Feminism has been a source of great positive
change, and it will likely continue the same in the future
. However, there is something wrong
with it that has gone ignore
d for far too long. The problem is simple: any doctrine of sexual interaction has to address the sexes. Both
of them. One cannot construct a realistic new social
dynamic between the sexes if you ignore
e one of them entirely. That's just ridiculous
. I have yet to see feminism address all
of the inequalities between the sexes. It has done a splendid
job overcoming problems faced by women
, but if feminist doctrine is to be believe
d, men encounter no
s whatsoever. This is simply untrue
. College attendance is a perfect
example. Women entering college have begun to outnumber
men by a startlingly large amount. The U.S. Department of Education
reported in 1996 that women comprised 56 percent of college undergraduate and graduate students. Recent studies show that this gap
has grown even larger. When unbalanced
statistics like this begin to show up, it becomes consequential to start paying the male end of the spectrum some attention
If men in society have started underachieving (or if they have really been underachieving all along), it is ludicrous to apply the feminist idea of systematic gender-based oppression. This leads to other theories. Some suggest that men may be intellectually inferior because of their biology. There is, of course, no evidence in support of this. This argument is simply poetic justice for similar conclusions drawn about women a century ago. Far more likely is the possibility that the fashion in which males are socialized has had a detrimental effect upon their ability to compete in an academic environment. If true, this makes the inequities faced by men fundamentally different from many of those faced by women, but no less real. Sociology teaches us that nearly any dominant social group will ascribe characteristics to other groups, which it will then use to define itself by negation. For example, the characteristics generally ascribed to young black men include a violent temperament and lack of education. White culture then takes these constructions and creates an illusion of respectability by saying "Well, at least we aren't like them ..."
Men are no exception. We think of women as emotional and touchy-feely, and so it is acceptable for men to be anything but that. Women wear makeup, so men cannot. Women carry purses, so men cannot. Someone once told me that it is insulting to women that men do not wear skirts or dresses. Maybe so, but it is a social restriction on men, not women. Think about that. Guys have a much more limited choice of apparel. Guys are not allowed to be emotional. Guys are not allowed to be physically affectionate. Guys are not allowed to be asexual. There are even "girly" alcoholic beverages that guys are made fun of for drinking. Because of this atmosphere of identity by negation, women are really much more free to do what they like than men are. There are also appalling cultural myths extant in society about how guys only think with their penises. I gag when I see this kind of tripe show up in sitcoms and other hallmarks of pop culture. Who hasn't seen the idiotic husband/boyfriend character starting conflicts with his significant other, only to be outmatched by her superior feminine intelligence? You may say that it's all in fun, but any myth this prevalent is not just there for sheer amusement; people internalize it.
Men are viewed as walking tampon-wannabes. If a guy hugs you, it's because he wants to get into your pants. If a guy talks with you, it's as a prelude to getting into your pants. Guy friends are only your friends, because they're hoping to get into your pants in the near future. And if a guy and a girl do have sex, it becomes entirely the man's responsibility afterward. Women are far from blameless in this matter; they buy into the cultural constructions of gender just as blindly as men do. We all know the statistic published by Ms. magazine editor Mary Koss that one in four women have been raped in their lifetimes. Of the women who were supposedly raped in this study, fully 73 percent weren't aware that they had been raped and 43 percent continued to date the supposed rapist. These figures are by Koss' own admission. Now, either women are really remarkably ignorant about what their own rape entails, or the "one-in-four" figure Koss speculated is a gross attempt to demonize American men. Men are demonized and restricted, and they are stumbling in matters of scholarly achievement. And still feminism speaks of a society ruled by a callous elite of men. Perhaps so, but each American male has to pay for every bit of the advantages enjoyed by the few. Feminists, if you're genuinely serious about finding equality for the sexes, then we have to focus on reforming attitudes concerning both of them.