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Sexism and Men's Issues
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Sexism and Men's Issues:

 1 Karalora, Fri, 8th Jun '12 6:45:40 AM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Here's hoping this isn't considered too redundant. I've noticed that our existing threads about sexism tend to get bogged down in Oppression Olympics or else wildly derailed, so I thought I'd make a thread specifically to talk about discrimination issues that disproportionately affect men.

No Oppression Olympics here, okay? No saying "But that's not important because women suffer X which is worse!" And no discussing these issues purely in terms of how much better women have it. Okay? If the discussion cannot meaningfully proceed without making a comparison to male and female treatment, that's fine, but on the whole I want this thread to be about how men are harmed by society and how we can fix it. Issues like:

  • The male-only draft (in countries that have one)
  • Circumcision
  • Cavalier attitudes toward men's pain and sickness, AKA "Walk it off!"
  • The Success Myth, which defines a man's desirability by his material success. Also The Myth of Men Not Being Hot, which denies that men can be sexually attractive as male beings.
  • Sexual abuse of men.
  • Family law.
  • General attitudes that men are dangerous or untrustworthy.

I could go on making the list, but I think you get the idea.

Despite what you might have heard about feminists not caring about men, it's not true. I care about men. Patriarchy sucks for them as much as it sucks for women, in a lot of ways. So I'm putting my keyboard where my mouth is and making a thread for us to all care about men.

Also? If you're male and think of something as a men's issue, by golly that makes it a men's issue fit for inclusion in this thread. I might disagree with you as to the solution, but as a woman I'm not going to tell you you have no right to be concerned about it. No "womansplaining" here.
 2 Shaggy, Fri, 8th Jun '12 8:31:46 AM from Purgatory, ME
Kitty!
The only thing I can think of to add to this discussion is the fact that, in America, on average, men will make less money in their lifetime if they try to obtain equal rights by not signing up for the draft. It's a $250, 000 fine and five years in prison, plus the fact that you have a felony and no one is going to hire you.

There's also the fact that men are expected to pay for dates.
If anyone in the thread wants to kidnap me, I don't mind. We'd just be in their van drinking Mountain Dew and watching MLP for days on end
Flying Dutchman
Also The Myth of Men Not Being Hot, which denies that men can be sexually attractive as male beings.

I'm afraid I've never encountered this one, Karalora. Could you explain?

No "womansplaining" here.

If there's one thing men will always be better than women at, it's condescendingly explaining to people why their problems are less important than ours.
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

  • Men tend to be the person who initates relationships. There's an attitude that man who doesn't speak up about his attraction to a woman is a "coward".
  • A man who stares at a hot woman is a creep. A woman who stares at a man is waiting for him to make a move.
  • A common complaint is about women constantly being hit on, the sexier they look. But, combining the two points above, this attitude is reinforced and then the man is blamed.

I'm afraid I've never encountered this one, Karalora. Could you explain?

Delicacy Is Beautiful.

edited 8th Jun '12 8:42:41 AM by KingZeal

 5 Aceof Spades, Fri, 8th Jun '12 8:44:25 AM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Since when do men get fined for not signing up for the draft? That's... what? That's not even remotely true. Where did that come from? (I had to read that a couple times to make sure I was reading it right. That doesn't happen in America.)
Is that cake frosting?
Another issue that we might add: males who do "stereotypically feminine" jobs (teaching in primary school, for example) are definitely stigmatized.

edited 8th Jun '12 8:49:03 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

Flying Dutchman
Since when do men get fined for not signing up for the draft? That's... what? That's not even remotely true. Where did that come from? (I had to read that a couple times to make sure I was reading it right. That doesn't happen in America.)

Actually...

The Selective Service registration form states that failure to register is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a $250, 000 fine.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Though it has not been enforced since 1986, it is still on the books, and I can't say I'm terribly fond of either the Selective Service System as it stands or this particular punishment for not registering. You can also lose your job if you are a Federal employee and you fail to register for any reason (many people forget, or are never told they need to).

edited 8th Jun '12 8:59:02 AM by DerelictVessel

"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

 8 Drunk Girlfriend, Fri, 8th Jun '12 8:57:09 AM from Castle Geekhaven
@Spades: Actually, male US Citizens are still required to sign up for Selective Service when they turn 18. If they fail to do so, they can be fined, face jail time, and become ineligible for certain government benefits, like Pell Grants and federally sponsored job training, and suchlike.

Women aren't required to sign up.

edited 8th Jun '12 8:58:01 AM by DrunkGirlfriend

"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
 9 Karalora, Fri, 8th Jun '12 8:58:12 AM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
The Myth of Men Not Being Hot is the idea that women are attracted to a man's voice or personality or wallet or accomplishments or etchings or car or whatever...but never his actual physical form. It's the idea that a nude man in a movie is automatically Fan Disservice (usually with references to hair and sweat), that women are categorically more beautiful than men, that male genitals are silly-looking at best and frightening or repulsive at worst, that men love to look at women but not vice-versa, and overall, that when men are sexy, it's despite their sex or tangential to it, but in no way because of it.

