Or, what about teh menz? as it’s more frequently called.
This follows on from The Arb’s guest post about mansplaining, as it is a) a jargon term within feminist spheres, somewhat like mansplaining and b) is another facet of male privilege with regard to women, and specifically feminism.
So, what does it mean?
Well, in essence, the phrase normally refers to a discussion, usually in a feminist forum/environment, where women are talking about an aspect of inequality/discrimination, and a little male head pops up and says, ‘But men suffer that too!’
It can be anything. Rape, domestic violence, education, health, employment. Whatever the topic, even if one man suffers from something, it is valid to derail the discussion and talk about men instead. Not about women and their continued oppression, but we must talk about the men. Because they are more important. And equality means everyone, right?
There is no argument that men do suffer from patriarchy. The difference is, men also gain and have always gained from patriarchy. Women, as a social class, do not.
Feminism is trying to redress a historic imbalance. Men are not in that position. They are not the underclass.
Some random anecdotal examples of men saying they are being victimised:
Years ago I read on a forum a post by a white working class Brit who was complaining that it was increasingly difficult to get work in his chosen trade. Printing. And there was lots of publicity about equality for women but it was really unfair that he, as a man, was struggling to find work. Because you know, employment was his entitled right. And he wasn’t getting those rights. Therefore, something needed to be done to look after the men. [See the references below about how hard done-by men are regarding employment]
We hear about the high rate of young male suicides, but in fact in the UK it’s older men who have the higher rate of suicides. The rate for female suicides is consistently lower than the male rate.
What about heart disease? Traditionally labelled as a male illness. Yet, this article says it kills more women than men, but it has traditionally been underdiagnosed in women for cultural reasons.
When women talk about health issues, it’s not relevant to start quoting statistics of higher male suicides if we are discussing underdiagnosis of heart attacks in women. Not. The. Same. Topic.
Boys’ academic results fall behind girls. It’s no good trying to help girls if they perform better than boys. Shock! Horror! The system is wrong! Do something. Not: girls might possibly be more intelligent and/or more studious than boys.
Shakesville (link to short but succinct post below with other links) sums it up nicely.
and “women earn far more bachelor’s and master’s degrees than do men” (a pointless observation as long as women still need at least one degree more than their male counterparts to make as much money
Yup. At my level as Assistant Director, I was the only one with two degrees. None of the men had them. Including medics and accountants. Yet, there were also women below me who also had two degrees. Academic qualifications don’t mean shit when it comes to employment.
Plenty of links below explaining WATM. If you only read one, read badreputation, this quote comes from there:
“Women perform 66% of the world’s work, earn 10% of world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property.” What about the men? Fine. Let’s reverse that for a new quote:
Men perform 33% of the world’s work, earn 90% of world’s income and own 99% of the world’s property.
They also suffer much less domestic violence, rape, genital mutilation, sexual shame, sex trafficking, and have far more control over their lives and bodies. Their options for work aren’t limited, they are not considered to automatically have a duty to represent their whole gender if they reach the top of a profession or political office, and aren’t scrutinised as mercilessly if their partner does.
Sums it up nicely.
But, just in case, let me say it again. Men in society have power and privilege. Women (as a class, rather than the minority number of women leaders of state, or CEOs, etc) do not.
So, when women talk about the major issues they face, eg the list from badreputation above, it simply isn’t appropriate to say, well men have problems too. It reads like an attempt to invalidate and derail genuine problems that women face. Please, don’t do it. We are pushing a rock uphill as it is. ‘How can I help?’ would be much better than whining from a position of (often white) male privilege. Or mansplaining.
A final quote from vagenda:
Men still aren’t oppressed. Men still aren’t the real victims. Men’s problems – and they can be big problems – are still experienced from within a societal and cultural context of indisputable privilege. We are portrayed as incompetent buffoons around the house because it maintains the legitimacy that housework is a female thing (we’re rarely shown being useless at sport or business or flying space shuttles are we?).
Thanks to Madalyn, whose post reminded me I was due to write another fem 101 post:
An excellent resumé:
A humorous but accurate British pov:
Short and sweet:
A kiwi perspective: