Maybe Men are the Victims

This is going to be a response somewhat tangential to the UCSB massacre. Hatred towards and violence against women gets me to a dark place, mentally, in a hurry, and there have already been some good articles written in response to the massacre (and general misogyny). Plus the #YesAllWomen business on Twitter. 

But I wanted to suggest that maybe men are the victims. Not all men, and I don't mean victims of women. From that book, Sex at Dawn:

"Societies in which women have lots of autonomy and authority tend to be decidedly male-friendly, relaxed, tolerant, and plenty sexy. Got that, fellas? [sic] If you're unhappy at the amount of sexual opportunity in your life, don't blame the women. Instead, make sure they have equal access to power, wealth, and status. Then watch what happens.

"As with bonobos, where female coalitions are the ultimate social authority and individual females need not fear the larger males, human societies in which women are 'sassy and confident' [...] - free to express their minds and sexuality without fear of shame or persecution - tend to be far more comfortable places for most men than societies ruled by a male elite."

I think, when people hear about sexism, patriarchy, or feminism, they think: men > women. And men do certainly have privileges in our society and around the world that women do not. The propensity of gender-based violence is just one example of that. 

But, let's just think for a second about who really benefits from the patriarchy, from the gender structure in society. 

Take, for example, polygamy. Getting to have many wives and/or girlfriends while women are expected to stay sexually loyal, sounds pretty good, huh dudes? All you have to do is run the numbers for a second; population is 50/50, male/female; each guy who can afford it has two, three, as-many-as-he-can-afford wives. The supply of wives runs out fairly quick. And while this system sucks for women because of the spread of STDs, because of the gendered double-standard, and because they're attached, solely, to a person divided two or three ways, at least they have a companion. The whole host of less-advantaged men is left with nobody. 

It doesn't take too much effort to pull similar examples from our society. Slut shaming - men are congratulated for their sexual activity while women are seen as tarnished. (Something I've heard a friend say: "Men regret the women they don't sleep with; women regret the men they do.") I've heard this explained by way of male insecurity - men want to have lots of sex and sexual experience, but they want their partner (and especially long-term partner) to have little sexual experience by which to compare them. Who does this benefit, if men want to have lots of sexual experience but punish women, socially, for that experience? It benefits men who women will sleep with in spite of the social consequences, the male social elite. They're the only ones who can have it both ways.

Or how about ridiculous standards of beauty for women? Good for men, no? The more we pressure women to be beautiful - to really work on their appearance - the more beautiful women men will have to look at. I grew up intensely aware that I was not an ideal beauty. In high school, I pursued no guys at all. I was closed off, invulnerable because I didn't look like the women in magazines. I found out later that some of my crushes liked me back. Lots of opportunities lost that way. So who loses if only movie-star-grade women feel secure enough to talk to, flirt and/or have sex with men?

Even the idea that it must be the man who pursues the woman. Who benefits from that? Only men who are pursuers - not all guys are like that. And what if women didn't feel that they were in at least minimal physical danger on a daily basis? Maybe dating the buff jock guys wouldn't be such a priority. 

We get so gender focused that guys often hear "feminism'' and think they have something to lose. Like, because they are male, they have a chance of breaking into the upper echelon of male elite. 

Social stability is often founded on hierarchy because it's so easy for the leaders to enforce. People at the near bottom will actively defend the status quo - even though the system is screwing them over - because if the status quo remains in tact, they'll always have someone beneath them. 

Guys, the dudes at the top are not going to let you in just because you are male. From way back, the restrictions on female sexuality were and are used to make you work harder, in the elite man's cog, so that you can afford a wife/girlfriend/lover. They're using the dehumanization and objectification of women to keep you down. And so many of you are eating it up.

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