It seems to be due to several converging factors, mainly Male Gaze, homophobia, and the conflation of attractiveness with sexual desirability. If liking to look at something means wanting to bang it, and men are the ones doing the looking, and male homosexuality is abhorrent, then men are not good-looking. Period. And while this means men are usually spared the expectation of looking good, it also means that they are denied the possibility of looking good, and that hurts them.

It's bogus, of course. You have my word on that as a straight woman.
 10 Master Inferno, Fri, 8th Jun '12 8:59:49 AM from Ideal City Relationship Status: Cast away
All Pop, No Culture
* General attitudes that men are dangerous or untrustworthy.

A specific example of this I've heard of (no idea if it's true or not, so confirm/deny as appropriate) is that on some UK airlines men are not allowed to sit next to otherwise unattended children because "you might rape them". Though I am somewhat skeptical of this as it sounds an awful lot like the rad-fem strawman of "anything with a penis is a sex crime waiting to happen"...
Today's episode of Master Inferno Says Terrible Things is brought to you by...
 11 Derelict Vessel, Fri, 8th Jun '12 9:01:01 AM from the Ocean Blue
Flying Dutchman
The Myth of Men Not Being Hot is the idea that women are attracted to a man's voice or personality or wallet or accomplishments or etchings or car or whatever...but never his actual physical form. It's the idea that a nude man in a movie is automatically Fan Disservice (usually with references to hair and sweat), that women are categorically more beautiful than men, that male genitals are silly-looking at best and frightening or repulsive at worst, that men love to look at women but not vice-versa, and overall, that when men are sexy, it's despite their sex or tangential to it, but in no way because of it.

It seems to be due to several converging factors, mainly Male Gaze, homophobia, and the conflation of attractiveness with sexual desirability. If liking to look at something means wanting to bang it, and men are the ones doing the looking, and male homosexuality is abhorrent, then men are not good-looking. Period. And while this means men are usually spared the expectation of looking good, it also means that they are denied the possibility of looking good, and that hurts them.

It's bogus, of course. You have my word on that as a straight woman.

Alright, that makes sense. Thank you for explaining (as well as King Zeal).
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

 12 Drunk Girlfriend, Fri, 8th Jun '12 9:02:46 AM from Castle Geekhaven
[up][up] I don't know about that specifically, but I do know from experience that men are more likely to be considered potential child molesters than females are. It's got something to do with the stereotype about how men think with their dicks and don't see anything but a warm place to stick it.

edited 8th Jun '12 9:02:51 AM by DrunkGirlfriend

"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
[up][up][up][up]No, you are absolutely right.

I've mentioned before that, even after I became bi, I still tend not to find "masculine" features attractive. Body hair, stout jaws, wide necks, large hands, deep voices, lack of curves (Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick oh and penises) tend to be unattractive to me. Usually, when I'm attracted to someone definitely male, it's in spite of these things, not because of them.

The irony, and I suppose the thing that may change my mind someday, is that Amazonian Beauties are a fetish for me.

edited 8th Jun '12 9:04:36 AM by KingZeal

Is that cake frosting?
I don't know about that specifically, but I do know from experience that men are more likely to be considered potential child molesters than females are.
To play the devil's advocate... I have no statistics at hand, but I am pretty sure that I remember reading that the reported cases of rapes and child molestation have indeed predominantly male perpetrators.

This has probably a bunch of different reasons; but still, I cannot honestly fault somebody for thinking that, on average, a random male is more likely to be a rapist than a random female. Still, the thing to remember is that the percentages are extremely low in any case: a random male is near certainly no rapist or pedophile, just as a random female.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 15 Drunk Girlfriend, Fri, 8th Jun '12 9:13:02 AM from Castle Geekhaven
[up] Well, I meant actively considered, not passively. That's the difference between teaching your kid not to talk to strangers (good idea) and screaming "GET AWAY FROM MY CHILD" when a strange man picks up a toy your kid dropped (bad idea).

edited 8th Jun '12 9:13:17 AM by DrunkGirlfriend

"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
Hm, some thoughts:
The male-only draft (in countries that have one)
While not exactly fair, I don't see that as that bad (I got drafted, I might add). Assuming a draft is necessary in principle, I don't have the feeling it would be better if everyone had to go there. It doesn't really help me if others have to lose time there as well, does it?
If you select a certain percentage out of a age group for the military, some will always be unlucky. Assuming I support a draft in principle (not saying that I do or that I don't), I can't really complain that one of those unlucky to be drafted is me.

