Second Class Citizen

Second Class Citizen: A second-class citizen is a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slavesoutlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and economic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. (from Wikipedia)

I am a white male… and I am not a second-class citizen. That statement might be obvious to most people but apparently Suzanne Venker sees a war on men that is invisible to the masses. While I originally was too angry and annoyed with Venker’s post I have decided to respond as a white male who disagrees.

First (and maybe most importantly), to call men “second class citizens” is an insult to people who have endured systematic abuse and mistreatment in the past. There is no legal system that discriminates against me due to my gender. I don’t worry that being attractive will get me fired or being unattractive will prevent me from getting a job. People do not assume that I have a lower paying job in an office simply because of my gender. I don’t worry the police are going to shake me down or harass me because of the color of my skin. Venker’s statement that “the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence” is not true in my personal experience. Maybe Venker has some scientific studies to back up her points but she certainly isn’t sharing them.

Venker states that male bashing is “rampant and irrefutable” within sitcoms and in the media in general. American men are pounced on and dads are portrayed as idiots. While there are certainly many dumb and loving dads in sitcoms it is intellectually dishonest to use this as the sole media measure as how men are treated poorly in the media. I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms but I know some do include “dumb dads” but they also tend to portray stereotypes that greatly benefit men. Parks and Recreation, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and Modern Family all include men who could be seen as overweight with wives who are “eye candy”… I can’t think of a single instance where an overweight female is married to a fit/sexy man in a sitcom (please correct me if I’m wrong). TV is fiction, it is flawed, and it gives people fantasy versions of reality… but it is not attacking men. Men’s roles may be changing but that change is not necessarily bad or “war”.

After Venker’s two sentence no proof attack on media she starts blaming schools from Kindergarten to college. She says that curriculum are centered on girls, rather than boys (citation needed). She also takes issue with Title IX in college and gives a couple of vague examples of the negative consequences of IX. I agree that there are problems in our public education system, but those problems are not because of some sort of secret liberal attack on masculinity. The problems stem from trying to find universal solutions to complex institutional issues. We desperately need more innovation, experimentation, and adaptation to the modern age in education. We need colleges to be able to specialize and assist students to find what they are passionate about, what they can use in a future career, and teach them to know the difference between the two.

Yes, the pendulum has swung away from a hard-core “Man’s world”, and in some cases I believe things have gone wrong, but overall the changes in society have been positive. The world isn’t “Man’s world vs Woman’s world” it is “A world where we are treated as individuals vs a world where we are treated based on our genitalia”. Venker’s hyperbolic spew does nothing to make the world a freer, more equitable, peaceful, or prosperous society… quite the opposite, it only reinforces tribalism based on what is between our legs and attempts to maintain a failing, sexist, discriminatory social order.

Men, We Need Hold Each Other Responsible

There is an article going around about a TSA officer who shamed a 15-year old for her outfit (link here). Maybe it is my lack of sleep, maybe it is a lack of coffee, but this seriously pissed me off. Men, we need to get our shit together and take responsibility for ourselves (and hold our peers accountable).

If you can’t look at a half inch of flesh without lust in your heart that is YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM! Stop attempting to shame and control what women wear. Stop cat-calling every jogger in yoga pants. Stop assuming that a woman at the club dancing wants your penis inside of her. Did she say she wants your penis? Did she say she wants your attention? Did she say you can touch her? NO? Then the answer is no. It isn’t “if I try harder”, it isn’t “maybe if I holler at her from the corner she will see all my wonderful values and fall in love with me”, the answer is no until it is explicitly yes.

The human form is not sexual by default. I realize we have all been brought up in a country that treats the body as a purely sexual but taboo object. We’ve been told that showing skin is wrong because it is sexual. But our upbringing is not an excuse for individual behavior. There is a time and place for sexual activity, and that time and place is not every time you see the outline of a nipple, cleavage, or a woman exercising in form-fitting clothes. And any attempt at blaming evolution for this is a strawman at best, there are a lot of things that humans do that no other species has done, certainly we can add “treats everyone with respect, judges people for their character not their clothes, honors them as individuals, and requires explicit consent” to the list of things like “cooks food, wears clothes, uses technology, discusses philosophy, and shares pictures of cats”.

It is not men’s place to tell a woman what to wear, try to make her feel bad about what she is wearing, or to make assumptions based on what she is wearing. Seriously, if you lack any self control and feel like you need to prove you have a penis by hollering at everything with two X chromosomes do us all a favor and stay indoors until you are ready to be a part of civilized society.

Men, not only do we need to stop acting like sex-deprived shitheads but we need to call out our friends when they do it. It should be socially unacceptable to see a woman and assume “sex”, regardless of what she is or is not wearing. One of my favorite things about Burning Man was a woman could walk alone at night wearing nothing and feel safe. We men should help provide that safe place throughout society by holding each other accountable and treating women as something more than a potential lay.

-End Rant-