No. Stop. It isn’t a thing.
I was having a conversation with some work friends on our lunch break, mostly about bad dates and what we thought of some of the new hires. One of them had been harassing a few of us, Mary in particular. He’d rubbed a lot of us the wrong way by dropping small comments about how women have it so much easier at the office because all the bosses are men, or “joking” about how political correctness is ruining the workplace. But apparently he’d taken a special interest in Mary, or she’d just had the unfortunate luck of being cornered in the break room when he was having an off day. He went on about how society is devolving into a matriarchy, how women have too much power now, how women cry rape just to ruin men’s lives, and how the real victims of sexism are actually men.
If any of you feel the same, you should know straight up that your beliefs are wrong.
To prove this, let’s look at what sexism actually means, since this seems to be a common misconception. Sexism requires two things: bigotry against a group of people based on their sex, and the power to do something about it on an institutional level.
Women can be victims of sexism: we still make about three-fourths of what a man makes in the same position; there are more male CEOs named John than there are female CEOs as a whole, and married heterosexual women are still expected to take care of children and tend to the house even when she and her husband both work full-time. As Nasim Pedrad said on an infamously hilarious SNL sketch: “If men could get pregnant, abortion clinics would be like a Starbucks. There would be two in every block and four in every airport, and the morning-after pill would come in different flavors, like sea salt and cool ranch.”
Transgender and non-gender-conforming folks can also be victims of sexism. As the recent debate on trans bathroom access proves, men have the power not only to say really awful things about trans people who use public restrooms that match their gender, but also to pass laws based on that prejudice.
Men are literally the only class of citizens that can’t face sexism. They’re the only ones with the power to make these changes. While women are slowly making room for themselves in boardrooms and the political realm, it’s been incredibly slowgoing. Trans and non-binary individuals are virtually non-existent here. Can men face prejudice? Absolutely. Can women be bigoted against men? Sure. But prejudice and bigotry aren’t the same as sexism.
And the bigotry and prejudice men face largely come as a side effect of sexism against women. It’s certainly true that men are under pressure to suppress their emotions, and it’s just as true that this is both wrong and unfair – but you have to look deeper than that. Why are men under pressure to be emotionless? What happens when they are? They’re accused of being weak, feminine, girly. They’re accused of “acting like a woman”, and this accusation is flung as a deliberate insult. Sexism against men can’t exist in a world where comparing a man to a woman is a slap in the face.
Males can be victims of gender-based prejudice, but until men aged 25 to 35 find it harder to secure jobs because their would-be employers are afraid they might want to start a family and quit in a few years, we need to stop pretending as though we’re living in an Amazonian matriarchy where men are somehow being reduced.
If demanding equal space and an equal voice, and asking that you not make rape jokes at the water cooler (or anywhere else), constitutes sexism, if this is what’s causing the destruction of male society as we know it, maybe it deserves to crumble.
Comment: Do you agree?