your average randomly selected person (regardless of gender) 9 out of 10 times.  I am proud of my profession, and am proud of being good at it.  But in the world of television, men are useless when it comes to domestic situations, including cooking and cleaning.

The test which proves these commercials are male-bashing is simply to reverse the gender roles.  Can you even imagine the man in his bully voice saying "you'll call now" to a woman, and she answers "I'll call now?" No way!  She'd be more apt to say "Why? Are you too stupid to dial a phone?" (Which again, is an interesting question... was the woman in the commercial too stupid to dial a phone?) Not to mention all the women's groups that would be protesting.

Men once said that women are less capable of running an industry than a man because women lack the instincts for business.  Now that such a moronic idea is behind us, I find it highly ironic that there are women who are now saying that the reason men are less capable of caring for children because men lack the nurturing instinct.  This sort of attitude needs to be destroyed utterly.

As Gloria Steinhem once said, "now that society has recognized that a woman can do nearly everything a man can do, we need to proceed to the next step by recognizing that a man can do nearly everything a woman can."

The man-bashing needs to stop.

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