First, let’s get a few things out of the way. I am not a nice guy. For a few reasons.
- In recent years, I haven’t heard the word “nice” used to describe a person as a compliment — not a man, at least. “Nice” is the word that precedes a phrase starting with the conjunction “but”. It has a connotation of “Yeh, no.”
- If you had any idea what goes on in my head….
- My motives are never fully pure or altruistic. It’s always complicated. I’m a human being and a dude.
So I’m not the most enlightened person in the world, is what I’m saying. I’m not a guy who claims to be a male feminist or a social justice ally. Those labels mean a lot of things to a lot of people and they can and do duke it out over who’s doing it right to their heart’s content.
Also, I start a lot more blog entries than I finish so I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t care about all the other madness going on in the world. I usually don’t post about something until I’ve given it a lot of thought and, frankly, I can’t keep up.
In the past few weeks in the news I’ve seen some stuff, boy, and it bothers the hell out of me. It just keeps building up so I need to vent. (It was the mutilation one that did me in.) There was a lot of talk a while back about a “war on women”: maternity issues, equal pay, contraception, abortion, and other lofty social issues. Strong language, for sure. A striking rhetorical device.
I’m not talking about rhetorical devices, though. I’m talking about a physically (and emotionally and psychologically) hostile culture. Well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that. The line between desire/hatred and between respect/resentment is thin and razor sharp.
Let’s get to it. Here are some articles in the news recently. I tried to keep it to 2016 but some are older. Brace yourself. Trigger warnings. Horrific inhumanity ahead. In no particular order or grouping, and crossing all boundaries of countries, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities:
Why Are So Many White Male Rapists Avoiding Jail Time? (11 men and cases cited in this article)
- In 2009, nine men in a Bolivian Mennonite community were jailed for raping at least 100 women and girls
- The gang used a powerful sedative adapted from a tranquilizer to drug households before carrying out the attacks at Manitoba Colony
- Women were not initially believed despite waking to blood-soaked sheets
- Despite the convictions, it has emerged attacks in the colony have continued
I COULD GO ON
I could go on like this every day. And I know you could cherry pick any group, post a lot of links and make it seem like an epidemic. But the stats speak for themselves. This is real.
More than 1,600 Women Murdered by Men in One Year, New Study Finds. This is just in the US and only includes murder. It doesn’t include non-fatal domestic violence, physical and sexual assaults. It doesn’t account for stalking, intimidation, and harrassment.
At Least A Third Of All Women Murdered In The U.S. Are Killed By Male Partners (2014). With the sobering quote: “Over 18,000 Women Were Killed By Men Since 2003″
If I remember my stats correctly, domestic violence calls are the most dangerous calls for police officers and are most likely to to be fatal for a police officer compared to other calls. That may be outdated info, though. Check me on that.
Obviously, I’m not trying to paint all men as evil, sadistic brutes. Most are not. Even though it seems like half of us men have some messed up attitudes towards women. And women can be vile, too. No question.
Men are the victims of violence, too. Mostly from other men and at a far higher rate than women. There are very real, human consequences that we shouldn’t ignore or make light of.
It’s my perception — I’m sure I’m not the only one — that women have it pretty good in the US compared to many other countries. I have to generalize to say that because some groups of women have it much easier than others. But no one is immune from a culture riddled with toxic attitudes.
I almost forgot to mention sexual assault in the military. Big sigh. I mean, come the f*ck on.
There’s a quote that comes up on women’s issues websites often:
“Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”
What’s obvious to me from this constant violence is that not only are we, as a society, failing women; we’re failing men, too.
I’ve often said that the male ego is like ceramic. It’s amazingly strong and resilient. stronger than steel in certain ways, and able to withstand extreme temperature and environmental changes. Until you drop it or knock it the wrong way and then it fails catastrophically, shattering and sending shards flying like shrapnel. I’m not saying that men are weak or laughable. I’m saying that the nature of manhood, part biological and part social construct, is tragically mismanaged. Somehow, we need to help men manage their way through our changing culture and world, as much as we need to support women. We all need guidance, education, affirmation, some basic self-esteem, and strength of character so every setback doesn’t capsize us. Because this problem is deep in our culture.
There’s something wrong when young women and teenage girls are raped and then are ostracized and ousted from their communities, branded as sluts and whore, and often bullied into suicide while towns rally around the perpetrators.
There’s something very wrong with a culture that produces men who react violently to no.
There’s something wrong when convicted rapists get no jail time after being caught in the act or on video.
I don’t want to be politically partisan but it has to be said. There’s something wrong when a presidential candidate’s mother is called a whore because she, apparently, had more than one sexual partner during her lifespan or for some stupid reason.
When a presidential candidate bases his respect for women on how physically attractive they are and is vocal about it.
Or when a woman fighting for contraception to be covered by health insurance is labeled a slut, considering that boner pills are covered by health insurance, mind you.
When police can’t do anything to protect a woman from an obviously dangerous individual until a violent crime is committed. When a restraining or protective order only serves as postmortem validation.
There’s just … something is very off. When a breast is considered obscene WHILE BREAST FEEDING. It’s absolutely insane.
Strangely, there are groups of men gathering, virtually and sometimes in person, to lament the trials and tribulations of being men and the evils of women. Men’s rights. Misogyny clubs. Like I’ve said before, a lot of people are feeling disaffected, one way or another. A lot of people are hurting. But that’s another story for another day.
We have a long way to go with regards to gender equality. Hell, we have a long way to go with regards to basic human respect and dignity. Frankly, I don’t understand how much longer half of the human population is going to put up with this shit (by association, if not personally).