How’s your day in my future going? I’m (hopefully) having a great day in Montana while you read this. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about my vacation when I get back. But right now it’s time to get down to…business? This isn’t really a job. I don’t get paid. Either way, I was thinking more about gender inequality, which is just such a wonderfully substantive topic that is never ending. However, I was thinking today about reverse discrimination, as my dad calls it. Specifically, I was thinking about an ad I saw a while ago trying to promote equality. See it here:
Of course, it’s a totally unfair ad. It’s poorly worded. It doesn’t present the world as it is in reality. Women are abused sexually in higher numbers than men by a significant margin. But the ad does bring forward a problem that I see and hear a lot. Which is that feminism sometimes, depending on the hands it is in, is not about equality and instead about feminine superiority. Typically it’s not even consciously done either. This subconscious idea is how we end up with ads that show two people in the same scenario (Jake drunk, Josie drunk) and think it’s ok to just blame one of them without further clarification. I’ll take a recent example that happened to me by my own family.
My sister and I are both over 21, she’s a couple years older than me. This last Mother’s Day, she received a gift, despite not being a mother, simply because my mom felt like giving her one. That’s super sweet, and I think it picks up on the spirit of the tradition rather than the strict definition of the holiday.
Father’s Day rolls around, and I don’t get a gift. Now, I don’t really care. I’m not a father. I mean sure, I was a little like “hey that’s a double standard” but let’s be honest, Father’s Day has always fallen a bit more to the wayside in American society in comparison to Mother’s Day. The guys are already so far ahead in society, it’s less valuable. Or a “real man” wouldn’t need to celebrate. Regardless, I noticed this difference. And this is the kind of duality that even the most foreword thinking person can make a mistake out of.
One of the problems I have come to face is that the pride that exists for being a woman far out weighs the pride there is for being a man. This could just be the household I was raised in. But we constantly talk up how important women are—which is effectively affirmative action for women, who have been neglected for decades. But in filling the silence with just talk about the greatness of women, we often unintentionally push aside the great parts of being a man. Which I don’t think is the core aim of feminism. A lot of people call feminists pretentious, which I think is pretty clearly false. But there certainly could be experiences like this that would cause people to feel that way. If all I saw were women tooting their own horns constantly, and shaming men for being “manly,” I would feel the same way.
This is a bigger topic than I have time for today. I don’t mean to say that women aren’t facing more difficulty than men. Sexual assault occurs too often. It’s unacceptable that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in college, and we need to be better about it. But we don’t solve the problem by holding up women and leaving men behind like some people do. We do that by lifting up everyone. Don’t make it a battle of the sexes. Make it a cooperative victory.