Cliff Gardner

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is really frustrating

I am a huge proponent of the often neglected male aspect of gender equality. There are numerous ways that men are uniquely hurt in our society. Specifically, a machismo-filled culture discriminates against men who don’t look like Ashton Kutcher (read: me) in the same way that women are made to hate themselves if they don’t look like Salma Hayek. However, while our culture reaches out to women by encouraging them to express their emotions and confront eating disorders and other problems, men are told to bottle up their issues because an emotional man is often considered effeminate (which is, for some reason, bad), which usually makes these dilemmas worse.

The same confinement of emotions is also one of the causes of rape laws that exclude men—in five states, men cannot be legally raped. While the number of reported sexual assaults is always much lower than the actual number, men have an additional motivation to not come forward when assaulted—admitting your attack means admitting that you were physically dominated, which makes you less of a man according to many destructive social stereotypes. So, the rates of reported male sexual assaults are often lower than the female counterparts. Rape is always terrible, but feeling like you can't do anything about it because of social pressures is even worse. In fact, these rapes against men are even made fun of in popular culture and in our daily lives—dropping the soap in the shower jokes are just one example of how male sexual assault has become so common that it is socially acceptable to laugh at rape.

My point is that there are lots of ways that men are very seriously hurt in our society that demand our immediate attention. Movements like this shift the focus away from the areas where it is really needed and demean very legitimate social concerns. I am very ashamed to be a man today.


  • Yes! I've heard people in several debate rounds talk about the inequalities between men and women in rape/sexual assault reporting. As far as I can remember, all those people were women. It seems like even *talking* about the stigma associated with male attacks has a stigma itself. It's good to hear a man speak out about the shameful double-standard in the legal system and society as a whole.

    By Blogger SDeGroot, at 6:12 PM  

  • WOW! that article pissed me off REAL bad.

    but also, there may be pressure on men to look like Ashton Kutcher, but there is much less emphasis placed on men's physical appearance when it comes to his overall worth than is the case with women--this is the ACTUAL root to gross dudes with hot wives. A not-so-good-looking-guy who happens to be smart and really awesome typically gets more respect than a female equivalent.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 7:59 PM  

  • Yay! Let's all abandon responsibility for our sexual choices and the children that could result!!!

    Good for you, T-Mac. Way to get an important and overlooked issue out there.

    By Blogger Haylie, at 11:53 PM  

  • You already know how I feel about this. If women want men to be their allies in fighting the stereotypes and injustices surrounding them, the same courtesy should be extended to men.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 AM  

  • It is very true... you make some really great points, but honestly I can't think of a sol'n. What would help besides a society about-face?

    On a side note: I love Salma!

    By Anonymous Kim, at 12:57 PM  

  • Ok, I just read that article, and I now hate that guy. Yeah you have the right to your body, just like the woman does, to have sex or not to have sex... what a dumbass!

    By Anonymous Kim, at 12:59 PM  

  • That article makes me want to kill someone

    By Anonymous Lucy, at 1:39 PM  

  • I showed the article to several of my platonic friends--we all got a laugh out of how utterly ridiculous that lawsuit is, but after the laughing wore off, it served as a pretty powerful reminder of the gendered differences that still exist in society today. And just as men in that article make me ashamed of my gender, men who are able to eloquently write about a subject such as this in the way you have make me less ashamed of my gender. Kudos to you!

    By Anonymous Eric Atcheson, at 10:19 PM  

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