Men: They Can’t Win

04/05/2012 § Leave a comment

I spent my own period in life feeling disillusioned with feminism. I said stupid things like “Well, I’m really more of an egalitarianist.” So, really, I know what’s up. I’ve been there. In fact, I still say incredibly stupid stuff about feminism sometimes. These days, I am happy to be schooled in the ways in which I am being dumb, so here’s my schooling for others.

Dear People Who Say Dumb Things,

When you say something like “Well, men really can’t win in this situation.” or “What about the male experience?” I fail entirely to see how this is any different than saying, of post-colonial work, “Well, what about the colonizers? They have problems, too!” or “What about affirmative action? White people need jobs, too!” or “That’s just reverse racism!”  Here’s what’s up. I understand that masculinity is just as constructed as femininity, and that, often times, men feel just as constrained by conceptions of manliness as women feel by womanliness. I got it. Sorry about that, the only thing I can tell you is that feminists are on your side on that front. Furthermore, there are lots of men who feel the same, some of whom identify as feminist and some who do not.

Unless you are living in a system of systematic oppression, it isn’t the same. Not even remotely. Further, I will see your refusing to acknowledge that you speak from a privileged position as the whining of an intractable four-year-old who is trying to get peoples’ attention. Nothing personal.

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