To begin with

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Eric Forth
  • Published July 22, 2022
  • Word count 1,038

I consistently hear about the negative effect men have on the world. I always hear that men have started all the wars and have all the power. We oppress women and anyone who is seen as weaker than us. We are told that we aren’t supposed to have an opinion on abortion, or anything that is related to women unless it parrots the view of those women. We are told things like “you shouldn’t have an opinion on this, you aren’t a woman,” or “I’d like to know why you care so much.” Ya know, some condescending phrase used to minimize the significance of someone else. Unless you are a rock you probably have an opinion on most things. Women have a number of opinions of men and things related to men. I just normally don’t see men getting too bent out of shape over it.

We always hear about toxic masculinity and its prevalence. It’s generally accepted as one of the major problems in the world. The only problem with this theory is that much of what is seen as “toxic” traits in men have been adopted by and seen as positive in women. A man that is loud, strong-willed, sure of himself, and a bit bossy is seen as toxic and cocky. A woman exhibiting those some traits is seen as a woman who knows what she wants and a “boss babe.” She’s seen as powerful, brave, and as someone for girls to look up to. Boys on the other hand are taught that they shouldn’t be like that and it represents all that is wrong with men.

Men and boys are taught to stand down and to quiet themselves, or else they may be guilty of man-splaning. It’s common to hear men referred to as “fat jerks,” or some other negative depiction relating to their body. I remember seeing many incidences of men on television being shamed for letting themselves go or being out of shape. The wife would walk by pat his stomach and say things like “I thought you were going to start that diet.” However, if men say anything at all regarding a woman’s body in a negative way, it is seen as body-shaming. Could you imagine if one of those television dads walked by and commented that his wife needed to go on a diet while tapping her larger backside? The anger would be instant and the show would gain media attention as “toxic.” Women and girls are encouraged to embody much of what is seen as distasteful in men and boys. Men and boys are encouraged to feel ashamed of themselves when they act in the same manner.

I also find it interesting that guys are told to “play nice,” or to “treat her well.” However, I don’t ever remember hearing the opposite. Girls can be bullies as well and I saw it growing up. I would see girls completely trash other girls. Nowadays with the advent of social media, the culture of online bullying seems to be heavily populated with young women as the aggressor. I’m not trying to imply that these young women aren’t victims themselves in some other area of life. I’m also definitely not attempting to say women are the problem. I am just simply pointing to some of the inconsistent applications of what is being considered fair.

There have been many issues with equality in the past and I understand that women have been on the lacking end of that spectrum, especially pertaining to certain things. However, I don’t really feel that is anywhere near the current situation that we find ourselves in. Women can exclaim how they are oppressed and victimized and at particular times and to certain degrees, I agree. But I feel that too often men are used as the reason why women are unhappy. We are blamed as the reason why a woman didn’t get a particular job, or as an explanation as to why they aren’t making the money that they would like. Not looking at the fact that they decided to get a degree in education instead of software engineering. Again, I am in no way saying that becoming a teacher isn’t a noble profession, but the pay scale is the pay scale of the job. Male teachers are also paid based on that pay scale. Working in a factory tends to pay more than a retail sales associate. Men tend to gravitate towards factory type jobs that are normally more difficult resulting in that wage difference. Women are not kept out of any of these jobs. As a matter of fact, many professions lacking in female representation look to fill job opening with women.

Inequality is inequality, no matter the excuse given for it. Telling someone that they shouldn’t have an opinion on something because of their gender or skin color is just that. It’s devaluing the thoughts and opinions of another person because he doesn’t have those identifying characteristics or belong to a particular group. If someone has an argument, then present it. Understand that just because someone doesn’t buy what you’re selling doesn’t mean that they are stupid or lacking entitlement to have an opinion. It may mean that your presentation skills are lacking, or that your product doesn’t fit with their values. After all, men are human and rarely get away free and clear. But attempting to shame someone because they have a penis and a different point of view may get them to be quiet, but it rarely changes their mind. And these are the minds that control the fingers that they vote with. If we want to actually change things, then we are gonna have to sit down and discuss things. Open minds on both ends may be able to understand the points others make and some minds may change while other minds won’t. We have to be alright with this. The world works this way. Yelling, screaming, pointing fingers and demonizing the opposing side won’t work; it’s what got us here to begin with.

I enjoy writing about the things I learn in life. I'm curious and I'm normally taking a program, or immersed in some obscure subject. I live in South Carolina and have spent the majority of my life in the southeastern United States. My short essays help me to navigate my life and hopefully it will help you do the same.

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