Thursday, May 21, 2015
Misogyny Harms Men Too
Misogyny is a word that at its root simply means prejudice or discrimination against women. So, the idea that it would affect men in any capacity seems strange at first, and understandably so! The root of the word literally excludes men (Except from being the oppressors.) But my goal in this post is to explain just how, in many capacities, misogyny is not only silly in the first place, but is actually counterproductive for men.
First of all, it might be good to explain exactly what some examples of misogyny are. Not all misogyny is so blatant and obvious. Often when people think misogyny they think of not hiring women or not allowing women to vote, but it can be much more simple and small than that. Some other common forms of misogyny include viewing women as weak, homemakers, thinking women are overly emotional, or shaming women for how sexually active they are. So how does this effect men negatively? Welllll
Misogyny influences the draft
Now, I’ve seen some people (Especially Men’s Rights Activists) claim that this is something against men, because men are the only ones that have to register for the draft. And I agree, it’s wrong! (Though, I don’t think equality would be having women register, it would be having no one register.) But it is rooted in misogyny.
Think of how women were seen at the time of the draft. Women were the homemakers. They were seen as the caretakers, the gentle, nurturing ones that are supposed to be at home. And at first it seems benevolent, but that’s not all. It also paints women as weak and unfit for fighting. It is saying that not only shouldn’t women do this but women can’t do this. And so men are painted as the ones that need to be the protectors, that need to risk their lives. And so our view of women being weak makes it so that only men are affected by the draft and forced into military service.
Misogyny dictates what you can wear
A woman wears dude clothes and how is she seen? Well, generally either as “like one of the dudes” which is seen as positive among guys, or maybe a lesbian sometimes? Or maybe people think well she’s wearing her boyfriend’s clothes, which means they must be close and have sex! (Because apparently women are some trophy?) But the point is, generally is seen as favorable. And in fact, most “guy” clothes are seen more as, well, androgynous.
But look at the opposite situation. What is it like when a guy wears a skirt or a dress? He’s a joke, he’s laughed at, he’s shamed. Guys aren’t supposed to do that, that’s shameful. But why? What about wearing women’s clothes could possibly be shameful? The only way we can say that dressing “like a woman” is shameful for a man is because you are saying it is shameful to be a woman. Whereas a woman dressing like a man is good! Because… reasons? It doesn’t actually make sense. And so we end up laughing at and shaming men simply for wearing different clothes. And while it negatively effects man, it is rooted in a view of women as weak and men aren’t supposed to look weak!
Misogyny effects your job options
Most often we think of this affecting women. We don’t exactly see many women in high positions and offices. Now this is obviously a sign of a misogynist society, but how can it negatively affect men? Well first, let’s look at what a lot of stereotypical jobs women have: Teaching young children, nurse, or secretary. But now men doing those jobs are not viewed the same way.
In surveys done about teaching, most people said that they would not be comfortable having a man teach younger children, but are more ok with men teaching towards high school and college level than they are women. But why? Men are supposed to be tough and show little emotion, something that obviously doesn’t jive well with young children. And so we have this tendency to think that the weaker more gentle women should take care of teaching the young children! Many people view the idea of men teaching young children as negative because it’s the “women’s job.” And as we get to the older grades, it is seen as the men’s job because, well, women don’t do as much learning and smart stuff as men? I dunno.
But it’s a similar idea for nurses. Male nurses are made into a joke, literally. There are literally people that use male nurses as a joke. But how does that make sense? Well, women are seen as the gentle caretakers, taking care of the wounded, that is their place. So men being in that capacity is showing them as being gentle caretakers, being like a woman, and that’s bad in society. To be like a woman is to be weak and shameful.
And secretaries don’t fare much better. Secretaries are the helpers, they are set under the higher more powerful men. So men being secretaries means they’re not good enough to have the helpers, they’re helping men like women do, which is bad! And if you’re a man under a woman, well that’s the worst that could happen because now you are under the weaker sex!
Misogyny harms men of all sexualities
Quick, how do a lot of straight dudes see gay dudes? As a joke of course. “Ha, gayyyy!” Calling each other gay, acting gay as a joke, our culture has made being gay a joke. But how are lesbians viewed by straight guys? “Hell yeah, make out in front of me!” So why is it like this? Well, the answer lies in our heteronormative views.
We see heterosexuality as the normal for men and women. So therefor, doing things to women is seen as the “man” thing to do, whereas doing things for men (And I say for cause it is often seen that men do something to women whereas women simply do something for men, which is BS) is seen as the “woman” thing to do. So two women making out? Well they’re being like the men! They’re doing the “man” thing to do, which is good and praiseworthy! Whereas two guys making out? Well, ew, they’re doing the “woman” thing to do. That’s effeminate and shameful. Gay people are often called “Faeries.” They’re doing something weak and feminine, which is bad for men to do. We have set that double standard harming gay men. But it doesn’t stop there.
This misogyny also harms bisexual men (And women!) Now, the same rules generally apply, but it is also seen as slightly different. If a man says he is bisexual the stereotype is that he’s actually just gay and won’t admit it. And if a woman says she is bisexual, the stereotype is she is just trying to seem interesting to men. Notice the problem here? It automatically defaults to “Well they actually like men.” It has standard that no one could truly love a woman. So if they’re going after anyone other than women, well, it must not be the women, because even the straight guys only go for them for pleasure. And so focusing on men here, it is stating that you cannot be attracted to both because men are just so much better you should never love a woman.
So what about straight men? I did say all sexualities afterall. Well, it can affect heterosexual men as well! For one, we have the culture of women as being a trophy. What do we call women that have a lot of sex? A slut. And so if you have sex with a slut, it’s “less” of an “accomplishment” than if you have sex with a girl that doesn’t have as much sex. So we’ve gone to policing what kind of women are favorable to go towards, because the men are upholding women as some sort of trophy. That it is somehow better if you have sex with a girl that hasn’t had a lot of sex. It is good for a guy to do have a lot of sex, but not for a woman. Because the woman is seen as having been “used.” (Remember, women are for men’s pleasure!)
But this also goes into experimentation. Men that experiment with other men are seen as shameful or gay because remember, can’t truly love women. If a woman experiments it’s seen as hot (Cause it’s what men do), but if a guy does it, he’s gay. That’s going into the territory of something that women are supposed to do! So now we are shaming guys for exploring their sexuality and seeing what they like simply because it’s the “woman” thing.
Misogyny dictates what you can be like
The whole theme here is that being like women is shameful, because that’s seen as being weak. And for my final point, I want to show that it carries into many other facets. Men who talk in higher voices, have feminine mannerisms, take care of feminine chores, grow long hair, may use a “feminine” product like make up, liking a “feminine” game or show or movie, they’re all a joke or looked down upon and made fun of. You can’t even cry or show too much emotion without being too “feminine” and therefor made fun of. It is literally mentally and emotionally harmful to men. Our culture has created two pieces that have set these things to harm men. First, we have declared what is “for women.” They are the clothes, mannerisms, jobs, and everything else in life that are to be associated with women. And then we declare that to be like a woman is weak and therefor shameful. And so, men cannot be like women in any capacity, or they are weak and shameful. And so when I speak out against misogyny, I am not “ignoring” men or “hating” men. In fact, quite the opposite, when we empower and liberate women, we are inherently liberating men as well. Smash gender roles and be free!