This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.
As March has been declared Women’s Month, let’s talk about men. Specifically, how men seem to have become the more fragile gender, prone to grandstanding, blustering, p*ssy-footing, victim-blaming, weaseling out of tough situations, harassing and abusing women, opening fire on teenage students, just to feel like men who rule the world once more. Meanwhile, women increasingly find their strength, reclaim their voice, and refuse to take any more sh*t from men.
Men these days, it would appear, are either wimps or monsters—or in the case of certain heads of state and an assortment of senators and congressmen, both. They like to think they’re heroes in an action movie, ready to defend their countrymen at a moment’s notice, whether it means barging into a classroom full of frightened students and subduing the deranged shooter with gunfire of their own, or whether it means riding across the sea in a jetski to reclaim an island illegally appropriated by a foreign power. You know it’s complete and utter bullsh*t, but they love to project a tough guy image anyway, and while they bask in the approval of their base, tens of thousands of others are being slaughtered in a senseless drug war, or facing the threat of family members being forcibly deported.
Then there are those who do nothing while these injustices are being committed, who stand by mutely while constitutional rights are being trampled, and any sense of decency is being eroded by naked greed, political opportunism, or a warped and rigid adherence to the Bible. These are the wimps who substitute scripture for intelligence, railing against gay marriage and opposing anti-discrimination legislation on the basis of gender identity, which can be expressed in the manner of dressing, because “the Bible doesn’t allow cross-dressing.” And yet, these are the men who happily lick the asses of those in power, and raise nary in protest against their philandering or corrupt ways, notwithstanding the fact that the Bible’s stance on adultery and theft is clearly stated in the Ten Commandments.
Such shining role models for manhood, these limp d*cks without a spine, yet with the terrifying power to affect everyone’s lives.
We have been socialized to accept that men are brave and aggressive, and women are weak, submissive, and in need of a man’s protection. This, we all know, is not only a false notion, but a dangerous and insidious one, because it encourages a power imbalance that in turn breeds a sense of entitlement in men with regard to their relationship with women. This is same kind of entitlement that made Harvey Weinstein act with such impunity for decades, believing every aspiring actress would happily sleep with him, and when they wouldn’t, he would turn forceful and menacing until he either got his way or derailed their careers.
This is the same kind of entitlement that shrugs off rape and sexual abuse with that lame old “boys will be boys” excuse, giving men a free pass to behave abominably, and women all the blame for any kind of sexual violence against them. Which is a cruel double standard because while it loves the idea that women are basically helpless creatures who need a man to make their lives complete, it also promotes the idea that men are equally helpless in the presence of a woman that they cannot help themselves, they have to have her. And if she is drunk or intoxicated or resists or plays coy, all the more reason to help themselves to her because she really wants it anyway, and they are entitled to it.
The TV host Anthony Taberna displayed his staggering stupidity recently when he blamed a 19-year-old woman for getting gang-raped after meeting up with someone she had met online. It was her fault, he claimed, for not only meeting up with this person, but also having a drink with him and the other men in the venue. Because, you know, men see that as an invitation to rape.
Even after his co-host Jeff Canoy defended the girl and pointed out, in essence, that she was not “asking for it,” he refused to back down and continued to insist it was her fault.
We women scream ourselves hoarse trying to educate society at large and pathetic wimps like Taberna in particular that no means no, that women do not “ask for it,” that the only thing that causes rape is the rapist, and it’s sad that this mentality still exists and that rape culture is prevalent. Men, it is said, fear being ridiculed by women. Their egos are so fragile that they can’t take being told their penises are too small. They can’t take the perceived humiliation that comes with losing their jobs. These losers can’t take being turned down or ignored, and some of them take rejection to such extremes that they arm themselves with automatic rifles and walk into schools or malls or discos firing at everyone in sight in a mad shooting spree. They think that in doing so they are reclaiming their masculinity and avenging past wrongs.
In an article in Refinery29, Monica McLaughlin, the deputy director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence asks, “Why do young men, men of all ages, think they have an entitlement to women in their lives that they can maintain through violence and threats?”
Why indeed? Why do women go through similar setbacks in life but their first instinct is to soldier on or find a solution, not to pick up a gun? As a recent piece in Harper’s Bazaar, entitled “Men are Responsible for Mass Shootings,” pointed out, “Women lose jobs. Women feel neglected by their loved ones. Women are romantically rejected. Women, as a rule, do not respond by shooting up schools or workplaces.”
The truth is, while men may be terrified of being ridiculed by women, women fear being raped or killed by men.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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