the oppression olympics

Jade Anderson's portrait.

Feminism strives to achieve gender equality. Feminism has opened up the dialogue about anything to do with gender. These problems are only being solved because of feminism.
Feminism is your friend, yes even if you have a penis.

I’m not comfortable with how this guy’s status is trying to outdo women in some form of oppression olympics. The idea is to improve things for everyone, people of all genders, ages, abilites, classes, ethnicities etc etc (the clue here is in the ‘everyone’ part).

I shall reiterate my stance that being a man in today’s society sucks balls, just in different ways to how being a woman (or anything that doesn’t fit into the gender binary for that matter) sucks balls. The suicide rate for men is 4x that for women. There absolutely has to be (and is) a reason for this. The pressures put on men to never be vulnerable, to always have their shit together, never appear weak, be in charge, take control, have all the power, never fall down – it’s all ridiculous and clearly it takes its toll.

The thing is, a couple of things mentioned in this guy’s status that are always pitched as ‘male problems’ are also female problems, or are clearly sexist to women as well as to men..

Conscription: Men having to fight while women ‘get to stay at home’, is caused by benevolent sexism. Benevolent sexism is the idea that women are weak and need to be protected. A lot of women in times of war did want to fight for their country. A lot of women do now fight for their country, but they’ve had to campaign extensively to be given the right to fight on front lines.

Penises being mutilated: This is due to religious and cultural tradition and is grim as fuck. Something that is also due to religious and cultural tradition and is grim as fuck is female genital mutilation. But it’s not as widely known about as circumcision. It has absolutely no medical benefits whatsoever, quite to the contrary; long term consequences include chronic vaginal and pelvic infections, difficulty passing urine, kindey impairment and possible kidney failure, infertility, pain during sex and/or complete loss of pleasure, psychological damage, complications during pregnancy, flashbacks during pregnancy/childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
Circumcision is more widely practiced, with a third of men worldwide having had the procedure done on them, but there is a reason for FGM being illegal and considered a violation of the rights of girls and women. But basically anything that involves the word ‘mutilation’ is a big ‘no thank you’.

Men being raped: Men are the majority rapists of both men and women. That is a fact. Men being raped is a massive problem, women being raped is also a massive problem. There may be more of a dialogue surrounding women being raped, which might be because it happens more often. It doesn’t mean it’s worse. Nobody, ever, deserves to be raped. If we were to address the power relations and reasons for men raping so often (and anyone raping obviously) it would greatly improve things for everyone.

Men rarely winning child custody: This is also to do with benevolent sexism, the idea that just because she’s a woman she’ll be a better caregiver when that’s not necessarily the case at all. The idea that the main reason for women being alive is to bear children (when we’re asked why we don’t want children we’re told we’ll change our minds in time, how could we be so selfish, how could you choose career over family etc).

My main point is that these are problems for both men and women, and they can be solved through the help of feminism.
The last paragraph is rather dodgy, it seems as though it’s making out that women aren’t oppressed and that men have it worse, and that women are just complaining about trivial things. I’m not quite sure you can reduce women’s very real experiences of oppression to that.

Every single status or most comments I’ve ever made about feminism have been met with ‘yeah but what about men, men have it worse, etc etc’ instead of a ‘yeah that fucking sucks, this also sucks for me/men *insert very real problems here*’.
It may seem like a small distinction but it makes a helluva lot of difference.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s