Circumcision
Don't really see that as sexism, only as lack of concern for bodily autonomy that happens to be more relevant to men in the USA. In other countries it's more relevant for women. I.e. just a "human" problem, but one that we should still solve.

Cavalier attitudes toward men's pain and sickness, AKA "Walk it off!"
The Success Myth, which defines a man's desirability by his material success. Also The Myth of Men Not Being Hot, which denies that men can be sexually attractive as male beings.
I think those describe a problem that many men feel. That there's a huge pressure to have power and control. Sickness or visible showing of pain means a lack of control, so that's bad. On the other hand, I believe many men LIKE it that way. At least in western cultures.

Sexual abuse of men.
A problem for everyone, so I don't really see it as "Men's issue"

Family law.
That's the ONLY point that really bothers me on the list (as a "Men's Issue" ). And one that is fortunately changing here (in Germany). The fathers position was continously strengthened over the last 20 years, first giving shared custody after divorce (instead of just giving the mother custody), and after a recent ruling of the supreme court fathers gain shared custody at birth, even if father and mother weren't married or lived together. I don't know the situation in the USA though.

General attitudes that men are dangerous or untrustworthy.
Not a problem that I ever had personally, I think it's not that important in social interaction (at least here - I don't know the situation in the USA), and more important for the possibility that you get caught in the justice system while innocent.
Pour y voir clair, il suffit souvent de changer la direction de son regard

www.xkcd.com/386/
 17 0dd 1, Fri, 8th Jun '12 9:27:15 AM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
[up][up][up] (in agreement with [up][up]): Yeah, it's generally not a good idea to assume some random person you don't know is going to be a danger. I'm not saying you have to completely trust every random stranger you meet, but certainly don't assume they gonna rape ya and kill ya.

edited 8th Jun '12 9:27:52 AM by 0dd1

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 18 Oh So Into Cats, Fri, 8th Jun '12 9:38:05 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Men denied the possibility of looking attractive? The male form being disgusting and silly-looking? I think a significant number of people disagree. And I think it's probably more related to homophobia than anything else.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
My mom has commented before on how gross she thinks naked men are, and she seems to think women are objectively more beautiful than men. I find this weird seeing as she's a straight woman. tongue

It's very common, actually.

 21 Hilarity Ensues, Fri, 8th Jun '12 1:55:55 PM from Standing between Sho'Nuff and total supremacy.
I'm pretty staunchly antimilitarist so I find the concept of a draft in general immoral. The only solution I see is abolishing it; the idea of extending it to even more people in the name of equality is just repugnant to me. But I'll quit that topic before I get on a political soapbox because that isn't the point of the thread.

In general, I'd say a lot of sexism towards men is mainly an extension of the more traditional sexism towards women. All Abusers Are Male comes from the idea that women are weak and cannot seriously harm a man, the insensitivity people show men who show any kind of negative emotion comes from the belief that showing grief is a "womanly" trait, etc.

edited 8th Jun '12 2:10:03 PM by HilarityEnsues

 22 Morven, Fri, 8th Jun '12 2:07:04 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
When it comes to the sexism of the wider, majority society, it's the same system that harms both genders in different ways, yes.

Really, the US needs to abandon its draft provisions, yes. The military does not want it, the civilian population does not want it either.
A brighter future for a darker age.
 23 Derelict Vessel, Fri, 8th Jun '12 2:08:14 PM from the Ocean Blue
Flying Dutchman
In addition to the above [up][up], I would venture to suggest that most sexual abuse against men happens in prison, and thus it is both a problem of sexism and a problem of the prison system being broken nearly in its entirety.

edited 8th Jun '12 2:08:49 PM by DerelictVessel

"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

 24 Morven, Fri, 8th Jun '12 2:23:12 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
Personal experience says a lot happens in school, too. Not surprising, really.
A brighter future for a darker age.
 25 Muramasan 13, Fri, 8th Jun '12 4:37:56 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Rape being defined as, essentially, penetration without consent for the purposes of statistics and law in many places. The FBI's definition of "rape" was "forcible vaginal penetration" until January of this year; this is at least part of the reason so few rapists are reported as female.

Additionally, male preschool teachers (and sometimes elementary and middle-school teachers) are accused of only taking the job because they are pedophiles with surprising regularity, the logic apparently being that women can't be pedophiles and men can't be interested in furthering the education of children during the early phases of development. When's the last time you saw a man in a job dedicated to taking care of toddlers? I've met guys who like teaching little kids, but there's a large amount of discrimination against them as early childhood educators.

One more thing: homelessness as it relates to sex. How often do you see homeless men? Now, how often do you see homeless women? It's not because men want to be homeless, or are more likely to be shiftless. It's because, in failing households where not everybody can be provided for, males get the boot first. This may not be unreasonable in and of itself (street life is likely to be kinder to a man than a woman), but it's a symptom.

edited 8th Jun '12 4:39:13 PM by Muramasan13

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